The TxDOT Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program is designed to be flexible while ensuring that all UAS activities conducted on behalf of TxDOT are done in the safest manner possible in compliance with all statutory requirements. To this end, all UAS (also known as drone or drones) flights are required to have:
- A flight plan providing information about the proposed flight.
- A Project Risk Assessment (PRA) completed prior to the flight.
- Appropriate liability insurance.
- Depending on the project, pre-approval from the TxDOT UAS Coordinator may be required prior to any flight operations.
- For all projects, a flight plan must be submitted here prior to the flight. Only flight plans (and pre-approval forms if required) are to be submitted to this email address.
- In the subject line of the email type "Flight Plan" and the three letter designation of the TxDOT district or division for which the flight is being conducted. For example, a flight for the Houston District would have an email subject line of "Flight Plan HOU." The flight plan serves as a record of all UAS flights done at the agency. An example flight plan is provided in Appendix A.
- Projects that do not have the risk factors listed in Section 2.2. of the UAS Flight Operations and User's Manual, Project Risk Assessment can commence flight operations once the flight plan has been submitted. However, the flight plan must state that the risk factors in Section 2.2 do not apply to the flight.
- For projects having any of the risk factors listed in Section 2.2., pre-approval of the flight by the UAS Coordinator is required before any flight operations can commence. A pre-approval request form must be submitted along with the flight plan here. The pre-approval form is provided in Appendix B.
- Any correspondence other than flight plans and pre-approval forms should be directed to the UAS Coordinator here.
- For projects with risk factors, the UAS Coordinator will review the Flight Approval Request Form along with the flight planning data. The UAS Coordinator may consult with subject matter experts to determine if a flight operation should be approved. If the flight operation is approved, the UAS Coordinator will inform the flight planner by email with an attached copy of the signed approved request form.
- If the flight operation is not approved, the UAS Coordinator will inform the flight planner of the specific deficiency. Depending on the deficiency, the flight planner may have an opportunity to revise the flight plan and submit a revised request for reconsideration. However, UAS users should be aware that certain flight operations may never be approved based on risk.
- Failure to perform the risk assessment, prepare the flight plan, or comply with the decision of the UAS Coordinator may result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.