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Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Program

An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), sometimes called a drone, is an aircraft that is piloted without a human onboard - instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground. The use of UAS is increasing throughout the United States and on university campuses. The University is committed to promoting this new technology for research by dedicating resources to assist faculty, staff, and students.

UAS are used for a variety of applications such as infrastructure inspections, agriculture surveys, digital archeology, photography, journalism, etc. Federal laws and regulations that govern their use are extensive and complex. University faculty, staff, and students who use University drones must comply with these laws and regulations. Employees who do not operate University an UAS legally may have no coverage under the University’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Liability Insurance and may be held personally liable for claims or losses arising out of their activities. This webpage contains information about how to use University drones legally and safely for research, educational, scientific, and business purposes.

 UAS cannot be flown on UC Riverside property without prior approval. Please use the UAS Flight Request form to submit a request.

UAS FAA FLIGHT RULES

  • No person may operate a UAS in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another. No person may drop an object from a UAS in a matter that creates an undue hazard to persons or property (14 CFR 107.23).
  • No person may operate a UAS over a human being (14 CFR 107.39).
  • No person may operate a UAS in a matter that interferes with operation and traffic patterns at any airport, heliport, or seaplane base (14 CFR 107.43).
  • No person may operate a UAS in prohibited or restricted areas unless that person has permission from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate (14 CFR 107.45).
  • UAS are prohibited from being operated from a moving vehicle or aircraft (14 CFR 107.25).
  • No person may operate a UAS during night (civil twilight - 30 minutes before official sunrise and 30 minutes after official sundown) unless the aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statued miles (14 CFR 107.29).  
  • Remote pilots in command must maintain visual line of sight with the UAS throughout the entire flight (14 CFR 107.31).
  • The groundspeed of a UAS must not exceed 87 knots (100 miles per hour) (14 CFR 107.51 (a)).
  • Altitude of the UAS cannot be higher than 400ft AGL (14 CFR 107.51).
  • No person may operate or act as a remote pilot in command or visual observer in the operation of more than one UAS at the same time (14 CFR 107.35). 
Image of campus taken by drone