The Vermont Cynic

Drone policy designed to match federal regulations


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UVM has developed a new drone policy in order to better comply with federal regulations.

The Interim Drone University Operating Procedure recently published by UVM states that no recreational Unmanned Aircraft, drone or model aircraft flying of any kind is permitted on campus.

“We are striving for two things, compliance with the Federal Avian Administration and ensuring security on campus and in the surrounding area,” Al Turgeon, UVM’s chief risk officer and chair of the UVM UAS Work Group said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for air traffic control and safety and regulation of civil aviation, according to their website.

This new UOP applies to all UVM employees, students, commercial contractors, affiliated organizations and campus visitors who want to fly a UAS and/or model aircraft on UVM property, at University-sponsored events or otherwise on behalf of the University on or off-campus, according to the UOP report.

“It will not be more difficult to get permission to fly a UAS, however, you must fill out an application and get approval prior to flying a UAS at UVM,” Turgeon said.

The approval for such flying will only be permitted for “public use” in support of UVM research, “commercial use” in support of UVM’s general administrative needs or “educational instruction” sponsored by the University, according to the UOP report.

The applications will make sure UVM is protected legally and the flights are ensured to follow guidelines.

Applications can be found on the UVM website and are sent to Turgeon. Then a committee made up of Turgeon, faculty, safety and legal staff and a UAS certified pilot review the applications for acceptance.

“The UAS Work Group members were selected for their UAS experience, or their safety or legal expertise.” Turgeon said.

Approval can be given for a specific length of time or a single flight.

The students in the UVM.tech Living/Learning House, which houses students interested in technology, computer/information science and engineering majors are some people who are very aware of this change.

“We definitely have knowledge of the new policy.” said first-year Jacob Hultzer a resident of UVM.tech House. “I think they are really looking to have accountability with UAS flyers.”

UVM is about three miles from the Burlington International Airport, which is cause for heightened concern for safety.

Students interested in flying UAS are aware of the concern of the airport.

“I would go off campus to fly anyway,” Hutzler said. “You’re not supposed to fly near the airport. The FAA could hit you with a big fine.”

There are options for students who want to fly drone-like aircrafts in the area. The Academy of Model Aeronautics has clubs in the area that students can join.

“[The Academy of Model Aeronautics] has local flying clubs, safety courses and low cost insurance for UVM students interested in flying a UAS or model aircraft for hobby and/or recreational purposes.” Turgeon said. “But we are still encouraging people to become familiar with the application if flying UAS is something they want to do.”Federa

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Drone policy designed to match federal regulations