Requests to fly on the Princeton University campus must be submitted for all outdoor locations and indoor public spaces and common areas. A sUAS Flight Request Form is required along with documentation of all required training, certifications and registrations.
Learn more about the steps for requesting and getting approval to fly on our Fly Your sUAS page.
Preferred Outdoor Locations
Most requests to fly sUAS outdoors can be accommodated on one of several fields suitable for sUAS operations, pending availability of the space. In general, athletic fields have greater availability before 4 p.m. on weekdays during the academic year.
- 1952 Stadium / Sherrerd Field: Suitable for a range of sUAS operations needing open space.
- Sexton Field: Suitable for a range of sUAS operations needing open space.
- West Windsor back fields: Provides the most open space and least restriction of the spaces. Suitable for all types of authorized sUAS flights.
Privacy and safety concerns limit many areas of campus from routine sUAS flights. In some circumstances, other campus locations may be considered with an explanation of the proposed flight and justification for the particular location. These requests will require additional review time. Please anticipate at least two weeks for such a request.
Indoor flights will require approval when they are planned for public spaces, common areas, and rooms that may be reserved (e.g., atrium, hallways, classrooms, athletic facilities). In general, these requests will be reviewed by the individuals responsible for the space in addition to the sUAS management team prior to approval being granted. Locations that do not require prior sUAS management team approval are those indoor spaces that are assigned to specific faculty, staff, or students (e.g., research laboratory, office, dormitory room). Indoor flights by third-parties (invitees) require approval in all locations.
Princeton University No Drone Zones
To safeguard safety and security, the campus has designated a few locations as permanent "No Drone Zones." These include the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University daycare facilities, and power substations. UAS flights over these areas are prohibited.
In addition, the campus may issue temporary flight restrictions during special events such as reunions, commencement, sporting events, or emergency response.
Some planned operations within proximity of an airport require communication and coordination with the airport or air traffic control prior to the operation. Our campus is located within five miles of the Princeton Airport and several heliports. The sUAS management team facilitates communications with these entities for campus-based operations.
Locations beyond campus may be suitable for sUAS operations under a variety of conditions. Local ordinances may apply to the use of drones in locations off campus; it is the responsibility of users to do research and seek approvals where necessary. The information below is meant as a general guide and is no substitute for knowledge of specific local rules pertaining to sUAS use.
The FAA recommends the following general safety guidelines whenever operating a sUAS.
- Fly at or below 400 feet and stay away from surrounding obstacles
- Keep your UAS within sight
- Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
- Never fly over groups of people
- Never fly over stadiums or sports events
- Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Understand airspace restrictions and requirements
- Understand your responsibility to communicate with airports and air traffic control in the region
- Know and understand the relevant flight regulations for your operation
B4UFly Smartphone App
The FAA has developed a smartphone app called B4UFLY to help Section 336 UAS operators know whether there are any restrictions or requirements where they want to fly.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has published an overview of voluntary privacy best practices for UAS operators. The FAA also provides all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines as part of the UAS registration process and through the B4UFly mobile app.
No Drone Zones and Airspace Restrictions
Federal, state and local entities are empowered by the FAA to maintain posted No Drone Zones in areas where flying sUAS is prohibited. Areas may also be subject to temporary or permanent airspace restrictions due to weather or hazardous conditions, military operations or special events.
Washington D.C.: sUAS flights are prohibited within a 15-mile radius of Reagan National Airport and subject to special restrictions in an "outer ring" zone extending to a 30-mile radius. FAA Information on DC No Drone Zone »
Additional no-fly rules may apply to national parks and other public lands. Permission from landowners should always be sought before flying on private land.
Model Aircraft Clubs
Model aircraft clubs can coordinate flight operations with other clubs. Information on clubs and field locations in New Jersey can be found here.
Centers of Excellence and sUAS Test Sites
The FAA has established Centers of Excellence among major research institutions for the testing and development of new UAS technology. The FAA also maintains UAS test sites around the country for UAS research and operational concept validation.
Outside the United States
Users of sUAS must follow all applicable regulations and laws of the host country when operating devices outside of the United States.
UAV Systems International has published a list of drone laws by country. These laws are always evolving; contact the intended host country directly to confirm the latest statutes applicable to drones and other sUAS.
A U.S. government export license may be required to ship or transport a sUAS or its payload (e.g. cameras, sensors, etc.) to a foreign country or to provide foreign persons with technology related to the item. Contact John Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.