Unmanned Aircraft Systems / Drone Policy

Date Last Updated: 05/09/2016
Status: Approved by Cabinet

This policy applies to the Walla Walla University community: students, faculty, administrators, staff, visitors, guests and any others who operate a UAS in university airspace.

Policy Purpose

As it does with other highly regulated technologies of scholarly or other operational importance, Walla Walla University seeks to permit UAS 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 a UAS on WWU property. Direction includes registration of specific UAS types, rules and regulations that govern their use along with specific sanctions for violating this policy.

Definition of Terms in Statement

For the purpose of this WWU policy on UAS’s, the following terms have been identified:

UAS - Unmanned Aircraft System

UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Can be known as a drone. 0.55 to 55 pounds in weight.

FPV - “First Person View”. Camera attached to a UAS solely used by operator to navigate UAS.

FAA - Federal Aviation Administration

AMA - Academy of Model Aeronautics

“Micro” (UAS) - Weighing less than 0.55 pounds and made for “indoor/outdoor use”

LOS - Line of Sight

Policy Statement

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) can make significant contributions to university research and service/outreach in a variety of disciplines. Additionally, aerial photography with UAS can potentially assist in university academics (study, research), marketing, land management, athletics, law enforcement, and other support functions.

UAS regulation is emerging and multi-faceted. UAS operational safety (entailing both UAV equipment and the pilots who operate it remotely) is regulated by the FAA, although the FAA policy framework is likely to evolve significantly in the near future. In light of the evolving nature of this infant industry, this policy will change to keep current as we move forward.


  1. All students, faculty, staff, administrators, visitors to campus, guests and others possessing UAS on campus will be subject to these regulations.
  2. The department of Campus Security will enforce these regulations as they do with all university regulations.
  3. As with all regulations, the campus community will be expected to report any reckless, irresponsible and malicious UAS activity on campus to Campus Security.
  4. The WWU UAS Committee exists for the purpose of maintaining this policy.

All Operators of any UAS on WWU campuses must abide by these regulations:

  1. By statute all aircraft over 0.55 pounds are required to register with the FAA at www.faa.gov, with their drone registration. Congress has defined "aircraft" to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.
  2. UAS operators must register with Campus Security at the Campus Security office. UAS operators that would like to operate UAS on campus that weigh more than 0.55 pounds must register at the Campus Security office and be on the Approved UAS Operator list. Failure to register will result in fines, disciplinary action and/or loss of privilege to possess UAS on campus.
  3. Aircraft exceeding 4.4 pounds must be insured. Contact Campus Security for details.
  4. Aircraft flight weight must not exceed 10 pounds.
  5. Must not fly beyond line of sight. (FAA)
  6. Must not exceed 400 feet of altitude. (FAA)
  7. Must not use metal blade propellors. (AMA)
  8. Must not fly in a way that endangers people, vehicles, or other property.
  9. Must not operate in a reckless or careless manner or under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
  10. Operation of a UAS using FPV is strictly prohibited.
  11. Must notify Campus Security prior to any proposed UAS flights where the UAS weight is over 0.55 pounds. Notification can be sent to security via uas@wallawalla.edu.
  12. Must maintain awareness of local air traffic. WWU’s main campus is in proximity to Martin Airfield and is located on the approach that most pilots use for runway 23. Most pilots are at or above the required 500 ft level over the university, but they can be lower. UAS flying above 100 ft should use a spotter and immediately land if aircraft are spotted in the area. UAS operators can monitor frequency 122.8 for aircraft in the approach pattern. It is the responsibility of the UAS operator to get out of the way of any regular aircraft.
  13. UAS should only fly during daylight hours when there is at least three miles of visibility. If visibility is less than three miles, then the altitude is restricted to 100 ft.
  14. UAS should not travel at excessive or unsafe speeds.
  15. Must not drop items from a UAS unless it’s conducted by the university related to a class or research and strictly monitored by WWU employees.
  16. All pilots must conduct pre-flight checks on their UAS.
  17. UAS flights are restricted to outdoor use only.
  18. UAS operators should avoid flying over people not involved in the activity.

Any exceptions to this policy require written permission from Campus Security.


  1. We recommend that operators keep up to date on the latest FAA requirements for recreational use. FAA Regulations found on www.faa.gov.
  2. We also recommend that operators fly with a spotter both while on campus and off.
  3. Operators should be familiar with local maps of where not to fly.


UAS offer a unique perspective on the world. They allow the user to see things and take photographs/video of things not normally seen by the average person. This presents some unique privacy concerns. Laws specific to UAS and privacy are still developing. Although it is legal to take photos of people and places that are in the public view, UAS offer more views than the average regular photographer would be able to access. A rule of thumb: If a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the scene you wish to photograph or video, you should refrain from capturing those images. UAS operators on WWU campuses should familiarize themselves with privacy law as it currently stands for photographers. Use this great resource to learn more about privacy laws in regards to photographers


Violations of the rules and regulations will be investigated on an individual basis. Sanctions may include:

  1. Up to a $500.00 fine
  2. Registration revoked and/or loss of privilege to fly or possess a UAS on WWU campuses.
  3. Disciplinary action including confiscation. The Director of Security and his staff can immediately revoke flight authorization and confiscate the UAS for egregious acts and/or negligence on the part of the UAS operator.


Pilots not flying in an official university capacity are responsible for payment of all damages incurred as a result of UAS usage and are encouraged to obtain insurance.


If you would like the privilege of operating a UAS on WWU Campuses you must register and sign a statement stating that you have read and will abide by the WWU UAS Policy. After signing this paperwork and waiver at the Campus Security office, your name may be placed on the WWU Approved UAS operator list which will be maintained by Campus Security.

Roles and Responsibilities

WWU Campus Security

  1. Chair UAS Committee
  2. Initiate UAS campus announcement annually
  3. Manage UAS registration through the Campus Security office
  4. Enforce UAS rules and regulations through incident reporting as done currently with any campus incident

UAS Committee

  1. The UAS Committee consists of the Director of Campus Security, one representative from Marketing and University Relations, one representative from the Technology Department, one representative from the School of Engineering, one representative from the Department of Communication and Languages and the Director of Risk and Safety Management for the purpose of maintaining this policy.
  2. Review/maintain/amend the UAS Policy as needed.
  3. Address issues that arise regarding UAS incidents along with rules and regulation changes brought forth by the FAA or other recognized agencies.
  4. Two-thirds majority vote is required to change this policy on matters where the FAA is not concerned.
  5. The committee will meet annually and as needed to review the policy. This committee will also be called for appeals to disciplinary action and for grievances where UAS are concerned.

UAS Operator Responsibilities

  1. Operate UAS within the guidelines set herein.
  2. Report to Campus Security any UAS crash that results in bodily harm and/or property damage.

This policy will be updated periodically based on changes in local, state and federal law and on updates to UAS operational best-practices. When there are significant changes to this policy, you will be notified by email. Following your receipt of that notification, your continued use of a UAS on university property implies that you have read and accepted the updated policy.

Application to operate a UAS in university airspace.

Please contact the Campus Security office to obtain an application to operate a UAS in university airspace.  

security@wallawalla.edu | (509) 527-2613

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • FAA UAS Certificate Number
  • UAS Make/Model
  • UAS Serial Number
  • UAS Weight