UCLA Drone Procedures

I. Purpose

The following procedures shall apply to the approval of any operation of unmanned aircraft systems on the UCLA campus. For clarity, all unmanned aircrafts or aerial vehicles, model airplanes, quadcopters, or flying robots will be referred within these procedures to as “drones”. These procedures were drafted in compliance with all applicable local and federal laws and to minimize risks that arise out of drone use. Every individual who operates a drone on University of California (UC) owned or leased property must adhere to the University of California Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Policy. In addition to concerns about personal safety, property damage, privacy, and noise complaints that apply to all drone operations, the airspace around UCLA is particularly complex as it is within five miles of the Santa Monica Airport and could potentially interfere with the two helicopter flight paths to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRUCLAMC). Additional support for drone regulations compliance is available from the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety.

II. DRONE COMMITTEE

In accordance with UC Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone) Policy, the UCLA Drone Committee will act as the Designated Local Authority that reviews and approves all drone activities at the UCLA campus. Members of the committee may include, but are not limited to, the Events Office, Medical Center, Cultural & Recreational Affairs, Housing & Hospitality Services, Fire Department, Police Department, Media Relations, and Insurance & Risk Management. During the course of the approval process, the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety may be consulted.  

III. APPROVAL PROCEDURES and CRITERIA

All flight plans on the UCLA campus must be submitted at least two weeks in advance for consideration. More advance notice is recommended for flights involving multiple locations, dates, and other elements. Flight requests will be reviewed by committee in the order of the submitted date. UC-owned drone flights conducted off the UCLA campus shall be reviewed and approved by the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety and should be submitted at least five days in advance, unless previously coordinated and approved.

Indoor drone flight operation is not subject to FAA regulations. All indoor drone flight requests are subject to individual venue management at the UCLA campus with approval from the UCLA Fire Department. If the intent of flight is also to film, please contact the UCLA Events Office at [email protected].

Approval for drone operation includes but is not limited to the following criteria:

  • Drone must remain within visual line-of-sight at all times without aided sight equipment (for example, no binoculars).
  • Drone must not fly above 200 feet AGL (Above Ground Level).
  • Drone operation must have a visual observer at all times due to the proximity of the RRUCLAMC. 
  • Drone speed must not exceed 75 mph.
  • Drone must not be operated from a moving vehicle.
  • Drone cannot be flown over people unless they are part of the drone crew.
  • Drone cannot be flown over buildings or parking lots without approved additional safety mitigation procedures.
  • Drone cannot be flown over roads/streets where cars are operating underneath the drone.
  • Drone can only be flown during daylight.
  • Drone cannot fly near RRUCLAMC and other medical buildings.
  • Drone cannot fly near Housing buildings and the Luskin Conference Center.

A. UC-owned drone operation for research, education, and UC business

  1. All University-owned drones are required by law and UC Policy to be registered with the FAA and the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety. 
  2. All drones that weigh more than 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs. must be registered with the FAA at FAADroneZone.
  3. “The Regents of the University of California” must be identified as the owner of a drone owned and operated by UCLA or a UCLA campus department(s) when it is registered with the FAA.
  4. Faculty, staff, and students must register all University-owned drones and apply for flight approval with the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft Safety using the UC Drone Web App.
  5. Drones must have their own individual registration number. The registration number must be on the drone before it is flown and be visible, clear, and legible from the outside.
  6. All drone operations must be conducted in compliance with all applicable drone and aviation regulations.
  7. Certain drone activity may require an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate.

B. Non UC-owned drone for commercial use

  1. Application for flight request must be submitted to the UCLA Drone Committee via the UCLA Events Office at [email protected].
  2. Any non-University owned drone must be registered with the FAA at FAADroneZone. Drone operators are governed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 107 and must possess a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.
  3. UCLA is near Santa Monica Airport and is considered a controlled airspace. Drone pilots are required to submit flight plan requests to the Santa Monica Airport and be in communication with Santa Monica air traffic control on the flight date(s). 
  4. Drone operators must provide a copy of the Part 48 registration certificate for each drone being used, which includes the drone’s make, model, and serial number, and a copy of the detailed description of proposed flight activities, including dates, times of flights, maps, or Program of Activities (POA) to the UCLA Drone Committee via [email protected].
  5. Drone operators must provide proof of aviation insurance with a minimum coverage limit of $5 million, name the Regents of the University of California as an additional insured, and provide a blanket additional insured endorsement where appropriate. Liability limits are subject to review and approval by University Insurance & Risk Management. (See additional insurance requirements in Section IV.)
  6. A UCLA film permit issued by the UCLA Events Office is required for all commercial filming or photography with drones. Applicable location, staffing, and permit fees will be assessed.

C. Non UC-owned drone for recreational use

UCLA does not permit the operation of drones for recreational purposes on its campus except by Registered Campus Organizations.

D. UC Registered Campus Organizations (RCOs)

  1. Recreational use of drones on the UCLA campus is limited to use by Registered Campus Organizations (RCOs). Drone use must be related to the general mission and purpose of the RCO as defined by their organizational charter.
  2. The UCLA campus has only two locations for the recreational use of drones for RCOs: Drake Stadium (Drake) and the Intramural Field (IM Field). Scheduling of these locations must go through UCLA Cultural & Recreation Affairs (aka UCLA Recreation) via email at [email protected] or by calling (310) 825-3588. Drake and the IM Field are primarily scheduled for student sports, practices, and training. There may be limited availabilities for non-sports related activities.
  3. RCOs using non UC-owned drones must adhere to the insurance requirements in Section IV, B.

IV. INSURANCE AND LIABILITY

A. Insurance for UC-owned drone operation

The University-owned drone liability insurance policy provides coverage for liability arising from the use of drones owned by the Regents. To be covered the drone must meet, at a minimum, the following criteria: (1) 55 lbs. or less in weight, (2) operate within line-of-sight of operator, (3) operate below 400 ft., (4) cannot fly within five miles of an airport without the permission of airport authorities, and (5) must operate in accordance with Federal laws and regulations and on behalf of and sanctioned by the Board of Regents. Employees and students who operate University drones for research and educational activities must register the University drones with the FAA and the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety. Visit UC Unmanned Aerial Systems for information on how to register a University-owned drone.

B. Insurance requirements for non UC-owned drone operation

Drone operators must provide proof of aviation insurance with a minimum coverage limit of $5 million, name the Regents of the University of California as an additional insured, and provide a blanket additional insured endorsement where appropriate. Liability limits are subject to review and approval by University Insurance & Risk Management. The insurance policy must meet all the stipulations below:

  • Names The Regents of the University of California and its directors, officers, employees, servants, and agents as additional insured.
  • States that the operator’s insurance shall be primary without any rights of contribution from any other insurance available to the University.
  • Includes a cross liability or severability of interests among Indemnified Parties, providing that the insurance shall operate in all respects as if a separate policy had been issued covering each party insured.
  • Includes a waiver of subrogation in favor of The Regents of the University of California.