Flying On Campus

Flying on campus may be one of the most unique, and honestly most difficult, part to starting a drone club. Some universities may already be drone-friendly, and you will have no issue flying on campus. If this is the case, it is encouraged to be aware of all rules and regulations, and to make sure you don’t lose this privilege. If your university is like many others, they may have strict no-fly rules on campus. This has been quite common, but it is not impossible to get permission to fly. Two words: BE PROACTIVE. Many universities are either unaware of the FAA guidelines on flying recreational drones or took the “No Drones” route because it was easy and simple.

When trying to get permission to fly on campus, it is important to be proactive and work with campus officials. Many departments may have a say in this discussion, including “Campus Safety”, “Student Activities and Organizations”, “Safety and Risk Management”, and many other names. Be clear with your intentions, know the laws, and be willing to work with them to ensure you will be conducting safe and legal flights if allowed. One of the biggest thoughts when drones come to mind is safety – have some well thought out ideas and proposals for how your club will be safe on campus. Do your members need to review a presentation and take a safety quiz? Be registered AMA members? Have a certain number of completed simulator hours? All of these are ideas that have been used and implemented at universities across the nation. Be prepared for your meeting and go into it with a positive mindset, it will take you far. Finally, if university officials are not budging, mention how most of the top engineering universities in the US compete in the CDRA Championship, and this should spur some enthusiasm from above.

 It is highly recommended to start an AMA UMASC Club. It costs only $40/club, and allows members to get their full $1.5 million insurance policy for only $15/student (normally $100). In order to participate in the CDRA championship, each pilot must have their AMA membership. This can definitely help universities on their decision of allowing on campus flights, if each member is required to have this policy in order to fly.

Below are some common documents related to on campus flying and safety. These can be tweaked for your particular university, and are just a starting line.