Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Policy

Policy Information
Policy TitleUnmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Policy
Responsible OfficeEnvironmental Health and Safety Office
Policy TypeFacilities and Property
Policy Number419
Last Revision Date01/06/2023

Request to operate UAS at Binghamton UniversityPurpose

Binghamton University will comply with current FAA regulations, state law, and any other locally applicable laws or regulations to ensure the safety and privacy of Binghamton University students, employees, and visitors. The FAA Rule 107 was published in August 2016, and this policy illustrates the methods by which the University will achieve compliance. Inherent risks in the operation of such equipment require additional insurance provisions and policy considerations. 


This policy applies to all persons operating a Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in airspace above Binghamton University property, including the Vestal campus, Downtown campus, Johnson City campus, and other properties owned or controlled by the University. Included are: 

  • Operating unmanned aircraft systems in any location as part of their University employment or as part of University activities;
  • The purchase of unmanned aircraft systems with funding through Binghamton University, including university accounts, grants, RF at Binghamton or BU Foundation accounts, and;
  • The hiring for or contracting for any unmanned aircraft services by a Binghamton University unit.

Policy Statement

The operation of unmanned aircraft systems including drones and model aircraft is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and relevant state law. This policy exists to: support the use of UAS in research, education, and outreach within current laws and rules; protect the safety of Binghamton University students, faculty, and staff; and provide appropriate oversight regarding managing the risk of UAS operations at Binghamton University. This policy applies to both Binghamton University owned and non-owned UAS when operated by:

  • Binghamton University employees, students, and other individuals as part of University activities at any location (University User)
  • Individuals performing contracted services for Binghamton University under FAA civil and governmental use at any location, as well any commercial entity operating on or above Binghamton University property ​(Commercial Civil UAS User)
  • Hobbyists ​for recreation on or above Binghamton University property 


Binghamton University Property – Buildings, grounds, and land that are owned by Binghamton University or controlled by Binghamton University via leases or other formal contractual arrangements to house ongoing operations. 

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under the U.S. Department of Transportation is the federal oversight body ensuring aerospace safety. Information from the FAA specific to UAS can be found at https://www.faa.gov/uas/ 

Part107 is the section of the Code of Federal Regulations for Small Unmanned AircraftS ystems. Allpolicies procedures and regulations can be found at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ab227e8bebce7f66c77ce0b9d0938d47&mc=true&node=pt14.2.107&r gn=div5 

Pilots in Command (PIC) - Pilots in Command (PIC) have full control for all UAS flight operations and must have an FAA remote pilot certificate, FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations (Part 107), or an FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) with a current FAA third-class airman medical certificate or a valid U.S. driver’s license issued by a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, a territory, a possession, or the Federal government. 

Small Unmanned Aircraft (UA) - means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft. An unmanned aircraft is an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) - means a small unmanned aircraft and its associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the small unmanned aircraft) that are required for the safe and efficient operation of the small unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system. 

Note: A model aircraft is an unmanned aircraft that is one that meets all of the following conditions:

  1. The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
  2. The aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
  3. The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
  4. The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
  5. When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport  air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation.

Use of UAS related to Binghamton University does not qualify as model aircraft regulations

University property - Any land, grounds, buildings, or facilities owned, leased, managed or controlled by the University per formal contract or legal agreements. Also included are University owned streets, sidewalks, and bike paths. 

Visual Line of Sight - means that a person is able to: know the UAS location at all times; determine the attitude, altitude and direction of fight; and observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards so as to not endanger the life or property of another. 

Visual Observer - means a person who is designated by the remote pilot in command to assist the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS to see and avoid other air traffic or objects aloft or on the ground.


  1. Compliance with all requirements shall be coordinated by Environmental Health & Safety. Members of the Binghamton University community are personally responsible for complying with FAA regulations, state and federal laws, and university policies.
  2. Types of Users:
    1. University Users: Any University User wishing to operate a UAS as part of their University employment or as part of an University program, must first contact Environmental Health & Safety for coordination and permit.
    2. Hobbyists: Hobbyists and recreational users must adhere to all FAA, state, and campus site guidelines, and are required to receive a permit from Environmental Health & Safety if flights are not within the pre-approved areas located in map XXX
    3. Commercial & Civil Users:​ Any Commercial Civil User wishing to operate a UAS on or above University property must first:
      1. operate as a Part 107 Pilot in Command, or
      2. a 333 exemption, or
      3. obtain a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA. Contact Environmental Health & Safety for coordination and approval.

        Operation of a UAS by a Commercial Civil User over University property must be under a Revocable Permit / contract which holds the University harmless from any resulting claims or harm to individuals and damage to University property and provides insurance as required by University Counsel and Risk Management.
  3. Any University employee, student, or unit purchasing a UAS (or the parts to assemble a UAS), or UAS services with university funds or funds being disbursed through a university account, or grant funds, must contact Environmental Health & Safety in order to assess the University’s ability to obtain a COA, other necessary FAA exemptions, comply with revised FAA requirement, or meet local compliance requirements.
  4. Any third party or hobbyist wishing to use a UAS or model aircraft over University property must first receive approval through Environmental Health & Safety. Third parties planning to use UAS must also provide proof of FAA approval. In addition, operation of a UAS by a third party or hobbyist over University property must be under a Revocable Permit which holds the University harmless from any resulting claims or harm to individuals and damage to University property and provides insurance as required by Risk Management and Counsel.
  5. In operating a UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images, operators must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private. New York State state law provides that a person who knowingly or intentionally places a camera or electronic surveillance equipment that records images or data of any kind while unattended on the private property of another person without the consent of the owner or tenant of the private property commits a Class E felony.
  6. Use of UAS must comply with applicable University policies. Use of UAS for video or electronic surveillance must comply with Management Procedure # 854 Use of Video Monitoring System (​https://www.binghamton.edu/operations/policies/security-and-safety/video-monitoring-system.html​). 
  7. Operation of UAS by the University Police, or in coordination with local, county, or state law enforcement and emergency responding agencies for legitimate law enforcement purposes, is exempt from this policy. Operators must have sufficient training on the specific model UAS to be employed and adhere to FAA guidelines.


The Office of Environmental Health & Safety is responsible for the following: 

  1. Publishing University protocols specifically related to scheduling flights and acquiring authorization to operate UAS.

  2. Evaluating requests for operation of UAS on University property in accordance with any public safety related concerns for specific flight requests and de-conflict special event operations

  3. Recording flight notifications and all relevant flight information in a records management system.

  4. Investigating reports of UAS-involved property damage, personal injury, privacy concerns or other matters with proper notification and/or deferral to outside agencies as appropriate. Making referrals of violations of this policy and applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, as appropriate.

  5. Making notification of UAS flights to Facilities Management or other public safety agencies or entities of UAS flights, as appropriate.

  6. Making notification of UAS flights to Facilities Management or other public safety agencies or entities of UAS flights, as appropriate.

Restrictions and Prohibited Uses

  • UAS shall not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. These areas include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms, and health treatment rooms.
  • UAS shall not be used to monitor or record residential hallways, residential lounges, or the insides of campus daycare facilities.
  • UAS shall not be used to monitor or record sensitive institutional or personal information which may be found, for example, on an individual's workspaces, on computer or other electronic displays.
  • UAS may not fly through or above any University residential community.
  • UAS may not operate over people in a manner that puts them at risk, unless they are part of
    the operation or are under a covered structure
  • UAS may not fly above 400 ft.
  • Users may not fly a UAS under the influence of alcohol or drugs


  • Violations of this policy will be addressed pursuant to applicable university policies and procedures. For employees, this may include action under the appropriate disciplinary process up to and including termination from the university. For students, this may include charges under the Code of Student Conduct and sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion from the university.
  • Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties that operate UAS in violation of this policy.
  • Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units that do not comply with this policy will not  be paid by Binghamton University and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.

Forms / Instructions

Cross Reference to Related Policies 

Responsible University Office 

Related Information