UAV and Multi-Propeller Drones Policy

Basic information

  • Owner(s):
  • Applies to:
    • Full-time faculty
    • Visitor
    • Staff
    • Current Students
    • Part-Time/Adjunct
  • Approved by:
    • Bill Corner, Campus Safety
  • Issued: April 12, 2017
  • Last updated: July 28, 2017

To provide direction to anyone possessing or operating an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Calvin University property. Direction includes registration of specific UAV types, rules and regulations that govern the use along with specific sanctions for violating this policy.

Applies to

This policy applies to the entire University community, specifically students, faculty, administrators, staff, and visitors to campus, whether they are guests or patrons.

Policy statement

  1. Purpose
  2. Summary
  3. Definitions
  4. Policy statement
  5. Procedure
  6. Forms

Policy purpose

As it does with other highly regulated technologies of scholarly or other operational importance, Calvin University seeks to permit UAVs and Drones to be utilized productively in a manner that fully meets institutional, legal, public safety and ethical responsibilities.

Policy summary

To provide direction to anyone possessing or operating an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Calvin University property. Direction includes registration of specific UAV types, rules and regulations that govern the use along with specific sanctions for violating this policy.

Definition of terms in statement

For the purpose of this Calvin University policy on UAV’s, the following classifications have been identified. Recreational aerial vehicle and drone (definitions below).

Recreational aerial vehicle (RAV)
Any UAV fewer than ten pounds that is not equipped with any kind of camera or data collection device.
Any UAV fewer than ten pounds that has a camera or any data collection device installed. This includes “first person view”.
“First person view” UAV. Camera attached to a UAV solely used by operator to navigate vehicle.
Federal Aviation Administration
Academy of Model Aeronautics
International Traffic in Arms Regulations
Export Administration Regulation
“Micro” (UAV)
Weighing less than one pound and made for indoor/outdoor use
“Visual line of sight”

Policy statement

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) along with aerial vehicles known as drones, can make significant contributions to University research and service/outreach in a variety of disciplines. Additionally, aerial photography with UAVs can potentially assist in University academic (study, research), land management, athletics, law enforcement and other support functions. UAV regulation is emerging and multi-faceted. Particularly with respect to UAVs, public concern with privacy is well documented. UAV operational safety—entailing both UAV equipment and the pilots who operate it remotely—is regulated by the FAA. Calvin University requires adherence to the FAA regulations, as well as state and local regulations regarding the use of UAVs.


  • All student, staff and academic departments possessing a UAV on campus will be subject to these regulations.
  • The campus safety department will enforce these regulations as they do with all university regulations.
  • As will all regulations, the campus community will be expected to report any reckless, irresponsible and malicious activity
  • A UAV committee exists for the purpose of maintaining this policy. This committee minimally includes a member from campus safety, a member from communications and marketing, a member from physical plant, a member from the office of event services and a member from Calvin information technology

In addition to FAA regulations, (some of which are noted below) operators of any UAV’s must abide by these regulations:

  1. Aircraft must not weigh more than ten pounds
  2. Do not operate UAV’s weighing more than one pound in areas of campus that are prohibited.  This includes classrooms, hallways, offices, athletic venues, or where a crowd of individuals is assembled. Permission to fly a UAV weighing more than one pound in prohibited areas must be obtained through the director of campus safety.
  3. Do not fly beyond line of sight. (FAA)
  4. Do not exceed 400 feet of altitude. (FAA)
  5. Do not use a metal blade propeller. (AMA)
  6. Do not fly directly over unprotected people, property and structures. (AMA)
  7. Do not operate in a reckless or careless manner or under the influence of alcohol/ drugs.
  8. Flying beyond your established flight line or designated perimeter is strictly prohibited.
  9. UAV’s greater than one pound and drones must be registered with campus safety. Failure to register will result in fines, disciplinary action and/or loss of privilege to possess UAV on campus
  10. RAV’s that are “micro”, less than 1 pound and/or made for indoor use are not permitted in academic buildings unless used under the auspices of an academic program, club, team or individual with specific authorization from that facility manager. If outfitted with a camera, the vehicle is then considered a drone which must be registered.
  11. Film or video captured at Calvin University cannot be used to officially represent the institution without the express permission of the communications and marketing department.
  12. Drones may not be operated at sporting events without the approval of the athletic department.
  13. Drone flight plans must be filed with the campus safety department prior to use.

Note: Several sections of the Calvin University campus are within the aircraft operation area for commercial airlines. This includes operations at the Gerald R. Ford Airport, and the Spectrum Health Medical Flight facilities. Appropriate clearances for UAV flight plans must be secured through these agencies.



Campus Safety, (616) 526-6451

William Corner

William Corner

Director of Campus Safety
Full profile



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