Drone Safety

UCI Drone Safety

Our campus is constantly evolving to the latest and greatest tools and drones have become one of them. Our aerospace and mechanical engineering students are building them, our graduate students are using them to collect data overseas, and our Strategic Communications department has been using drones to gather footage of our campus! EHS has developed a UCI Procedure and Program for drone use on our campus. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email dronesafety@uci.edu or call EHS Front Desk 949-824-6200.

UCI Drone Procedure Scope

UAS flights at all UC campuses require prior approval and post-flight reporting. The new UC Drone Web App (go to UC Drone Web App, sign in and select the drone symbol) provides a unified portal for managing flight requests and reporting for UC students, staff, and faculty. This new app will help streamline the process while ensuring the highest level of safety and regulatory compliance. Requires a UC login. A User Guide is available to walk users through the new tool.

UCI Faculty, Staff, and Student Drone/UAS:

Non-UCI 3rd Party Vendors, Drone/UAS Operators, Visitors:

Frequently Asked Questions

The University of California recognizes that UAS offer great potential as tools for research and other educational functions as well as providing opportunities for recreational use and business pursuits across a diverse array of users and industries. The University also has an obligation to consider public safety, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties issues related to the use of UAS. In short, all UAS usage on UC property, for UC business or by UC-owned UAS must be pre-approved and documented by the designated UAS campus point of contact. In addition, non-UC operators on UC property must maintain sufficient liability insurance coverage.

A list of the campus points of contact can be found here. Please understand that in many cases, the use of UAS on UC property are regulated by existing campus policies on activities, registered organizations and use of properties. These regulations are designed to protect and promote the rights of the members of the university, prevent interference with university functions or activities and assure compliance with all pertinent laws and other applicable university policies. For UC students, staff and faculty, you may submit a Flight Request with UC Drones Web App (Go to UC Drones Web App, sign in and select the drone symbol) or contact the campus for additional or alternative means to submit a request.

There may be several special circumstances, but in general, the operator must have an SUAS license from the FAA and must submit a Flight Request to the local campus point of contact. Depending on the complexity and timing of the request, the flight request could be approved in minutes or may take several weeks if extra FAA approval or coordination is necessary. A Flight Request may be a single flight, a set of flights or cover a year’s worth of activity – the details can be coordinated during the request.

The most common applicable set of laws for flying a drone is Part 107 (Flying for Work or Business). This set of law requires the operator to have an SUAS license, have a registered drone and follow the drone laws that limit drone flying to up to 400 ft AGL, during daylight only and may not fly over people or moving vehicles. There are additionally special circumstances or restrictions for foreign nationals (international students, visiting scholars), operating on certain public lands, or within certain states or municipalities.

Yes, as long as you comply with UC policy. Anyone operating under UC policy for university business (regardless of ownership) may additionally be provided with UC UAS liability insurance coverage free of charge.

Please feel free to contact either your campus point of contact or the UC Center of Excellence on UAS Safety. We will work to ensure that there is a path forward for you to conduct your flight activity. We have experience with international UAS regulations, public agency airworthiness certification, night-time operations, airspace authorizations, DOT foreign national operator permits and agricultural spraying certificates to name a few.