UAS in EM Course Support Page

Semester Mission Planning Practicum

Each student will develop a plan to conceptualize, plan, and execute a successful international UAS mission. A selection of five separate locations with associated organizational authorities will be provided to students, so they may plan their respective UAS missions. The course and supplemental readings will prepare you for the four (4) steps necessary to complete the project.

Available Mission Planning Locations

Students are strongly encouraged to use all available tools in locating information about each of the following locations, to include Google Earth Street View. If a student has questions for the partner agency (requests for more information, etc.) those can be directed to This is the only authorized 'partner agency' contact! This project is a simulation - do not contact real-world agencies with questions.

  1. Kaykok, Ile a Vache, Haiti
    Partner Agency: FAVACA
    Requests: orthomosaic maps, videos
  2. Portland, Jamaica
    Partner Agency: CASE (College of Agriculture, Science, and Education)
    Requests: orthomosaic maps, selected still imagery
  3. San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
    Partner Agency: FAVACA
    Requests: orthomosaic maps, videos
  4. Volcano Antuco, Chile
    Partner Agency: Universidad de Concepcion
    Requests: orthomosaic maps, 3D terrain models


The following items can be safely assumed by all students participating in this project. If it is not listed here, you should not assume it to be true!

  • You work for a privately owned, for-profit business called "NoleFlight". You are not the owner or general manager, but are the assigned project manager. You have a direct supervisor at NoleFlight.
  • NoleFlight can acquire any reasonable technology you decide is required.
  • You are developing a project proposal. Your proposal will be part of a competitive bidding process for the work in the location you choose - so you must be cost effective/competitive.
  • NoleFlight has FAA certificated remote pilots available.
  • NoleFlight carries U.S. based aviation-specific liability insurance.

Step 1. Select and Identify Location

Draft an overview of the location you have chosen, why you have picked it, where it is, and brief overview of its purpose and function. Specifically describe the area in which UAS operations will take place.

Step 2. Identify Mission Requirements

Each student should create a document that details what the general requirements are for this project. This should include, at a bare minumum:

  • The persons who should be involved with planning from the partner agency. Do not include real names - describe them by position. These are not real people, anyway. Describe why they are involved.
  • A mission statement - a concise yet comprehensive statement of the mission/sorties to be conducted.
  • Define specific objectives the partner agency wishes NoleFlight to accomplish.
  • The type of sensor or sensors required.
  • Type and number of UAS required.
  • Estimated number of sorties to fly.
  • Crew personnel required.
  • Other equipment required.
This is a starting point for your planning project - a framework. You will expand on this as you progress through the semester.

Your assignment should include all the information needed to begin building a working plan to accomplish the mission. Be thorough.

Steps 1 and 2 should be submitted as one document in .doc, .docx or .pdf form via Turnitin in the Assignments Folder. The due date is on the syllabus.

Step 3. Hazard and Risk Assessment

Using the information in Step 2, the student will conduct a Hazard and Risk Assessment of the proposed mission. The student should use the concept of "P3CE" to evaluate risks. There is not a required format or formula, but the assessment must include, at a minimum:

  • A narrative overview of the mission.
  • A list of hazards/risk in regards to the mission. These hazards are related to the successful completion of the mission - not to the aircraft. It is sometimes possible to lose the UAS and accomplish the mission. Risks are not always physical.
  • Description of mitigation actions needed to address the risks. These may be physical changes to the mission, or procedureal or policy changes.
  • The assessment must show the student's understanding of the challenges faced by the location chosen - there are no 'easy' missions.
  • The assessment must show the students understands the financial implication of the risks and the mitigation efforts. Nothing is free.

Step 4. Basic Mission Plan

The reader of the Basic Mission Plan needs to be able to visualize the sequence and scope of the planned UAS mission. The major part of the basic plan is the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) section, that explains in broad terms the decision maker’s or leader’s intent with regards to the operation. A CONOPS is designed to give an overall picture of the operation. It is included primarily to clarify the purpose of the mission, and describe the steps needed to create a finished product. Students are not expected to physically fly, process or analyze data, but rather, identify how and what type of data might be processed.

When grading the plan, I am most concerned that what you have: 1) is specific to the mission; 2) is something that can be implemented; 3) clearly assigns who does what, when, and how; 4) demonstrates a thoughtful mission plan, from beginning to end.

Required Elements:

  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Introductory material
  • Purpose Statement
  • Situation and assumptions
    • Regulations and policies to be followed
    • Certifications or licenses required
  • Concept of operations / mission
    • Product to be created
    • Mission Summary
    • Type of device to be used and why
    • Describe individual sorties
    • Include estimated flight times and battery percentages of each sortie
  • Organization and assignment of responsibilities
    • Include assigned roles and tasks of PIC, AO, and VO
  • Travel plan and logistics
    • Regulatory travel considerations by location
    • Should include rough cost estimate
  • Product Analysis
    • Type of software to be utilized for processing
    • Estimated time to complete processing and delivery
  • References
You do not have to prepare a complete cost estimate that includes personnel costs, equipment costs, etc. You are only responsible for an estimate of travel and 'deployment' costs. This includes food, transportation, lodging, etc.

There is no specified format - though students will be docked points for unclear/unprofessional presenation. This assignment does not require APA or MLA format citations - but will be reviewed for plagiarism.

Your plan should be submitted as one document in .doc, .docx or .pdf form via Turnitin in the Assignments Folder.


Feel free to locate UAS device operation checklists or existing regulatory / permit checklists to assist you in formulating the sections of your plan. Bullet points may be an efficient way to structure content. If you find a checklist that is particularly useful and that you use to check your plan I recommend that you make a copy of it and include it with your plan submission.

ASK QUESTIONS. Your 'partner agency' is avaialble to answer questions - you cannot plan in a vaccuum. Need more specifics on the area to be covered? Ask. Need to know time frames? Ask. Remember, this is a simulation, so email Be sure to include which project (Chile, Jamaica, Belize or Haiti) you are developing.