What is an Unmanned Aircraft System? 

The law defines an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as "an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft." An unmanned aircraft does not have a human pilot onboard, but instead is controlled from the ground. UAS are most commonly referred to as drones, but also include radio-controlled, fixed-wing aircrafts, helicopters, rotorcraft models, and quadcopters.

The operation of unmanned aircraft systems is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and relevant state law. University compliance will reduce any risks to the safety, security and privacy of the University community in connection with UAS flights. All UAS flights and/or UAS flights on University property must be pre-approved

Recreational or hobbyist use of UAS is strictly prohibited on UC property at all times. Using a UAS to take photographs or videos for personal use is considered recreational use and is therefore prohibited.

What are the rules for UAS flights?

UAS flights are permissible under the following conditions:

  • Pilot must have a Remote Pilot Certificate and approval from the University available at all times during the flight
  • Pilot may only operate one aircraft at a time
  • Flight must take place during daylight hours
  • Flight cannot take place over people
  • Aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs
  • Aircraft maximum groundspeed is less than 100 mph
  • Aircraft maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level
  • Aircraft is within sight at all times during flight
  • Provide proper notifications to any hospital air care unit(s) within 2 nautical miles and any airport(s) within 5 nautical miles

If the flight does not meet these conditions, the University may seek a variance if the educational or research purpose is deemed mission critical.

Schedule My Flight

As soon as practicable, but at least two weeks in advance of your scheduled UAS flight, the UC department/group must:

  1. Submit the following documentation to Enterprise Risk Management:
    • Copy of Remote Pilot Certificate
    • Certificate of Insurance
      •     Certificate of Insurance 
        • Include the following language: “The following are additional insureds: The University of Cincinnati, The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees and its officers, employees, agents, and volunteers.  Coverage shall be primary to the Additional Insureds and not contributing with any other insurance or similar protection available to the Additional Insureds whether other available coverage be primary, contributing or excess.”
    • Flight plan (date/time, purpose, area covered, etc.)
    • UAS (drone) flight request form
    • Pilot must carry proof of liability insurance with the minimum coverage of $1 million dollars.
  2. Provide proper notifications to any hospital air care unit(s) within 2 nautical miles and any airport(s) within 5 nautical miles.

Insure My Drone

Does your department have a drone? We can insure it! Ask A Risk Manager


Flight Notifications