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Policies

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Policy

Policy

The operation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) or drones is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the State of Florida. The use of drones raises significant safety and privacy concerns. Violations of federal and state laws regulating their use can result in substantial legal penalties for the university and the operator.  This policy is established to mitigate safety risks and ensure compliance with relevant federal and state laws.

Procedure

All use of university-owned unmanned aircraft systems by employees and students is subject to the following restrictions:

The use of university drones is limited to educational and research purposes. The recreational use of drones on Florida Tech property is not permitted. For purposes of this policy, Florida Tech property includes buildings, grounds, and land owned by, controlled by or leased by Florida Tech, including those properties lying outside of the Main Campus.

All unmanned aircraft systems must be registered through the Office of Compliance and Risk Management (OCRM) to ensure registration and approval by the FAA and liability insurance coverage for operating the UAS. Civil and criminal penalties may apply for failure to register a UAS.

The purchase of a UAS must be coordinated and approved by OCRM and Procurement Services to ensure purchasing compliance, compliance with export controls, and weight and wingspan limits for insurance purposes.

University employees or students desiring to operate an unmanned aircraft system in conjunction with a university program on campus or at an off-campus location must:

  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Obtain prior approval from OCRM and the Department of Security at least two weeks prior to the use of the UAS.
  • Provide OCRM and the Department of Security with the date/time, place, purpose, and length of the proposed UAS flight.
  • Operate as a Part 107 Pilot in Command, or obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA.
  • Must not photograph, video, or monitor areas where other members of the university community or members of the general public have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Third Parties or Contract Operators

The use of an unmanned aircraft system by a third party or commercial operator over Florida Tech property requires the pre-approval of OCRM.  Documentation evidencing FAA approval and a certificate of insurance indicating general liability, aviation liability, or equivalent, naming the university as an additional insured, and a minimum of $1million in coverage written on an occurrence basis, are minimum requirements for approval. A representative of the university must accompany the operator during UAS operations on or above Florida Tech property.

Sanctions

Any violations of law may subject the responsible party to both criminal and/or disciplinary action.