Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)

The University of Richmond permits the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems weighing less than 55 pounds on or over University property in the following circumstances:

  • Education or Research Use
  • Civil Use
  • Commercial Use

Please note: Recreational or hobbyist use of UAS on or over University property is strictly prohibited.


Civil Use: UAS operation that does not qualify as public use or recreational use.

Commercial Use: UAS operation where the operator receives direct or indirect compensation for the operation. Commercial use includes University employees who operate a UAS in the course and scope of work.

Education or Research Use: UAS operation conducted as part of University educational or instructional purposes, or as part of University-supported research activities.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): A division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that inspects and rates civilian aircraft and pilots, enforces the rules of air safety, and installs and maintains air navigation and traffic control facilities.

Part 107: FAA regulation that allows for the commercial, non-recreational use of small UAS weighing less than 55 pounds. A remote pilot in command certification is required. A summary of Part 107 can be found here.

Recreation Use: UAS operation conducted strictly for hobby or recreational purposes.

Remote Pilot in Command: A person who has received a remote pilot certification from the FAA and has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of a UAS operation conducted under Part 107.

University Property: All real property owned, leased or controlled by the University of Richmond, including the airspace above said property.

Unmanned Aircraft System: Also known as a "drone," an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds on takeoff, including all equipment onboard or otherwise attached to the aircraft.


Any person or University business unit wishing to operate a UAS on or over University property must adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Submit a UAS Flight Request Form prior to the proposed UAS operation.
  2. Submit a copy of the UAS operator's remote pilot certificate.
  3. UAS operator must comply with FAA, State and local regulations regarding small UAS operation.
  4. UAS operator must not photograph, video, or monitor areas where other members of the University community or general public would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Insurance Requirements

Third-party commercial operators and non University-owned UAS:

  • Aircraft Liability in the amount of $1,000,000
  • Insurance company must be licensed to do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Policy must name University of Richmond as Additional Insured
  • A Certificate of Insurance must be submitted to risk@richmond.edu prior to UAS operation

The University reserves the right to modify these requirements based on the nature of the proposed UAS operation.

Flight Requests

All proposed UAS operations on or over University property must be approved by Risk Management and University Police. To request approval to fly a UAS, complete the UAS Flight Request Form at least 72 business hours prior to the planned flight. Incomplete requests may result in a processing delay.

The University of Richmond Department of Public Safety maintains the authority to ground or suspend operations of any UAS that is not compliant with FAA/state regulations or University policy, or presents a danger to University property or the University community.