Permits & Regulations

Policy for Unmanned Aerial System Operations (UAS) at Toolik Field Station
To provide a safe airspace operating environment for all researchers, aviators, and other people and property in the area of Toolik Field Station (TFS),

To comply with all Federal Aviation Administration, University of Alaska, and other applicable Rules and Regulations,

To enable research development in the field of UAS (including winged and rotary-wing aircraft, balloons, and kites), as possible, once
safety and regulatory requirements are fulfilled.

Requirements for UAS Operations at Toolik

  • All TFS researchers using a UAS for research, educational and academic purposes must follow the rules stipulated in 14 CFR 107, 14 CFR 48.

  • All TFS Researchers using a UAS should review Advisory Circular 107-2.

  • All researchers who reside at TFS and plan to use a UAS for recreation or research must be aware of special airspace restrictions as presented in the “Limited, Restricted and Prohibited UAS Airspace near Toolik Field Station" map attached to this policy document.

  • All TFS-based UAS use must be listed as an approved activity in the project’s BLM permit. All BLM UAS stipulations must be followed. A copy of the project’s BLM permit must be on file with the TFS station manager.

  • All research projects must contact the TFS UAS coordinator prior to arriving at the station to review proposed UAS flight areas as well as UAS operational and safety plans.

  • Research project pilots must hold a current FAA remote pilot airman certificate with UAS rating or hold a current Part 61 pilot certificate and complete an FAA UAS on-line course.

  • Research project pilots must provide a copy of their FAA remote pilot airman certificate with UAS rating or Part 61 pilot certificate with UAS course completion to the TFS UAS Coordinator prior to arriving at the Station (contact information below).

  • All UAS must be registered and marked as per 14 CFR 48. Research projects must provide an FAA registration number for each UAS to the TFS UAS Coordinator (contact information below).

  • Upon arrival at the station, research project pilot must contact the TFS UAS coordinator and Battelle ARO helicopter coordinator to discuss the project’s UAS areas, operational plans, and safety plans.  At this meeting, the TFS Helicopter Coordinator will establish any daily reporting requirements for the project.

  • Project UAS operations plan must designate a knowledgeable and experienced radio operator to be in contact with the Battelle ARO helicopter coordinator and monitor local air traffic frequencies. Projects are responsible for providing their own airband radio tuned to CTAF 122.9MHz while operating their UAS in the field to monitor and respond to local air traffic communication.  TFS VHF helicopter coordinator radios operate on different public service frequencies and cannot communicate with civilian aviation aircraft.

  • Any UAS pilot must be familiar with local ATC towers, special airspace restrictions and equipment in the Toolik Lake Research Natural Area and mitigate risk of damage to property by avoiding these areas. (See attached map, “Limited, Restricted and Prohibited UAS Airspace near Toolik Field Station" attached to this policy document.)
  • UAS flights within 0.5 miles of Trans-Alaska Pipeline require permission from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (see attached map).

  • UAS flights within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (see attached map) and within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are generally prohibited and would require special permission from each agency.

  • No UAS flights are permitted within or over the Toolik Field Station (ie, camp pad). (See attached map). 

  • Recreational flights must follow FAA Part 101 and are only permitted at designated areas between the hours of 6pm-9pm (see attached map).  Data gathered while operating as hobbyist (under 14 CFR 101) cannot be used for monetary gain, including in publications that were funded through grants. If you want to fly a UAS and use the data in a publication, you must fly under 14 CFR 107 regulations.

    Support and Points of Contact:
    Randy Fulweber UAS Coordinator:
    Battelle ARO Helicopter Coordinator:

 No Fly areas around Toolik