Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV – Drone) Operation

Operating UAVs at KBS sites

Please submit your requests for flights over KBS sites by sending completed LTER Site Use Request Forms (SURF) to Stacey VanderWulp, KBS LTER Project Manager, and/or completed GLBRC SURFs to Carolina Cordova, GLBRC Field Site Coordinator .

Before any flights commence, we require proof of ability to fly over MSU property. This proof may take the form of an approval email from MSU Export control personnel (see contacts below). In your SURF, we also require a list of proposed flight dates (needed as part of a MSU sanctioned flight plan). Any changes in flight dates must be communicated to Stacey VanderWulp and/or Carolina Cordova.

MSU personnel

  • All UAV system and system component purchases are processed via requisitions through MSU Purchasing
  • All proposed UAV equipment purchases are referred to the MSU UAV Review Board prior to issuing a purchase order.
  • An Export Control review will be conducted in parallel with the MSU UAV Review Board.
  • A detailed Flight Operation Plan for each project and flight campaign needs to be completed and submitted for review by the MSU UAV Review Board prior to any flights.


  • For MSU personnel, the UAV system will be FAA registered through the MSU process.
  • Non MSU personnel will complete system component purchases and reviews as part of their own institutional process; this evidence will be required and reviewed by the MSU UAV Review Board.
  • Remote pilot certification is required to operate a UAV as part of research project.


Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)

UAV registration:

Michigan State University (MSU)

MSU Contacts:

Rhett Butler
Export Control and Trade Sanctions Analyst
(517) 432-4499

Jamie Haberichter
Export Control and Trade Sanctions Specialist
(517) 432-4499

Andy Fogiel
KBS Operations and Safety Coordinator
(269) 671-2551