Welcome to the Autonomous Aerial Systems Office

The University of Montana is uniquely poised to implement unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into multiple areas of research, creative scholarship, and education.

The Autonomous Aerial Systems Office (AASO) mission is

  • to coordinate and guide faculty, staff, and students for understanding and decision-making regarding implementation of UAS in a changing research and regulatory environment
  • to establish the infrastructure and resources in order to create sustainable autonomous aerial research
  • to stimulate UAS-related innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development in the state of Montana. 

Please, contact us before you plan to fly.  We can help!

UAS for UM Activities

Per FAA regulations, UM related community members (staff, faculty, contractors,  etc.) wishing to fly UAS outdoors for UM related activities will need to fly under our Public Certificate of Authorization (COA) or under 14 CFR Part 107.   

The regulatory environment is complex, so please make sure to contact us before you begin planning any flights or purchases so we can help.

Decision Tree for UM Unmanned Aerial Systems Use

Side by side comparison of UM Civil vs Public Aircraft Operations

UM's Certificate of Authorization(COA)

Educational Use of UAS - FAA memorandum 

Part 107 Summary and Small UAS Advisory Circular

Actions for an encounter of unknown UAS operations at/for UM 

As a hobbyist, can you fly your drone outdoors on UM campuses?

Per current FAA regulations, most of campus is a "No Drone Zone".  Why is this?  For safety, you must be at least 25 feet from all property and non-participating people, as well as being more than 5 nautical miles from an airport.  There are very few areas where this would hold true.  Please note: it is absolutely against FAA regulations to fly over the stadium in particular.

If you are interested in flying your drone, please take the time to read through the recreational users information at Know Before You Fly.  Please also consider the privacy of others when planning your flight.

For hobbyists:  Effective December 21, 2015, anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft of a certain weight must register with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry before they fly outdoors. People who previously operated their UAS must register by February 19, 2016. People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.

No drone zone

Test your drone-flying knowledge 

Check out Know Before You Fly's "Are you ready to fly a drone?" quiz!