1.Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (“UNC Greensboro” or “University”) complies with federal and state laws and Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulations regarding aircraft, including small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“sUAS”), commonly referred to as “drones.” Inherent risks in the operation of such equipment necessitate proper safety practices, additional insurance protections, and requisite oversight and authority for the operation of sUAS on University Premises, at University-sponsored events, or off University Premises in support of University business, research, and teaching activities.

2.Scope

This Policy applies to all University Activities involving the use and operation of sUAS on University Premises, at University-sponsored events, or off University Premises in support of University business, research, and teaching activities, and Non-University Activities involving the use and operation of UAS on University Premises.

3.Definitions and Roles and Responsibilities

3.1Definitions

When used in this Policy, the following definitions apply:

3.1.1Unmanned Aircraft:

A device used or intended to be used for flight in the air that has no onboard operator.  Unmanned aircraft do not include balloons, rockets, or unpowered gliders.

3.1.2Small Unmanned Aircraf (“sUA”):

means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is onboard or attached to the aircraft. 

3.1.3 Small Unmanned Aircraft System (“sUAS”):

means a Small Unmanned Aircraft and its associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the sUAS) that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the sUAS in the national airspace system. sUAS are commonly referred to as “drones.”

3.1.4 sUAS Operator:

Person(s) in direct control and command of a sUAS.

3.1.5Departments or Units:

UNC Greensboro colleges, divisions, departments, units, programs, centers, and institutes, as well as their designated University employees. This category may also include agents or contractors of UNC Greensboro.

3.1.6Indoor(s):

Inside an enclosed space that can be reasonably expected to prevent an Unmanned Aircraft from exiting the space while in flight.

3.1.7University Activity:

Any Unmanned Aircraft activity or use by a Department or Unit, or an individual or company hired by a Department or Unit, performed within the scope of a Departmental sUAS Program Registration for the purpose of education, instruction, photography, research, promotion, publicity, or other University business purposes, including indoor and outdoor activity.

3.1.8Non-University Activity:

Any Unmanned Aircraft activity or use that is not conducted by a Department or Unit, or an individual or company hired by a Department or Unit, within the scope of a Departmental sUAS Program Registration for University business purposes. This can include Hobby or Recreational Flights or flights performed for commercial purposes that are not within the scope of a Departmental sUAS Program Registration.

3.1.9Departmental sUAS Program Registration:

The registration that is required to be submitted to the Office of Enterprise Risk Management by each Department or Unit in order to conduct a University Activity.

3.1.10Departmental sUAS Program Coordinator:

The person who is responsible for managing the Departmental sUAS Program Registration and the main point of contact for the Department or Unit sUAS use.

3.1.11University sUAS Operator:

sUAS Operator who has been approved to serve as operator of a sUAS for a Department or Unit.

3.1.12 University Flight Plan:

A plan that is submitted to UNC Greensboro at least three business days prior to flight for both University Activities and Non-University Activities on University Premises.

3.1.13 University Premises:

Buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled, or managed by UNC Greensboro.

3.1.14Hobby or Recreational Flight:

sUA flights that are not for business purposes; only for hobby and recreation. sUA must be kept within visual sightline of the operator. Please use the following link to see some FAA “dos” and “don’ts” relating to hobbyist/recreational flying: https://www.faa.gov/uas/publications/model_aircraft_operators/

3.2Roles and Responsibilities

3.2.1

Office of Enterprise Risk Management shall have oversight of all operations of sUAS for University Activities and Non-University Activities.

3.2.2

UNC Greensboro Police Department shall collaborate with the Office of Enterprise Risk Management to promote the safe operation of sUAS.

3.2.3

UNC Greensboro Police Department and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management may consult with the Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel, and other Departments, Units or sUAS operators as needed to ensure the safe operation of sUAS.

4.Policy

All sUAS Operators on University Premises, whether for a University Activity or for a Non-University Activity, and off University Premises for a University Activity must comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations established by the FAA and the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation as well as the laws of the country, state, county, and township where the flight will occur.

4.1 sUAS University Activities

4.1.1

All Departments or Units that intend to use sUAS for University Activities shall complete a Departmental sUAS Program Registration as soon as practicable, but no later than ten (10) business days prior to the first intended University Activity. A link to the Departmental sUAS Program Registration process can be found on the University’s sUAS webpage.

4.1.2

Departmental sUAS Program Registrations shall be updated anytime there are changes to the Department or Unit sUAS use, but at a minimum, the Departmental sUAS Program Registration shall be reviewed and updated annually by the Departmental sUAS Program Coordinator or designee, and submitted to the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.

4.1.3

A University Flight Plan must be submitted to the University through the sUAS Program Registration process by the Department or Unit at least three business days before initiating each University Activity. A link to the University Flight Plan form can be found on the University’s sUAS webpage.

4.1.4

Following review of Departmental sUAS Program Registration and University Flight Plan, the University may require additional revisions to the University Flight Plan to ensure the safety of people and property on University Premises.

4.1.5

Operating sUAS indoors for a University Activity on University Premises is only permitted if the University Flight Plan is approved by the University, through the sUAS Registration Process, which includes consultation between Office of Enterprise Risk Management, the UNC Greensboro Police Department, and any applicable building manager.

4.1.6

The University sUAS Operator must report all sUAS incidents (i.e., accidents, damage to University property, injuries, complaints) to the Department or Unit head; as well as the Office of Enterprise Risk Management immediately, but in any event no later than twenty-four (24) hours after an incident has occurred. An sUAS accident report can be found on the University’s sUAS website.

4.1.7

If a University Activity will be conducted in airspace over land that is not University Premises, a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between the University and the landowner must be negotiated and signed prior to sUAS use over such land. The MOU template can be found on the University’s sUAS website, and any requests for changes to the template must be negotiated and approved by the Office of Institutional Integrity and General Counsel.

4.1.8

Any data recorded during the operation of a sUAS for a University Activity must be maintained in accordance with the University’s Electronic Records Retention Policy.

4.2University sUAS Operator Requirements

4.2.1

A University sUAS Operator must be listed on the Departmental sUAS Program Registration and provide proof of the following:

  1. Has been approved by the Department or Unit head to serve as a University sUAS Operator;
  2. Has obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate and Federal Airmen Certification number;
  3. Passed North Carolina sUAS knowledge test and obtained a North Carolina sUAS Operator Permit; and
  4. Has at least five (5) hours of sUAS flight experience under the supervision of an approved University sUAS Operator.

4.2.2

University sUAS Operators must also include in the Departmental sUAS Program Registration a signed acknowledgement that:

  1. The University sUAS Operator will comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  2. The University sUAS Operator will not hover over areas of public assembly or a stadium without prior approval from the University.
  3. The University sUAS Operator must not photograph, record video, or monitor areas where other members of the University community or members of the general public would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

4.3University sUAS Requirements

4.3.1

All sUAS used for University Activities must first be registered with the FAA.

4.3.2

All sUAS used for University Activities must be listed in the Departmental sUAS Program Registration before being operated.

4.4sUAS Insurance

4.4.1

Departments and Units must obtain general liability insurance coverage of at least $1,000,000 naming UNC Greensboro as an additional insured party for its sUAS that would cover the Department or Unit’s proposed activity. Departments and Units must contact UNC Greensboro’s Office of Enterprise Risk Management in order to obtain this insurance.

4.4.2

University sUAS Operators who are University employees and who do not operate sUAS legally for a University Activity may have no coverage under the University’s sUAS liability insurance and may be held personally liability for claims or losses arising out of their activities.

4.5 sUAS Non-University Activities

4.5.1

Individuals or companies desiring to operate a sUAS on University Premises for commercial photography or filming purposes must contact University Communications prior to conducting any flights and must submit a University Flight Plan through the sUAS Registration Process.

4.5.2

Persons who wish to operate a sUAS on University Premises for Non-University Activities must submit a University Flight Plan at least three (3) business days before the proposed date of the flight. A link to the University Flight Plan form can be found on the University’s sUAS webpage.

4.5.3

Hobby and Recreational Flights should take place in the recommended areas identified on the University’s sUAS webpage.

4.5.4

The operation of a sUAS indoors on University Premises is prohibited without prior approval through the Departmental sUAS Program Registration process.

4.5.5

Any non-University sUAS Operator who wishes to record campus events or performances must obtain additional advance approval from the event or performance organizer and University Communications, who will work in conjunction with the UNC Greensboro Police Department.

4.6Flight Regulations

4.6.1

All flights must be at least 50 feet from the surfaces (including both vertical uppers or lowers and the horizontal surfaces (roofs)) of buildings or fixed objects.

4.6.2

No flights are allowed at night (after sunset) or in low visibility weather without prior approval, through the Departmental sUAS Program Registration process.

4.6.3

No flights are allowed over stadiums or sports events without prior approval through the Departmental sUAS Program Registration process.

4.6.4

No flights are allowed near emergency response efforts.

4.6.5

All flights over University Premises must use all built-in GPS guidance systems of the sUAS.

4.7Prohibited Uses

Operating a sUAS on, in, or over any University Premises without prior University notification is a violation of this Policy, and the operator is subject to disciplinary action and/or legal action. Additionally, UNC Greensboro reserves the right to disallow the launching or operation of sUAS during specific times if the University determines that flight at a given time is unsafe or inappropriate (e.g., University is closed, adverse weather, high-traffic days, such as Commencement or Move-In, etc.)

5.Compliance and Enforcement

All members of the UNC Greensboro community share the responsibility of compliance with all aspects of this Policy.  Violations of this Policy can be reported to the UNC Greensboro Police Department or the Office of Enterprise Risk Management. The UNC Greensboro Police Department has the authority to “ground” or suspend operations of any sUAS that is not compliant with FAA regulations, this Policy, or presents a danger to University property or to the University community.  Failure to comply with this Policy may result in the following consequences: 

5.1

Any person who operates an sUAS on or above University Premises in violation of this Policy may be required to cease operation immediately. 

5.2

Any violation of this Policy by a University student or employee may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable disciplinary policy.

5.3

Any violation of this Policy by individuals who are not UNC Greensboro students or employees may result in the individual being prohibited from future flights and/or the individual being trespassed from University Premises.

5.4

Damages/injuries occurring to University property or individuals will be the responsibility of the sUAS Operator.

5.5

Any person who fails to comply with applicable FAA regulations and/or state laws and regulations may face significant fines and personal liability in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations.

6.Additional Information

6.3Approval Authority

Chancellor

6.4Contacts for Additional Information and Reporting

  • Office of Enterprise Risk Management, risk@uncg.edu, 336-256-1102
  • UNC Greensboro Police Department, police@uncg.edu, 336-334-5963

Revisions

Revision Date Revision Summary
08/22/2022 Approved

- Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones on Campus). Retrieved 02/04/2023. Official version at https://policy.uncg.edu/university_policies/operation-of-unmanned-aircraft-systems/. Copyright © 2023 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.