Required Approval for Drone Flights

White drone flying in sky with clouds

Office for Research Protections     |    Unmanned Air Systems

Permission to Fly? Did you know that drones are only permitted to fly on Penn State property or elsewhere for University-affiliated activities if approval is granted by the Office for Research Protections first? Refer to University policy SY45 Use of Unmanned Aircraft: This applies to Penn State students, faculty, staff and third parties.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Indoor flights
  • Outdoor flights
  • Hobbyist flights (flying for personal reasons or for a class project)
  • Research flights (flying for research purposes)
  • Promotional flights (flying to capture footage for promotional materials)
  • Drones used in the classroom (as part of a curriculum, even if only flying a short period of time)
  • Third party flights (contractor or other third parties flying)
  • Flights conducted off-site for University-affiliated activities (even if out of country)

How to Request Approval: Follow the steps located at: or contact us directly at:

Learn More: Our website provides more information on drone use at Penn State, includes steps to request approval, relevant policies, and recent updates: