The University of Kentucky (UK), based in Lexington, has announced some of the primary provisions of its new policy regarding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) usage.
Specifically, the UK wants to prohibit the recreational use of drones on all UK owned, operated or controlled property. This includes the main campus in Lexington, as well as other sites such as Coldstream Research Park and farms the university owns or operates across the state.
Federal Aviation Administration-approved operators (e.g., for commercial use) must apply for permission to fly through the UK’s event management office at least seven days prior to the requested event. In addition, anyone seeking to fly for a particular use on campus must have proof of general liability insurance that covers the operation of UAS.
UK also says operating drones directly above open-air events or above thoroughfares such as roadways, sidewalks, bike paths and pedestrian paths will not be allowed.
“Our first and most important priority is the safety of our UK community and those who visit us,” states Eric N. Monday, the university’s executive vice president for finance and administration. “At the same time, we want to ensure that any policy we adopt is in full compliance with federal aviation requirements and the law. This new policy makes clear our priorities and how we will ensure the safety of our campus community.”
According to the university, one of the chief concerns about drone use has been the proximity of any campus flight to a heliport located at UK HealthCare’s A.B. Chandler Hospital, as well as Commonwealth Stadium.
“There are, of course, legitimate and important reasons for the use of drones or unmanned aircraft systems – including research and instruction that benefits significantly from the use of these systems,” Monday adds. “To that end, this policy also creates the process in which such uses can occur while also ensuring the safety of our campus community and the broader community we serve.”
The full UK policy, adopted after recommendations by a committee that met multiple times over the last several months, can be read here.