Distribution: All DOI Employees
Subject: Issuance of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), dated Jan 23,
2014 between the Department of Interior (DOI) Office of Aviation Services (OAS)
and the Federal Aviation Administration, UAS Integration Office (AFS-80)
Regarding Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Class G Airspace.
This Information Bulletin (IB) identifies and clarifies DOI Bureau responsibilities in the implementation
and use of this MOA.
This MOA establishes a framework under which DOI Bureaus must operate to comply with FAA rules and procedures pertaining to small UAS (sUAS) employment. The scope of sUAS operations under this MOA applies only to systems weighing 55 lbs or less engaged in public aircraft operations below 400 ft AGL and is limited to natural resource and scientific applications, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts. All other UAS operations to include wildland fire and law enforcement operations must still comply with the FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) application and approval process before flights can commence. See attached flow chart for a graphical depiction of the project approval process for DOI UAS operations.
Although this MOA eases some pre-mission administrative approval requirements on certain DOI UAS operations, all aviation Departmental Manual and Operational Procedures Memorandum 13-11 (extension) requirements regarding aircraft operations and acquisitions still apply. As reiterated in the letter from Kim A.Thorsen, DAS- Public Safety, Resource Protection and Emergency Services, to the Bureau Directors dated August 13, 2012, the importance of adherence to our policies and management principles is critical to ensure the long term viability of UAS operations in DOI. Additionally, there is still not an FAA approved process for UAS contractors to conduct commercial operations in the National Airspace. DOI Bureaus must still comply with many of the requirements previously mandated under the COA process and the DOI UAS Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) agreement.
Prior to UAS operations, DOI Bureaus must route an OT&E proposal through their National Aviation Manager and obtain SES level approval to confirm the proposed UAS projects are vetted and aligned with the respective Bureau mission and operational requirements. The OT&E proposal is a simple format outlining potential UAS projects, number and type of UAS to be flown, project durations, bureau points of contact, etc. Only points of contact for approved projects will be granted access to the COA On-line website.
In addition to other pre-flight requirements, individual UAS operators and users must still complete the required training, obtain frequency/spectrum authorization, file NOTAM’s and ensure the Project Aviation Safety Plan (PASP) has been signed before each individual UAS project. As part of the post flight analysis and debrief, UAS operators are still required to submit the following:
• Safety communique’s (SAFECOMS’s) as applicable.
• Lessons learned or after action report specific to the project.
• OAS-2U Aircraft Use Report within 5 business days from the conclusion of the flight.
Contact Bureau Aviation Managers (unit, state, region, national as identified by your respective bureau) for specific DOI and Bureau requirements prior to use.
The DOI/FAA agreement is effective immediately and remains in effect until either organization amends, revises or cancels. The OAS point of contact is Brad Koeckeritz, 208-433-5091,