Policies and Procedures

University Policies and Procedures

The following information applies to all Princeton University students, staff, faculty and invitees.

Princeton sUAS Policy 
Princeton's policy for the operation of sUAS on University property.     

Safety and Operational Standards
Checklist to make sure your sUAS use is in compliance. 

Pre-flight Checklist
Safety list to review before you fly.  

Incident Reporting Form
Form to use in case of a crash, injury, property damage or complaint. 

Instructions For Invitees

Instructions For Invitees contains useful information for contractors/third-party operators seeking approval (with sponsorship of a University affiliate) to conduct flights on campus. 

FAA Regulations

FAA regulations pertain to all flights within the national airspace system of the United States. Outside of the U.S., sUAS operations are subject to the rules and regulations of those jurisdictions. Federal regulations and policies pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems are available on the FAA website.

All pilots conducting flights for business purposes, whether invitee or University affiliate, must have a Remote Pilot License as stipulated by the FAA’s Part 107 guidelines. This includes flights for any commercial purpose, such as a construction survey, or obtaining footage for a University event or promotional campaign. Learn More »

Pilots conducting flights for educational purposes must either earn a Remote Pilot’s License (Part 107 certification) or pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) aeronautical knowledge and safety test, which allows for drone operation in more limited circumstances. The preferred certification for educational flying is a Part 107 license. Learn More »

Pilots conducting flights for recreational purposes only (e.g. student clubs) are required to, at minimum, pass the The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) aeronautical knowledge and safety test, which is tailored to recreational operators. Learn More »

FAA Rules For Educational and Business Use 

Implementation of new FAA rules for educational users are in effect as of June 2021. Educational users are now able to operate UAS under the recreational standards (formerly known as Section 336). This requires educational users to pass a knowledge test and receive approval from their institution of higher education to fly anywhere in the U.S. national airspace system. 

NOTE: No flights will be approved on Princeton University for research or coursework unless the operator has either Part 107 certification or has passed the knowledge test through the TRUST program. All flights for business purposes require a Part 107 License.

The preferred authorization for all sUAS flying—including educational and recreational flights—is the Part 107 License. Part 107 allows for more flexibility in where drones can be flown, and when. While a recreational/educational authorization is sufficient for coursework (i.e. undergrads doing a senior project), Part 107 is necessary for many research uses. It also gives faculty and graduate students the ability to allow students to fly drones under their supervision.

Remote ID

Remote ID is a mandated technology allowing for the tracking and identification of sUAS. The information is required to be built into new drones or retrofitted to older ones by September, 2023. Manufacturers must begin offering drones fitted with Remote ID capabilities by September 2022.

The final rule requires use of Remote ID except in FAA-Recognized Identification Areas (FRIA), where unmanned aircraft not equipped with Remote ID can operate. Local community-based organizations must apply to establish an authorized FRIA.

Learn more about Remote ID »

Relevant Links (FAA Website)

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) »
FAA Information for Commercial Operators »
Information For Educational Operators »
Process For Obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate »
UAS Remote Identification Overview »

The FAA requires all UAS to be registered. Register your UAS with the FAA. 

FAA Section Updated 8/21

Related Activities

Other permissions may be needed if the sUAS is being used for certain types of activities. More information about policies and permissions on selected topics is available at the links below.  

Export Controls 
A U.S. government export license may be required to ship or transport an 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 ([email protected]) for assistance.

Animal Research
Guidelines, regulations, and policies govern the use of animals in research and education.

Human Subjects
Guidelines, regulations, and policies govern the use of human subjects in research and education.

Biological agents, including recombinant DNA molecules, infectious and potentially infectious agents, human and non-human primate materials and biological toxins are covered by the Institutional Biosafety Program.

Field Research
Permits, risk assessments and travel planning are needed in some field research situations.

Filming / Campus Imagery
Photography and filming by invitees/third-party operators must be approved by the Office of Communications. Note: This is not necessary for data collected by authorized contractors working on campus construction projects.