Drone Policy

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or "drones" have become an very popular form of entertainment and commercial endeavor as drones become more and more affordable.

Union College allows students to use their own drones for recreational and educational purposes, while ensuring the safety of people and property on our campus.

If you have any questions about drone usages at Union College, please contact the Campus Safety office at mark.eldridge@ucollege.edu or 402.486.2528.

Summary of the drone policy

Below you can find Union’s official policy drone usage. Please read it before operating a drone on campus. Here’s a summary:

  • You must register your drone with the campus safety office and sign a damage waiver before operating your drone on campus. You are responsible for any damage your drone causes. Here's the registration and waiver form.
  • You must follow all FAA rules when flying a drone on campus.
  • If you plan to operate your drone commercially on campus (get paid for flying your drone), you must be licensed by the FAA and provide an insurance certificate.
  • You may not use your drone to look through building windows or harass anyone.

Union College drone policy

As unmanned aircraft systems or “drones” become more and more popular and affordable, Union College wants to make provision for UAS to operate on campus both to benefit the college and for student and employee recreation. This policy is designed to make sure everyone who flies a UAS on campus or at off-campus events follows FAA rules and operates in a way that ensures the safety of everyone at Union.

All registration and insurance issues related to UAS usage at Union College will be administered by the Union College Campus Safety Office:

Mark Eldridge, director of Campus Safety and Compliance
3800 S. 48th Street
Lincoln, NE 68506
mark.eldridge@ucollege.edu
402.486.2528

UAS flight requirements

All pilots of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or “drones” must follow all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), state and local government laws, and Union College rules when operating on the Union College campus or at off-campus college events—including the following:

  1. The pilot must maintain visual contact with the UAS at all times (first person camera view does not meet this requirement).
  2. The UAS may only be flown during daylight hours.
  3. The UAS must maintain a minimum altitude of 15 feet above ground level when flying over people.
  4. The UAS may not exceed ground speed of 50 mph or an altitude of 300 feet above ground level.
  5. Privately operated UAS must yield right-of-way to Union College aircraft.
  6. If manned aircraft are operating in the area (such as a medical helicopter), all UAS should land immediately.
  7. The UAS may not be operated in a careless or reckless manner.
  8. The pilot may not operate the UAS if he or she has any physical or mental condition that would interfere with safe operation.
  9. The UAS may not be controlled from a moving vehicle.
  10. The UAS weighing more than 0.55 lbs. may not be flown inside buildings except for classroom instructional purposes.
  11. The UAS may not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. These areas include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms and health treatment rooms.
  12. The UAS may not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information which may be found, for example, on an individual's workspaces, on computer or other electronic displays.
  13. The UAS may not be used in a way that could reasonably be considered harassment (such as “buzzing” a person).

Aircraft requirements

All UAS operating on the Union College campus or at college events must meet the following requirements:

  1. Weigh less than 4 lbs. (unless authorized by Union College Risk Management)
  2. Be registered with the FAA and marked according to FAA regulations
  3. Be maintained in good working condition
  4. Be inspected by the pilot before each flight to ensure safe operation, including:
    • Guidance and GPS systems
    • Operating lights
    • The radio connection between control station and UAS
    • Sufficient battery charge
    • All physical parts (propellers, etc.)

College-owned UAS

  1. College-owned UAS may only be flown by individuals licensed according to FAA rules (or someone supervised by an FAA licensed UAS pilot). A copy of the license must be submitted to Union College Risk Management, and the pilot must keep a copy on his or her person while flying.
  2. College-owned UAS must be registered with the Risk Management Office and the registration certificate affixed to the UAS control station.
  3. College-owned UAS may be flown off campus as long as the operator follows FAA and Union College regulations, and secures written permission from the owners of the locations where the flight will take place. If the location is public property, the pilot does not need to secure written permission, but must be aware of and follow all applicable area laws related to UAS usage and respect of privacy.
  4. When operating a college-owned UAS on campus, pilots should make an effort not fly over or record private property surrounding the campus without written permission from the property owner.

Privately or commercially owned UAS

  1. All privately or commercially owned UAS must be registered with Union College Risk Management office.
    • All UAS owners planning to fly for hobby, recreational or educational use must sign a waiver taking responsibility for all damages and injuries caused by their UAS.
    • All UAS owners planning to fly for commercial purposes must submit a certificate of insurance as proof of liability and property damage coverage for up to $1,000,000, listing Union College as an additional insured.
    • Upon registration with Union College, the UAS owner will receive a registration certificate that must be kept in their possession when operating the UAS on Union’s campus.
  2. Pilots wishing to operate privately-owned UAS for hobby or recreational use do not need to be licensed per FAA regulations, however pilots must still register their UAS with the college and abide by all other rules listed in this policy.
  3. If the UAS will be recording photographs or video, the operator must obtain a photo and video location release from the Union College Integrated Marketing Communications department.
  4. Union College insurance will cover property damage or injuries caused by a properly registered privately-owned UAS being flown on campus for educational purposes of Union College, but the college will not repair or replace privately-owned UAS or related equipment damaged while being used for educational purposes.