File a Flight Plan

Filing a Flight Plan and Day of Flight Operations

Step 1: File a Flight Plan with SMU for approval

File a Flight Plan

There are two types of flight plans to select from, a reoccuring flight plan and a one-day flight plan. 

 Reoccurring Flight Plan

 A defined period of time over a specific area of operations

  • Date range required
  • Approval valid for up to one year
  • Examples include athletics practices or construction project assessments

One-Day Flight Plan

One or more flights in a single day over a a single area of operations

  • Single date submission
  • Approval valid for a single day
  • Examples include a promotional video or single day construction survey

Flight Plans MUST be submitted by a pilot registered with SMU and the drone must have been registered with SMU and the FAA prior to submission. 

This flight plan will be approved during business hours within 1 week. Flight plans should be submitted at least 7 days before a flight is scheduled. The Office of Risk Management recognizes that there are specific circumstances that may require an expedited turn around and those will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Filing a flight plan will require a variety of prepared documents including:

  • Flight Map (PDF or JPG)
  • Proof of Insurance (if 3rd party applicant)
    • Evidence of Aviation Insurance
    • Evidence of Worker's Compensation
    • Evidence of General Liability
  • Sponsor Letter or Copy of SMU signed contract
  • Film agreement (if applicable)
  • Land owner consent (if operating off campus)

Specific Insurance Requirements

All operators proposing take-off, landing, or flying over Southern Methodist University property must provide proof of insurance as required below:

  • Applicable Workers Compensation/Employer’s Liability insurance of no less than $1,000,0000 each employee and $1,000,000 each accident, as required by statute.
  • Commercial General Liability insurance with a minimum limit $1,000,000 per occurrence.
  • Commercial Automobile Liability insurance with a combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage of not less than $1,000,000.
  • Aircraft Liability insurance of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence.
  • Umbrella Liability insurance with a minimum limit of $1,000,000 per occurrence.

All required insurance policies shall be issued by reputable insurance companies duly authorized to engage in the insurance business in the State of Texas, with an A.M. Best’s rating of A-, VII or better.

Policies shall name Southern Methodist University, its trustees, officers, employees, students, volunteers, and agents as additional insured.

Step 2: Obtain FAA Airspace authorization via LAANC - Day of Flight, Real Time Approvals

LAANC Information

The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability provides:

  • Drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below 400ft. 
  • Awareness of where pilots can and cannot fly.
  • Air Traffic Professionals with visibility into where and when drones are operating. 

Various Providers have apps to fulfill this requirement. More information is available on the FAA site linked above.