11.03 / Unmanned Aircraft Systems

  1. Purpose

    Wichita State University recognizes that the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also referred to as “drones,” are popular for both recreational and educational usage. This policy establishes minimal requirements for the safe operation of UAS and shall be a reference to assist with compliance with Federal Aviation Administration requirements, state laws, local ordinances and University policies and procedures.

  2. Applicability

    This policy applies to the following individuals or entities:

    1. All members of the University community, including but not limited to employees, students, clubs, organizations, vendors and any other individual who is operating a UAS as part of their employment or as part of any University-related research or activity as is doing so on University Property (University User).

    2. Any person or entity not affiliated with the University that may operate a UAS on or above University Property (Non-University User).

  3. Definitions

    For purposes of this policy only, the following definitions shall apply:

    • Aircraft

      A device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

    • Model Aircraft

      An Aircraft that is mechanically driven or launched into flight and is flown solely for hobby or recreational purposes and is not used for payment or benefit, directly or indirectly, by any person for the use of the Aircraft or any media produced by the Aircraft.

    • UAS Operator

      Either a University User or a Non-University User.

    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) (commonly known as “drones”)

      Aircraft and accompanying systems (including communication links and the components that control the UAS) that are operated without the possibility of human intervention from within or on the Aircraft. The term UAS, as opposed to drone, is used throughout this policy as that is the term used in state and federal laws and regulations.

  4. Policy

    1. UASs may be flown by both University and Non-University Users if the flight adheres to any limits prescribed by the University Police Department (“UPD”) to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws.

    2. Use of UAS for law enforcement purposes, including both UPD and non-University law enforcement agencies is always authorized, subject to applicable law and government regulations. Non-University law enforcement agencies shall coordinate the flight, to the extent possible, with UPD.

    3. UAS Operators must comply with all applicable FAA regulations as well as all state and local laws and ordinances.

    4. UASs 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, residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms, and health treatment rooms.

    5. Users shall keep a copy of the UPD approval and present it upon request.

    6. Non-University Users must enter into a UAS Flight Operator Agreement, to be obtained from UPD, prior to use of UASs on or above University Property*.

    7. The University has the right to immediately suspend or terminate the operation of a UAS by any means necessary if, in the University's discretion, it interferes with campus operations, poses hazards to any person or University facilities, equipment, or other property, or has not received the proper approvals.

    *NOTE: in order to allow adequate time for approvals, it is strongly suggested that Users allow a minimum of seven (7) working days for all required documents to be processed and approved.

  5. Procedures

    1. All Flights

      Persons wishing to operate UAS on University Property must contact the UPD at least three (3) working days in advance1 of the desired flight time (or longer, for more complex requests) and provide the following:

      1. Proof of compliance with FAA UAS airspace and operational rules,
      2. A detailed flight plan (see form) to include requested time and locations; and
      3. If a non-University User, an executed UAS Flight Operator Agreement.

      1 A waiver of the required time notification may be obtained for University-related purposes.

    2. University Property (Outdoor Flight)

      Media outlets wishing to use UAS on University Property should contact University Strategic Communications for assistance in obtaining approval in accordance with this policy.

      UAS Operators may be asked to stop the UAS flight or leave University Property if they do not comply with this policy or are otherwise engaging in conduct that is considered harmful or dangerous to the University or persons on University Property. Such conduct may include but is not limited to violations of the regulations established by federal, state and local authorities and/or as provided for in this policy.

    3. University Property (Indoor Flight)

      Indoor use of UAS for University-related purposes is permitted when conducted in authorized space suitable for such experimentation. Use of indoor flight space will follow guidelines established by the designated University department/employee that has responsibility for the space.

    4. Non-University Property (University Employee/Student Use)

      University Departments or employees wishing to fly UAS for University-related purposes off University Property must have appropriate permits and property owner permission for the location of the flight and must comply with any federal, state, and local laws and regulations of the jurisdiction where the UAS flight is conducted.

  6. Standards

    All University users of UAS are expected to comply with all laws and regulations promulgated by the FAA. These laws and regulations include, but are not limited to:

    • No flying over people (Note: this severely limits UAS flights on campus)
    • No flying above 400 ft.
    • No flying outside daytime hours, defined as 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset
    • No flying in an unsafe manner
    • No flying beyond the operator's ability to see the Aircraft
    • No flying while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • No flying in a manner that interferes with air traffic
    • No flying close to another Aircraft as to create a collision hazard
    • No photography of spaces where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy
  7. Related Policies, Forms and Resources

    Below are links containing additional related policies, forms and resources for UAS operation on University Property. Each UAS Operator is responsible for ensuring his or her own compliance with this policy and any applicable federal, state or local regulations, statute or ordinance.

  8. Penalties for Violation of Policy

    Any violations of University policies or student code of conduct by an individual will be administered in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures. Individuals who violate this policy may be subject to civil or criminal penalties and the seizure of UAS by campus police or security. Fines, damages, and claims against individuals who violate this policy may be the responsibility of that individual.

    The University Police Department is responsible for compliance and enforcement of this policy.