Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)

Drones must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration and with UC, and a flight request submitted, before they can be flown by UC personnel or over UC property.

UC Center of Excellence on UAS Safety

The UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety (Center) provides systemwide expertise, support and training for regulatory compliance, risk management and the safe operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. It is also authorized to grant certain forms of approval for UAS operations in the United States. Please contact erm@ucop.edu to be added to the UC-UAS-RESEARCH-L listserv.

Approval Process for UC Davis UAS Flight Operations

  1. Register your University drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and with UC Davis (see below).
  2. Open the UC Drones Web App to create and submit a Flight Request application. The Flight Request should be submitted at least one week ahead of the planned flight.
  3. The Center personnel will review the information on the Flight Request application form and suggest changes based on federal laws and regulations.
  4. The Center will contact Risk Management and the Police Department (if applicable), and will recommend approval or denial of the request. The Center will send the applicant a copy of the recommendation."
  5. Risk Management will review the Center’s recommendation, and will either approve or deny the flight request.
  6. If the Flight Request is approved, the applicant must comply with the Center’s final recommendations and must, at the conclusion of the flight, complete a Flight Report through the UC Drones Web App.

3rd Party Drone Operators and Non-UC Affiliates

3rd party and non-UC operators do not have access to the UC Drones Web App, and will need to complete a Flight Request via the UAS Safety system for approval to fly a drone on campus or for other purposes not related to University business. The Center will process the Flight Request and respond to the applicant by email.

At the conclusion of an approved drone flight, non-UC operators must complete and submit a Flight Report.

Recreational UAS Operators (Model Aircraft)

Model aircraft are defined as unmanned aircraft systems operated recreationally, or in the pursuit of one's hobby, outside of one's regular occupation. Commercial operations, such as photography services, are not considered to be hobby or recreational flight, regardless of compensation. Additionally, flights that are in furtherance of a business, or incidental to a person’s business, would not be a hobby or recreational flight. Operators of model aircrafts are required to notify all airports within 5 miles (Section 336 of Public Law 112-95) of the planned flight. To notify the University Airport (KEDU) in compliance with federal regulations, complete the Recreational Drone Flight Form.

UAS Registration

Employees and students who operate University UASs for research and educational activities are legally required to register University drones with the FAA. Go to FAA UAS Registration to register your University UAS. Drones owned by the University should be registered to “The Regents of the University of California.”

After registering the drone with the FAA, UC employees must open the UC Drones Web App and register University UASs with the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety.