UAV Information for Faculty and Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers operations conducted or sponsored by University faculty and staff as commercial UAV operations when the use is within the scope of their profession.  This includes faculty or staff operating a UAV, enlisting a student to fly for the faculty or staff’s purposes or hiring a contractor to fly on their behalf.  Faculty or staff operating a UAV at the University must submit the following to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance:

  1. UAV pilot certification
  2. UAV registration number
  3. Proof of commercial general liability insurance
  4. FAA Authorization to operate in controlled airspace
  5. UAV flight request form
  6. Event Registration Form

Here is additional information for each item:

UAV pilot certification: The FAA and Risk Management and Insurance require commercial operators to be certified UAV pilots.  You can obtain the certification by completing the process outlined below.

  1. Part 61 pilot certificate holders with a current flight review must complete the FAA’s training course. There are two options for completing the training:
    1. ALC-451: Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)., or
    2. The initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
  2. All other applicants must complete the ALC-451: Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) training course ( ) and pass the initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC). Knowledge Testing Centers: knowledge-testing-centers
    1. Important! The UAG Knowledge Test’s content contains information from Part 107 and general aviation information, including items like weather conditions, aeronautical navigation, and aviation terminology. The Part 107 information is only about 40-50% of the exam; therefore, passing the exam requires knowledge of general aviation information.  Risk Management and Insurance can provide further guidance.
  3. After satisfying the applicable initial training or testing requirements, apply for a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating through an online or paper process. Apply online through the Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA) website or submit a paper FAA Form 8710-13, Remote Pilot Certificate and/or Rating Application. You may be required to meet with an FAA-authorized individual.
  4. Please submit a copy of your Remote Pilot Certificate to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance.

UAV Registration

  1. All UAVs must be registered with the FAA prior to operating at the University if the UAV weighs more than 0.55 lbs.
  2. The registration number  must be a unique identifier number, legible, durable and visible or accessible without tools.


  1. UAV operators must have commercial general liability insurance with minimum coverage limits of $2,000,000.  A certificate of insurance demonstrating proof of the coverage must be submitted the Office of Risk Management and Insurance.

Operating in Controlled airspace

  1. Operations that occur within five miles of an airport require FAA approval.  The University’s Ithaca campus is within five miles of the Tompkins County Regional Airport; therefore, all commercial operators flying UAVs at campus must obtain an FAA airspace authorization or waiver form. Waiver Request Form

Flight Requests

  1. Please submit a detailed flight plan to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance ( prior to operating UAV at the University: UAV Flight Request Form

Event Registration

  1. Please complete an Event Registration Form prior to operating the UAV at the University:

Maintaining Privacy

  1. Pilots operating UAV for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private.

Crew Resource Management

  1. UAV operations may involve one individual or a team of crew-members. The Remote Pilot in Command (“Remote PIC”) has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the UAV.  A person who is not a Remote PIC may operate an UAV only under the direct supervision of the Remote PIC.  A visual observer may be used as a flight crew-member to help see and avoid other objects in the sky or on the ground.

Waivers for operating outside the structure of Part 107

  1. If the operation cannot be conducted within the regulatory structure of part 107, the Remote PIC is responsible for submitting an application for a Certificate of Waiver and proposing a safe alternative. Only certain provisions of part 107 are waivable. The FAA will determine if the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.  The Office of Risk Management and Insurance must approve all operations occurring within the terms of a waiver.

Accident Reporting

  1. Accidents resulting in serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or damage to property, other than the UAV, if the cost to repair or replace is greater than $500 must be reported to the FAA within 10 days of the operation.
  2. Complete a University Injury Report in the event of injuries to any person or any loss of consciousness. Injury Report Form

Visit these resources for specific operating and pilot certification requirements

Part 107: Full version

Part 107: Summary