I'm a grad student working on some research that is funded by grants awarded to my advisor at an American university. We perform scientific measurements using GPS receivers and are considering collecting some data from an airborne platform. (These measurements are completely passive. They simply record signals from any available GPS satellites visible to the receiver).
I happen to be a private pilot (+instrument) and was wondering if I could rent a plane, carry one of these receivers onboard to take measurements, and be reimbursed for the flight afterwards.
(b) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if: (1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and (2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire
I believe such a task would certainly be "incidental to my employment" and our organization. The flight(s) would be solo. I suppose I am carrying property (the GPS receivers), but the intent is not to transport it for compensation or hire... I suppose (b) is what I'm unsure about...
Would love some additional thoughts on this.