Date: May 16, 2017

Approved by: Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor 

Authors: Joseph G. Rosse (Associate Vice Chancellor of Research Integrity & Compliance), Melissa Zak (Assistant Vice Chancellor of Safety), Professor Brian Argrow (IRISS Director), Professor Eric Frew (RECUV Director), Daniel Hesselius (Director of Flight Operations), Andrew Hill and Sarah Forsythe Pritchard (Office of University Counsel), Maia Andreasen (CUUF Chairperson), Samuel Bogan (CUPD), Katy Armstrong (Student Affairs).

Effective Date:  TBD


  • Establish scope and governance of the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) for University of Colorado Boulder (“CU Boulder”, “University”) business and the use of UAS on and over CU Boulder property;
  • Establish the role of the Flight Operations Manual (“FOM”) in UAS governance; and
  • Establish the committee responsible for overseeing the UAS program at CU Boulder.

Policy Statement

  • Authority
    • The Chancellor has the authority to establish policy governing the use of UAS on CU Boulder property and elsewhere if the UAS is university-owned or operated. At the direction of the Chancellor, the Provost convened a UAS Advisory Committee (“UAC”) to develop policies and procedures for UAS flights over CU Boulder. These policies are in addition to the Federal Aviation Regulations (“FAR”), and are in no way intended to supersede any FAR, or other Federal, state or local law or regulation.
  • Scope
    • This policy is applicable to:
      • University faculty, staff, and students operating UAS in any location as part of their University research, teaching, student organization, or employment activities.
      • All platforms of UAS which include, but are not limited to: UAS, UAV Drone, Model Aircraft, regardless of size or weight.
      • Any individuals who operate UAS on CU Boulder property, including persons not affiliated with the University.
      • Any individuals operating UAS purchased with funding through the University, including University accounts, grants, or foundation accounts.
  • Flight Operations Manual

All pilots must adhere to the Flight Operations Manual (“FOM”) when operating UAS on or over university property or when conducting university activities or operating university-owned UAS in other locations, as appropriate. The FOM includes instructions and information necessary for personnel involved with the operations of UAS to perform their duties and responsibilities legally and with a high degree of safety. The FOM outlines the process and procedures for flights over, and take-offs and landings on, CU Boulder property and flights in other locations on behalf of CU Boulder. Anyone with questions about the FOM should contact the Director of Flight Operations (DO) for assistance.

Since federal regulations on UAS operations and campus policies are constantly evolving, individuals should consult the Director of Flight Operations (“DO”) on the best way to operate within existing laws and policies. Operations or exports of UAS outside the United States, or involving foreign nationals should also consult with the CU Boulder Office of Export Controls.

  • Unmanned Aircraft System Advisory Committee

The UAS Advisory Committee establishes and maintains the FOM, procedures, and training to ensure users understand the requirements to operate safely in the National Airspace System, and within the complex limitations of Certificates of Authorization (“COAs”) and other regulatory frameworks. The UAC meets quarterly and sets university-wide strategic policies for the operation of UAS systems by CU Boulder employees and by any user over CU Boulder property in accordance with applicable federal and local laws, including COAs, and FAR Parts 1, 61, 67, 91, 107, as applicable.

Members are the committee are charged with ensuring the users of the University’s FAA-approved assets are properly trained and qualified to operate safely.

  • It is chaired by the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Safety and consists of the following representatives:
    • Assistant Vice Chancellor of Safety, Chair
    • Associate Vice Chancellor of Research Integrity & Compliance
    • CU Boulder Police Department Representative
    • Campus Use of University Facilities (CUUF) Committee Chairperson
    • Director of Flight Operations
    • IRISS Director
    • Research & Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) Director
    • University Risk Management Representative
    • Student Affairs Representative
    • Student Representative, appointed by the VC for Student Affairs
    • University Counsel


  • FOM link
  • SAR link
  • FAQs link
  • DO link
  • CU Boulder Office of Export Controls