USAP Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Restrictions
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United States Antarctic Program
National Science Foundation
Office of Polar Programs
Alexandria, VA 22314

Restrictions for Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the United States Antarctic Program

March 8, 2018

Due to the potential operational, environmental and safety hazards posed to Antarctic activities by the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the use of any UAV, drone, or remotely piloted aircraft in Antarctica by U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) personnel is prohibited without specific authorization from the National Science Foundation (NSF) External U.S. government site. This prohibition includes the operation of commercially available or custom designed "quad copters", remote controlled camera systems, and any other unmanned airborne systems.

The points of contact for approved use requests are:

Gary James
Aviation Program Manager
Office of Polar Programs
Phone: 703.292.7449

Timothy M. McGovern
Ocean Projects Manager
Office of Polar Programs
Phone: 703.292.4248

USAP UAV/UAS coordination and approval is divided between ship operations, which includes flying from, on, or around USAP ships, and includes activity based out of Palmer Station; and land operations which includes McMurdo/South Pole Stations or any deep field activity not based out of Palmer Station. USAP UAV/UAS guidance is available in the US Antarctic Program Interagency Air Operations Manual (AOM), Chapter 4. A template UAV/UAS Concept of Operations (CONOPs) is provided in Attachment 8 of the AOM.

Vladimir Papitashvili
Section for Antarctic Sciences

Stephanie Short
Section for Antarctic Infrastructure & Logistics