Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)/Drone Procedure

Public Safety Department

Office of Emergency Management and Safety

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Policy

Date: April 5, 2016

Applies to: This policy applies to the University of Mary Washington (UMW) community, specifically students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus, whether they are guests or patrons.

Policy Statement:  The use of un-crewed aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) along with aerial vehicles known as drones can make significant contributions to University research and service/outreach in a variety of disciplines.  Additionally, aerial photography with UAVs can potentially assist in University academic (study, research), land management, athletics, law enforcement and other support functions. UAV regulation is emerging and multifaceted.  Particularly with respect to UAVs, public concern with privacy is well documented.  UAV operational safety entailing both UAV equipment and the pilots who operate it remotely is regulated by the FAA.  Although the FAA policy framework is likely to evolve significantly in the near future, this policy will change but remain compliant.

Policy Purpose:  As it does with other highly regulated technologies of operational importance, UMW seeks to permit UAVs and drones to be utilized productively in a manner that fully meets institutional, legal, public safety and ethical responsibilities.

Policy Summary: To provide direction to anyone possessing or operating a UAV at UMW whether it is on property or offsite. Direction includes registration of specific UAV types, rules and regulations that govern the use along with specific sanctions for violating this policy.

Definition of Terms in Statement: For the purpose of this policy on UAVs, the following classifications have been identified: Recreational, Aerial Vehicle and Drone (definitions below).

Recreational Aerial Vehicle (RAV) – Any UAV less than ten pounds that is not equipped with any kind of camera or data collection device.

Drone – Any UAV less than ten pounds that has a camera or any data collection device installed.  This includes “First Person View” (FPV).

FPV – “First Person View” UAV.  Camera attached to a UAV solely used by operator to navigate vehicle. (Vehicle is out of eye sight of operator)

FAA – Federal Aviation Administration

AMA – Academy of Model Aeronautics

ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations

EAR – Export Administration Regulation

“Micro” (UAV) – Weighing less than one pound and made for “indoor/ outdoor use”

VLOS – Visual Line of Sight


  • All students, staff, and academic departments possessing a UAV on campus will be subject to these regulations.
  • The Public Safety Department, Emergency Management and Safety Division, will maintain and enforce these regulations as they do with all University regulations.
  • As will all regulations, the campus community will be expected to report any reckless, irresponsible, or malicious activity
  • A UAV committee will be established. This committee will consist of academics, Student Affairs, Information Technology, and Procurement.

All Operators of any UAV’s must abide by these regulations:

  1. Aircraft must not weigh more than ten pounds.
  2. Do not operate UAV’s on the UMW campus without first securing permission from UMW Police Department and the Emergency Management and Safety Department.
  3. Do not fly beyond line of sight. (FAA)
  4. Do not exceed 400 feet of altitude. (FAA)
  5. Do not use a metal blade propeller. (AMA)
  6. Do not fly directly over unprotected people, property, and structures. (AMA)
  7. Do not operate in a reckless or careless manner or under the influence of alcohol/ drugs.
  8. Flying beyond your established flight line or designated perimeter is strictly prohibited.
  9. Failure to register will result in disciplinary action and/ or loss of privilege to possess UAV on campus
  10. RAVs that are micro, less than one pound and/or made for indoor use are not permitted in academic buildings unless used under the auspices of an academic program, club, team, or individual with specific authorization from the supervising faculty member. UMW Emergency Communications MUST be contacted at 540-654-1025, prior to ANY indoor use.
  11. If any UAV is outfitted with a camera, the vehicle is then considered a “Drone” which must be registered.
  12. There are significant FAA requirements for flying a UAV within five miles of an airport or a known Landing Zone (LZ). Shannon Airport is three miles from UMW and the heliport for medical response at the Mary Washington Hospital is less than half a mile away from UMW. Therefore permission to fly any UAV on the UMW Fredericksburg campus requires clearance from them and permissible procedures.
(Click on map to enlarge)

(Click on map to enlarge)

*Purchasing these devices requires authorization from the Chief of Police, Director of Emergency Management and Safety, and the University Chief Information Officer. Purchasing will require sign off from all three offices prior to ordering or using University funds.

Sanctions:  Violations of the rules and regulations will be investigated on an individual basis.  Sanctions may include:

  1. Registration revoked and/ or loss of privilege to fly or possess a UAV at UMW
  2. Disciplinary action

Student Registration: All UAVs other than “micro” must be registered through the University Public Safety Department.

Roles and Responsibilities:

UMW Emergency Management and Safety / UMW Police Department

  • Maintain UAV Policy
  • Chair UAV Committee
  • Manage UAV registration through UMW Police Department
  • Enforce UAV rules and regulations through incident reporting as done currently with any campus incident.

UAV Committee

  • Review and/or amend UAV Policy as needed
  • Address issues that arise regarding UAV incidents along with rules and regulations issues/ changes by FAA or other recognized agencies


The following links will provide information about UAVs and the FAA policy applications for safety and awareness of these devices.