Interim Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Procedures


All members of the University community are personally responsible for complying with FAA regulations, state and federal laws, and university policies. 

Any University employee or student wishing to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as part of their University employment or as part of a University program must first obtain a 333 exemption or  Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA. Any University employee, student, or unit purchasing a UAS (or the parts to assemble a UAS), or UAS services with university funds or funds being disbursed through a university account, or grant funds, must comply with the FAA rules and shall secure the necessary authorization from the FAA.

Any third party or hobbyist wishing to use a UAS or model aircraft over University property must first receive approval through Environmental Health and Safety. Third parties planning to use UAS must also provide proof of FAA approval. In addition, operation of a UAS by a third party or hobbyist over University property must be under a contract which holds the University harmless from any resulting claims or harm to individuals and damage to University property and provides insurance as required by Environmental Health and Safety.

In operating a UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images, operators must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private.

Any use of a UAS must comply with the FAA regulation governing use within the proximity of airports and heliports.  This is typically a restriction of five miles from a commercial airport and two miles from a heliport.

Use of UAS must comply with all other applicable University policies.


UAS shall 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.

UAS shall not be used to monitor or record residential hallways, residential lounges, or the insides of campus daycare facilities.

Restrictions shall also be imposed on outside campus locations that are considered sensitive due to research or athletic activities.

UAS shall not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information which may be found, for example, on an individual’s workspace, on computer or other electronic displays.

Model aircraft use on University of Florida property will be held to the same restrictions as UASs and must be approved by Environmental Health and Safety.


By authority delegated from the University President, the Vice-President for Business Affairs is responsible for the safety of all University facilities. Under this authority, policies are developed to provide a safe teaching, research, service, housing and recreational environment.

A policy for the operation of UAS devices is under development.  While this policy is under development I have delegated UF’s Environmental Health and Safety Office to deal with all proposed UF UAS activities.

Curtis Reynolds

Vice President for Business Affairs


University of Florida Property – Buildings, grounds, and land that are owned by the University of Florida or controlled by the University of Florida via leases or other formal contractual arrangements to house ongoing UF operations.

Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA)- . According to the FAA, the COA is an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UAS activity. After a complete application is submitted, FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review. If necessary, provisions or limitations may be imposed as part of the approval to ensure the UA can operate safely with other airspace users. In most cases, FAA will provide a formal response within 60 days from the time a completed application is submitted.

333 Exemption – FAA exemption based on Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA)  which grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) UAS are also known as or may be characterized as Drones. According to the FAA, a UAS is the unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft. UAS may have a variety of names including quadcopter, quadrotor, etc. FAA regulation applies to UAS regardless of size or weight. Model aircraft are not considered by the FAA as UAS and have different regulations.

Model Aircraft Model aircraft are considered differently by the FAA than other UAS and have different regulations. Model aircraft are not for business purposes, only for hobby and recreation. (Use of UAS related to University of Florida does not qualify as model aircraft regulations.) Model aircraft must be kept within visual sightline of the operator, and should weigh less than 55 pounds unless certified by an aero-modeling community-based organization. Model aircraft must be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas.


Any violations of university policies and procedures by an individual will be dealt with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the university.

Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties that operate UAS in violation of these procedures.

Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units that do not comply with these procedures will not be paid by University of Florida and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.

Issued December 18, 2015