UAV Documentation Examples

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It is a requirement of the FAA and the University to maintain documentation (referred to as Maintenance Logs, Flight Hardware Logs, Pilot’s Logs, etc.) for every use of an UAV.  The Project Director, the part 107 certified pilot / operator, a designee, etc. is to keep a set of logs on each use of the UAV.  These logs shall be kept with the UAV at all times.

A FAA Inspector, UAV Coordinator, UAV Administrator, or designee has the right to request to inspect your logs or flight hardware.  These inspections can occur at the office or in the field.  As the Project Director (PD) or the Pilot-in-Charge (PiC), you are required to present the related documentation or the UAV in question for inspection.

Additionally, checklists that are particular to the UAV are necessary in outlining the steps that are to be performed before, during, and after each use to help in achieving safe operations.

Types of related documents:

Documents and Descriptions

Documents Descriptions

Office Operations Manual (Flight Manual)

Ops Manual - The UAV system shall have an operations manual that encompasses preflight / flight / post flight operational procedures that defines the necessary action(s) that needs to be taken before / during / after flight operations to maintain compliancy with FAA mandates.

Manufacturer's Operation Manual

The UAV system shall have a flight manual that includes operating limitations, standard operating procedures, emergency procedures, assembly instructions and other pertinent operating information. Usually is the original manufacture supplied documentation.

Manufacturer's Maintenance Manual

Maintenance Manual - The UAV shall have a maintenance manual that defines actions that shall be taken to keep the UAV system in conformity with its type definition. Usually included with the original manufacture's supplied documentation.

Maintenance Log

The document that is filled out with information about any work performed on flight hardware - either in the field or in the office. Must remain with the flight hardware at all times.

Flight Log (hardware)*

The document that is filled out with actual usage information of the flight hardware in question.

Pilot's Log (personnel)*

The document that is filled out with actual usage information of the flight hardware in question.

Pre-Operations Check List (In-Office Planning)

A standalone checklist used to assure the UAV is prep for use and that the operating personal is familiar with what the request entails. It aids in the necessary steps needed to understand what is needed to execute the operation(s) safely - including in office briefings, site visits, etc. Also includes the steps needed to verify NOTAMs, TFR WX, etc.

Pre-flight Check List (Field Operations)

A checklist that remains with the drone. It covers site pre-flight, drone pre-flight setup, drone warmup. Additionally, contains contact names and numbers for SIAA Tower and SIU DPS. It aids in setting up the drone correctly before use.

Flight Check List (Field Operations)


Emergency Execution (Field Operations)

A checklist that remains with the drone. It covers the actual flight, including the steps for abnormal flight termination. Contains emergency steps to use in case of flight hardware crash / injuries.

Post-Operations Check List (Site)

A checklist that remains with the drone. It covers break down of site setup, safeing of flight hardware, and breaking the drone down for transport. Also contains a reminder to contact the Tower / DPS to inform them of operations termination.

Post-Operations Check List (Office):

A standalone checklist used to assure the drone is prepared for the next usage, including the check of removing / replacing memory cards, files downloaded, and verification the unit needs no repairs.

It is recommended that an UAV operator maintain a personnel log in addition to the hardware Flight Log.

Not of all these logs and checklists are necessary to create.  The FAA generally expects that two log types maintained:

  • Flight Hardware Log -- the log of when and where the UAV in question was used. Additionally, it can contain information such as the time of day it was flown, weather conditions, extra notes, etc.
  • Maintenance Log -- the log that records any maintenance performed on the equipment – either by you (in the field or office) or by an authorized repair center.

For the most part, you can purchase log books or search the Internet for information in creating your own.

Office operation standards, pre-flight and post-flight checklist, personal pilot logs, etc. are all documentation designed to assist in the long-term safe operations of your UAV equipment.  Each  department’s UAV documentation should reflect the operational standards they need to employ to conduct their flight operations safely.  Most of your internal documentation that you will create should reflect the guidelines that you will operate under for your particular circumstance. 

It should be kept in mind that the more information you track throughout your UAV history, the better you can answer questions from the FAA, UAV Coordinator, UAV Administrator, law enforcement, etc. should the need arise.

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us at the number listed in the banner.  Please ask for the UAV Administrator or for one of the UAV Operators.  We will be more than happy to help.  It is our goal to help you to achieve your UAV program and operate safely.