Policies & Procedures


Section 1

Physical Environment and Properties

Buildings and Grounds: General Use

Sec. 900-33: Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Drone Procedures

Responsible Office: Environmental Health & Safety and Risk Services
November 2021

References / Resources

Contact: EHS and Risk Services - dronesafety@uci.edu or the UAS/Drone Safety Specialist at (949) 824-6200

A. Policy and Scope

  1. This procedure applies to all UCI faculty, students, staff, affiliates, and Non-Affiliates on UCI Property and/or UCI Business and details:
    1. how the UC Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Policy is implemented at UCI; and
    2. the minimum requirements for the safe operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) commonly known as drones, including Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), on UCI Property and for UCI Business. UCI is located less than five (5) miles from an airport which makes the UCI campus subject to additional Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and John Wayne Airport UAS flight restrictions.
  2. All UAS flights on UCI Property or for UCI Business must:
    1. Be reviewed and documented, see Procedures below for details; and
    2. Follow the flight restrictions listed in the UCI EHS Unmanned Aircraft System/Drone Program (under Program Components).
  3. UAS cannot be flown in UCI No Drone Zones without special authorization from UCI EHS.
  4. This Procedure is subject for re-evaluation and updates upon the release of any new or updated UAS safety regulation or Policy.

B. Definitions

Certificate of Authorization (COA) An FAA grant of approval for a specific flight activity as defined by the COA. Organizations, including the University, may obtain a COA that permits flight activity that would be otherwise prohibited.
Non-Affiliate Any person who is not a student, officer, official volunteer, employee, or emeritus of the University of California or a member of a household authorized to reside in University Property. Examples of non-affiliates include vendors, third-party vendors, and visitors.
Recreational Use The term “recreational use” or its derivatives, means operations conducted strictly for hobby or recreational purpose. Flights that are commercial in nature, are in furtherance of a business, or incidental to a person’s business, regardless of compensation, are not considered “recreational.”
Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) An unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 lbs. and associated elements that are required to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.
UCI Business Official activities of the University that contribute to any one of the University’s major functions of teaching, research, patient care, or public service, or to any other non-recreational University purpose that may occur on UCI Property or any other location.
UCI Designated UAS Authority The individual designated by the UCI EHS Executive Director as authorized to provide oversight for UCI-related Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
UCI No Drone Zones The FAA and John Wayne Airport will not permit UAS to be flown in the following UCI campus locations:
  • Anteater Ballpark
  • Crawford Track and Field
  • Mesa Court Housing
  • North Campus
UCI Property Any University-owned, -operated or -leased property, including all University grounds and structures where UCI Business or activities take place.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) An unmanned/uncrewed aircraft and associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft) that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system (also known as drones or UAVs).

C. Procedures

  1. Campus Community and University-owned UAS Procedures
    1. UAS Flights for UCI Business:
      1. Create Profile: All faculty, students, and staff must create a profile and submit all UAS information to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) UC UAS Safety Management System through the UC Drone Web App.
        • Follow the instructions as listed on the UC Drones New User Guide to:
          • Create a profile; and
          • Manage flights (Submitting a Flight Project or Flight Request)
      2. Register UAS:
        • All University owned or fabricated UAS must be registered on the UC Drones Web App.
        • All personally owned or fabricated UAS (for example, faculty using a privately owned UAS for their research) must be registered with Risk Services at riskmgmt@uci.edu. The University’s insurance described below only covers personally owned UAS used for UC business if it is reported to and approved by the underwriter (via Risk Services).
      3. Flight submissions are subject to review by Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), Risk Services, UCOP Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety, and other departments as appropriate.
      4. A post-flight report must be submitted as soon as feasible after the flight through the UC Drone Web App for EHS review.
      5. Any incidents that result in injury or property damage must be immediately reported via email to safety@uci.edu.
      6. Insurance and Liability:
        The University of California has purchased an Unmanned Aircraft System Liability Policy for University Business flights. Coverage details and requirements can be found on the UC UAS Insurance website.
    2. UAS Flights for Personal/Recreational Use:
      All faculty, students, and staff flying UAS for personal/recreational use are subject to: Part C.1.a.i., a.ii., a.iii, a.iv., and a.v. above; and the insurance requirements for Non-Affiliates detailed on the UC UAS Insurance website under 3rd Party Insurance Minimum.
  2. Non-Affiliates:
    1. Are subject to the UC Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Policy and UCI’s implementation of the UC Policy (see Part A. of this procedure);
    2. Are not covered by any existing agreements that the FAA has granted to the University unless explicitly stated; and
    3. Must meet all the following UCI Non-Affiliate UAS flight approval requirements:
      1. Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding safe use and operation, including:
        • Per FAA regulations, obtaining authorization to operate (which may include, but is not limited to, a Part 61 Certificate, Part 107 Certificate or a TRUST certificate, depending on the type of operation);
        • Registering any and all drones as described by the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) site; and
        • Obtaining your own flight authorizations from the FAA and John Wayne Airport.
      2. Submit a temporary UAS flight request to dronesafety@uci.edu with the following information:
        • contact name
        • contact email
        • purpose of flight(s)
        • name of pilot
        • proposed:
          • UCI location of flight
          • number of flights
          • flight date(s)
          • time of day that flight(s) started
          • total duration of flight(s)
      3. Provide proof of insurance to UCI that meets the requirements in the 3rd Party Insurance Minimum section on the UC UAS Insurance website.
    4. May only proceed with their flight(s) if and when:
      1. All items under Part C.2.c above have been completed; and
      2. Flight approval is received from dronesafety@uci.edu.
    5. Must submit a post-flight report as soon as possible to dronesafety@uci.edu.
    6. Immediately report any accident that results in injury or property damage to safety@uci.edu.
    7. Must, upon request, present confirmation of flight approval from dronesafety@uci.edu and copies of FAA and John Wayne Airport authorizations.