DRAFT: Unmanned Aircraft – Campus Operation

Type of Policy: 
Policy Owner: 
Security and Police
Contact Name: 
Jeffrey Hunnicutt
Contact Title: 
Physical Security Specialist
Contact Email: 
Reason for Policy: 
The Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) is committed to maintaining a safe and secure campus and desires to promote the responsible operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. This policy establishes requirements for operating any unmanned aircraft (UA) which are launched from, or land upon, Georgia Tech property, including but not limited to drones, model aircraft, blimps and hot air balloons.
Policy Statement: 

The operation of any UA on or above the airspace of Institute Property must be in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) laws and regulations, including any FAA requirement for advance authorization, exemption, registration, and/or waiver.

Additionally, the operation of any UA which are launched from, or land upon, Georgia Tech property is prohibited without advance authorization from the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) and must be in accordance with the requirements set forth below.

Users are individually responsible for compliance with FAA regulations, state and federal laws, and GIT policies.


This policy applies to all members of the GIT community, including faculty, staff, employees, students, visitors, and third parties including contractors and subcontractors.   

This policy extends to the operation (including take offs and landings) by any person of unmanned aircraft on or above Institute Property, including contractor use of unmanned aircraft in providing services and third party media.

This policy does not apply to unmanned flights in approved indoor lab space.  Other indoor activities are subject to this policy.

The operation of Large UAs and/or UAs for research activities is governed by the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations for Research Policy.


Institute Property Institute Property includes all property owned or leased by GIT for use in connection with Institute activities within the United States. GIT locations in countries other than the United States may establish policies consistent with the laws and regulations of their respective jurisdictions.
Large UA An unmanned aircraft (UA) weighing 55 pounds or more, including the weight of any payload, fuel, and batteries.
Permitted Areas Permitted Areas may be identified by GTPD in consultation with the UA Committee and described on a campus map maintained by GTPD.
Restricted Areas Restricted areas are areas where operations are hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft and contain airspace within which the flight of aircraft, while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restrictions. Activities within these areas must be confined because of their nature, or limitations may be imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both.
Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) A UAS is the unmanned aircraft (UA) and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft.
Unmanned Aircraft (UA) A UA is the flying portion of the UAS, flown by a pilot via a ground control system, or autonomously through use of an on-board computer, communication links and any additional equipment that is necessary for the UA to operate safely.
UA Committee The UA Committee will be constituted by the Chief of Police, to include representatives from campus offices interested in the operation of UAS on Institute Property, and will advise GTPD on matters relating to the use and operation of UAS.
Users All members of the GIT community including faculty, staff, employees, students, visitors, contractors and subcontractors using UAs in and around Institute Property and airspace.
Appropriate and Permitted 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 should only be used in Permitted Areas.  UAS shall not be used in or around GT residential buildings, residential hallways, residential lounges, or inside nor outside the GT daycare facilities, except as necessary for the maintenance or repair of the building or facility.

A Flight Plan must be submitted to, and approved by, the Georgia Tech Police Department prior to every flight. Submit Flight Plans through the Georgia Tech Police Department’s website at www.police.gatech.edu.

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)

Any faculty, staff, or students operating a UAS for hobby or recreational purposes for purely personal use are advised to consult the GIT chapter of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) to locate an AMA sanctioned location where such UAS use is approved.           

Education and Research Uses

Any employee or student wishing to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as part of their employment or as part of an education/research program must register with the FAA under the name of “Georgia Institute of Technology” by:

  1. Contacting Georgia Tech Police Department to provide notification of the intent to obtain FAA and GIT authorization, exemptions, registrations and/or waivers. GTRI will work with Users to make sure registration is done correctly. The GTRI Director, Sponsored Project Support will administer the registration process and fee payment and will forward registration/documentation to the Research/Faculty member upon approval. 
  2. Coordinating with the GTPD and UA committee prior to filing any required FAA registrations.  GTPD may consult with the UA Committee and will normally respond to the request within 3 working days (72 hours).  Those granted permission will receive a GT Permission to Fly certificate that outlines any restrictions and other details; and  
  3.  Operating under FAA rules.

Flights Above 400 AGL’

For Research involving GT/GTRI sponsored projects or flights higher than 400′ AGL (Above Ground Level) and/ or UAVs over 55 lbs. or if using a UAV which has been built or modified from its off the shelf configuration, contact GTRI or Aerospace Engineering regarding airworthiness issues and the use of a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA.  

GTRI Director of Sponsored Project Support contact phone:


Aerospace Engineering contact phone: 404-385-2519

Hobby and Recreational Use

It is the responsibility of anyone operating a UAS for purely personal use to comply with all legal requirements.  Any third party or hobbyist wishing to take off or land a UAS from GIT property, or use a UAS over GIT property, must first receive authorization through GTPD prior to every flight.   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 GIT property must be under a properly executed indemnification and liability insurance agreement.

Public Events

UAS operations are strictly prohibited on GIT campus during public events including Commencements and football games.

Any violations of university policies by an individual will be dealt with in accordance with applicable institute policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the university.

Legal prohibitions regarding physical presence on campus/trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against parties that operate UAS in violation of this policy.

Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units will not be paid by GIT and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.

Policy History: 

Revision Date



TBD GTPD New Policy
Map of Georgia Tech

Compliance and Policy Management
760 Spring Street N.W. Suite 324
Phone: 404-385-0731