UAS Definitions

COA – Certificate of Waiver or Authorization.  According to the FAA, the COA is an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UAS activity.  After a complete application submittal, the FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review.  If necessary, provisions or limitations are imposed as part of the approval to ensure the UAS can operate safely with other airspace users.  In most cases, the FAA will provide a formal response within 60 days from the time a completed application is submitted.  The COA is issued in the name of the university or agency and not in an individual’s name.

Emergency COAs are supported for emergency operations but follow strict guidelines. For questions regarding Emergency COAs and eligibility, they can contact Lone Star UAS.

Model Aircraft – Model aircraft are considered differently by the FAA than other UAS and have different regulations.  Model aircraft are not for business purposes, only for hobby and recreation (The use of UAS related to the System does not qualify as model aircraft regulations.)  Model aircraft must be kept within the visual sightline of the operator and should weigh less than 55 pounds unless certified by an aeromodelling community-based organization.  Model aircraft must be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas.

Operator – The pilot who is controlling, maneuvering, or commanding the UAS.

Part 107– The FAA replacement for 333 exemptions and the Civil COA. Part 107 covers the requirements and limitations all small UAS (sUAS) operators must follow for aircraft which are between .55 and 55 pounds in total weight (at takeoff) and flying in the national airspace (NAS). Waivers to the provisions of any limitation are issued by the FAA, upon request of the operator, and are issued as a Certificate of Waiver (CoW) from an established limitation. UAS over 55 pounds must comply with FAA regulations relating to airworthiness and may require a licensed pilot to fly.

Pilot In Command (PIC) – The person ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the UAS. Typically, the pilot is who manipulates the UAS controls.

Property under System’s Purview – Any property owned, leased or under control by the system or a member of the system.

Public Operations (Governmental) – Whether an operation qualifies as a public aircraft operation is determined on a flight-by-flight basis under the terms of the statute.  The considerations when making this determination are aircraft ownership, the PIC, and the purpose of the flight.  For public aircraft operations, the FAA issues a Public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) that permits public agencies and organizations to operate a particular aircraft, for a particular purpose, in a particular area.  A Public COA allows a governmental entity’s UAS operator to use a defined block of airspace and includes special safety provisions unique to the proposed operation. Accepted public uses include law enforcement, firefighting, border patrol, disaster relief, search and rescue,

System Property – Any property owned, leased, or under control by the system or a member of the system.

Unmanned Aircraft System(s) (UAS)- UAS are also known as or may be characterized as Drones.  According to the FAA, a UAS is an unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications, and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft.  UAS may have a variety of names including quadcopter, quadrotor, etc. FAA regulations apply to UAS regardless of size or weight.  Model aircraft are not considered by the FAA as UAS and have different regulations.