Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Operation Policy

Summary of Policy

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and relevant state laws regulate the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, which includes drones and model aircraft. This policy is to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations to protect the safety and welfare of Dartmouth students, employees and visitors. Users must request permission for each specific use of unmanned aircraft. Request permission by emailing media.production.drone@dartmouth.edu at least two weeks prior to the proposed flight.

Reason for Policy

To provide an official policy pertaining to the use of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, by employees, students, or third parties on property owned by Dartmouth.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

  • All operation of UAS (UAS includes unmanned aircrafts and model aircrafts) on or above Dartmouth owned property must comply with all local, state, and federal laws, including FAA regulations, regarding the use of UAS. The operator of the UAS is responsible for ensuring compliance with all relevant laws and regulations in the operation of the UAS.
  • Specific authorization to operate a UAS from any Dartmouth owned property must be granted by the Office of Communications using the email media.production.drone@dartmouth.edu before such operation is permitted.
  • Any Dartmouth employee or student wishing to operate a UAS as part of their employment or as part of their program of study, must comply with FAA regulation Part 107 or possess a Section 333 exemption. 
  • See summary of FAA regulation Part 107
  • Operators are responsible for ensuring the UAS is in safe operating condition before flying.
  • UAS must be under the control of the operator at all times.
  • UAS may not be operated over public open-air events (crowds, sporting events, etc.) nor above or around construction sites.
  • UAS shall not be used to monitor, photograph, or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. 
  • UAS may not be operated indoors in any Dartmouth building unless a specific exception is received from Safety and Security.
  • Violations of this policy by employees and students will be dealt with in accordance with procedures applicable to violation of Dartmouth policy relating to employees or students. Third parties operating UAS in violation of this policy will be treated as trespassers and may be removed from the campus. Violations of local, state, or federal laws may be referred to appropriate law enforcement. 


  • Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is defined by the FAA as "as 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 UA. The UA is the flying portion of the system, flown by a pilot via a ground-control system or autonomously through the use of an on-board computer, communication links, and any additional equipment that is necessary for the UA to operate safely." As used in this policy, the term UAS includes model aircraft.
  • Model aircraft are defined by the FAA as "an unmanned aircraft that is (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; (2) flown from within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes."

Policy ID


Effective Date

September 1, 2017

Last Revised Date

May 1, 2024


Finance & Administration

Office of Primary Responsibility

Department of Safety and Security

Last Reviewed Date

May 1, 2024

Next Review Date