Getting Started

Penn State Faculty, Staff, Students and Third Party Vendors

Indoor and outdoor flights on Penn State property or affiliated Penn State property and/or for Penn State affiliated activities, including but not limited research, teaching, hobby, etc., must submit a request to fly and go through the proper approval process. Here are a few steps on how to get started. For more indepth instructions, review the SOP on Submitting a Request to Fly or visit our FAQ page for additional information.

Step 1: Register

Register your UA if you have not already done so. If the UA is Penn State-owned, follow the instructions on the SOP for Registering a Penn State-owned UA. Note Penn State purchased drones must be registered under the name "The Pennsylvania State University". After registering, the Penn State-owned UA must be added to the fleet of insured vehicles at Penn State. Instructions on how to do so can be found on the SOP for Insurance Requirements. 3rd parties should follow their own company rules on registering their UA and follow the Part 107 regulations around registration.

Step 2: Train

Complete the required training on Canvas. You can skip this step if you have successfully completed all online modules or if you have been grandfathered in (standardization pilots and anyone who demonstrated qualifications prior to December 2018). In addition to completing the online trianing modules in Canvas, Penn State employees and students will need to demonstrate their qualifications with one of our standardized pilots. Review the SOP on Training and Qualification Requirements for additional information. This currently does not apply to 3rd parties requesting to fly.

Step 3: Collect 

Collecting other documents that will be needed for the UA flight approval process, before submitting a request to fly (as described in Step 4), will help streamline the overall process. After submitting the UA request to fly, the UA Operations Team will ask for these items unless they already have them on file from a previously submitted request.

ITEMS Required 

  • Copy of Part 107 Certificate (applies to PSU & 3rd parties)
  • Copy of UA Registration Card (applies to PSU & 3rd parties). Reference: SOP for Registering a Penn State-owned Drone
  • USAIG UAV Vehicle Questionnaire if the vehicle has not yet been added to Penn State's fleet of insured (applies to PSU only) 
  • Approval to Use Site/Location (applies to PSU & 3rd parties)
  • Letter from department verifying flight mission falls within employment responsibilities (applies to PSU students who are flying for purposes that fall within employment responsibilities)
  • PSU employee must be onsite to supervise (applies to PSU students flying for research or education purposes)
  • Evidence of Insurance (3rd parties only). Reference: Insurance Requirements
  • Unit Sponsor Letter (3rd parties only; email is sufficient)
  • Film Agreement (3rd parties only - required if taking photos or videos)
  • Indemnification Agreement (3rd parties only - required if NOT taking photos or videos)

Step 4: Request

Submit a request to fly. The UA Operations Team will contact you if additional information is needed and/or when a final determination has been made about approval.

All personnel, including faculty, staff, students and third parties (contractors) wishing to operate UA (i.e., drones) on Penn State property, Penn State-affiliated property, or as part of a Penn State activity must go through the proper channels to request approval. UA operations are not permitted until approval is granted by the central UA Operations Team within the Office for Research Protections.