Unmanned Aircraft Operations


This site is the central point for all parties interested in operating Unmanned Aircraft (UA) under the auspices of Penn State. An unmanned aerial system consists of an unmanned aircraft (UA) together with the supporting equipment to operate it, i.e., the ground station. UAs are also commonly referred to as drones, and the terms are mixed interchangeably.

The fundamental purpose of all Penn State policies and procedures is to run safe, efficient, and effective UA operations. To that end, our program addresses pilot training and qualification, air vehicle qualification, site qualification, and the planning, tracking, and reporting of UA operations. The ultimate goals of the UA program at Penn State is to:

  • Ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements
  • Execute UA operations safely, efficiently, and effectively
  • Provide guidance so operators can get into the air as painlessly as possible

Getting Started: 

For more information on UAS at Penn State, please visit the service's homepage. Those wishing to fly should contact Penn State’s UA Operations Manager. Also, you can follow the UA Operations Blog, which provides a running commentary on the programs and policies as they are assembled and offers a means to give feedback through the comments section.

For detailed requirements for the use of Unmanned Aircraft (“UA”) on property owned or controlled by The Pennsylvania State University (“Penn State” or “University”), or elsewhere for University-Affiliated Activities please refer to SY45 Use of Unmanned Aircraft ("UA").

More Information: 


UA Manual

UA Checklists, Briefing, and Aviation Professionalism


This service is part of the Administrative and Business category.



  • This is an active service


  • Individuals wishing to fly UA must complete the Request to Fly form and be approved by the UA Operations Manager. Please lease submit Flight Requests at least 1 Week prior to proposed flight date



  • Penn State does not charge a fee for the UA service