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Monday, June 17, 2024

When JeanCarlos Asencio got the email about UF’s drone procedures, he wasn’t surprised.

UF sent emails to students about the rigorous process for operating a drone on campus, UF spokesman Steve Orlando said. 

Users must get certification by the Federal Aviation Administration and get approval from UF’s Environmental Health and Safety Office. Students must also provide proof of insurance.

“We wanted to make sure they know what our procedures are and what they have to do to get clearance on campus,” Orlando said.

Students must contact the FAA if they want to receive certification to fly a drone, he said. While there have been no incidents on campus, Orlando said UF wanted students to be aware of the policy to prevent injury.

Orlando said the email was to remind students who may have received a drone as a gift over the holidays of the requirements to fly a drone on campus.

The FAA restricts drones from being within five miles of an airport and two miles of a heliport.

Orlando said most of UF’s campus is near an airport or heliport, which may make it difficult for people to be approved by the FAA.

Bill Properzio, director of the UF 

nvironmental Health and Safety Office, said having students approved by the office will make sure the university and students who use drones are protected.

“It’s a process of getting approval and how you’re going to use it,” Properzio said.

Getting approval is not impossible, Properzio said, but it requires many steps. The approval time from the office usually depends on the amount of time it takes the FAA to approve a request to fly a drone. But the office usually approves requests in about a week, as long as approval from the FAA and insurance is provided, Properzio said.

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Asencio, 19, said following the regulations is important. The UF aerospace engineering sophomore founded Unmanned Aerial Gators, a drone club at UF. He said club members are still in the process of building their own drone. When it’s completed, they will apply for approval from the FAA to fly in on campus.

“We make sure that we don’t break any laws,” he said.

 Contact Melissa Gomez at mgomez@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @MelissaGomez004

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