Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


The emergence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), also known as “drones”, have created many exciting opportunities for Cornell University. They also create risks to privacy, security, regulatory compliance, property damage and safety.  The Office of Risk Management and Insurance, in collaboration with various University offices and departments, has established guidelines to address these risks and help the University community operate UAV safely, responsibly and legally.

Risk Management and Insurance must approve all UAV operations at the University.  To simplify this process, please complete the UAV Flight Request Form and submit it to Risk_mgmt@cornell.edu.  We will respond to your request as soon as possible.

General safety guidelines:

All operations at Cornell University must comply with FAA regulations, state and local laws / ordinances and University regulations

UAV shall not exceed an altitude of 400 feet above ground level.

UAV speeds shall not exceed 20 miles per hours (MPH)

The UAV must always be within the operator’s line-of-sight.

UAV shall not interfere with manned aircraft.

UAV shall not fly over large crowds or people.

Operators shall take reasonable precautions to respect other people’s privacy.

Operators shall reasonably attempt to notify people in the area about the operation.

Operators shall not control the UAV from moving vehicles.

Operators shall not recklessly operate the UAV.

Operators shall not operate the UAV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Operations shall only occur during daylight hours, unless the operator has received FAA authorization to operate at night and obtained approval from Risk Management.

Operations shall not occur if the FAA issues any Temporary Flight Restrictions for the airspace over the University.