Drones on campus

You may not realize it, but the air above you has more traffic than you might think. AirMed and Life Flight make lifesaving trips to and from the U hospital, often, multiple times a day. But the airspace above campus is getting more and more crowded with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or more commonly known as drones.

Takeoffs and landings can happen at any time in order to save lives. So, managing the use of drones on campus is vitally important to ensure the safety of our campus and the patients and medical professionals in those manned aircraft.

The U now has guidelines for a thorough and well-coordinated process to approve the use of drones on and around campus. Approvals for operating drones are given on a case-by-case basis.

The full guidelines and frequently asked questions are available online. Licensed pilots must:

  • Be licensed
  • Comply with FAA guidelines
  • Be aware of privacy issues regarding patients being treated at any of the hospitals and clinics on campus.
  • Be aware of the privacy of campus and community residents
  • Properly notify University Police, AirMed and campus stakeholders
  • Pose no risk or interference to medical flight activity or other events on campus

After reviewing the guidelines, all requests for flight permission must be submitted by filling out the application here. Note: all requests must be made a minimum of 48 hours in advance of your desired flight time. This request does not guarantee a pilot will be available at your preferred time. Strong preference is given to licensed pilots that are affiliated with the university.

Once approved, pilots must notify University Police at 801-585-COPS (2677) and AirMed at 801-581-2500 30 minutes prior to flight and request permission to take off and land on campus. Pilots using drones for commercial purposes must be licensed, the drone must be licensed with the FAA, and have a valid certificate of insurance (COI).

The U has licensed drone pilots available for hire starting at $125 an hour. Off-campus entities may also apply and gain flight permission using the application form.

Drones are not allowed 1 hour before gates open, during and one hour after events end inside Rice-Eccles Stadium per FAA regulation. The use of aircraft, including drones, is restricted within a 3 nautical mile radius and 3,000 feet in altitude above events at stadiums with a capacity of more than 30,000 persons.

For more information or to arrange a drone flight, apply online or call Auxiliary Business Development at 801-585-1634.