Policy for Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations On or Over Liberty University Property
School of Aeronautics
This Policy outlines the requirements and limitations of the use of any Unmanned Aerial Systems (“UAS”), including unmanned aerial vehicles, drones and unmanned aircraft, on or over property owned or controlled by Liberty University (“Liberty”) for any purpose, including commercial, hobby, and recreational operations.
This Policy serves to direct the use of UAS, flown for any purpose, on or over the property owned or controlled by Liberty (“Liberty property”). The majority of Liberty’s campus property exists inside the controlled airspace of Lynchburg Regional Airport creating a complex operational environment. The goal of this Policy is to ensure the campus remains as safe as possible to all users of the campus and the airspace above. Due to the hazards that UAS can pose to the public, both on the ground and flying in the air, special considerations are needed that address the specific challenges of operating on the property of Liberty.
UAS shall not be operated in a reckless manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. Under no circumstances, shall a UAS be operated directly over any person(s). The operator of a UAS shall be personally responsible for injuries to any person(s), damages to any property, or both, that result from the operation of a UAS.
All operators of a UAS are responsible for complying with Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulations; all federal, state, and local laws; and all Liberty University policies.
No UAS may exceed the approved maximum altitude as indicated by the FAA UAS Facility Map for Lynchburg Regional Airport (KLYH). This map can be found on the FAA’s website.
No UAS operations shall be conducted within 500 feet of Fire, EMS, Police, Emergency Services or affiliated persons or property while such agencies are actively engaged in any situation requiring the use of lights, sirens, or both. Any person representing such agencies may also require a 500-foot buffer for situations not requiring the use of lights, sirens, or both. In the event of an emergency, any UAS flight within 500 feet will immediately cease operation unless specifically requested to continue flying by the agency in command of the situation. Flights conducted for, by, or in cooperation with, the agencies listed above may be conducted without the 500-foot requirement.
No UAS shall be operated over or within 100’ laterally of US route 460.
“Commercial Operations” shall mean any operation that is not for hobby or recreational purposes, is not by a public safety entity, or is an operation for hire or compensation. UAS operations conducted on behalf of Liberty University, an entity significantly engaged in the educational sector of the economy as well as various other businesses, is considered a commercial operation.
All commercial UAS operations shall be conducted in accordance with the regulations given to a valid 333 exemption holder or in accordance with 14 C.F.R. Part 107. Any person flying under a 333 exemption will be required to fly in accordance with an approved Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (“COA”).
Hobby and Recreational Flight
Hobby and recreational UAS operations conducted on or over Liberty property located within Class D or E airspace shall be conducted by an FAA certified Remote Pilot as defined in 14 CFR Part 107. All of Liberty’s main campus is within Class D or E airspace as it extends from 4 to approximately 6.1 nautical miles from the Lynchburg Regional Airport. See the graphic for a depiction of the contours of Class D and E airspace or to view airspace classifications.
The requirement for operations to be conducted by an FAA certified Remote Pilot shall not apply to hobby or recreational UAS operations conducted on or over Liberty property that is not located within Class D or E airspace. However, such operations shall be conducted in accordance with all other provisions of this Policy.
Requirement for a Controlled Airspace Waiver
All UAS operators flying inside the KLYH airspace are required to poses either, an airspace waiver from the FAA, or a current and active airspace authorization through LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability).
Calling the Lynchburg Airport control tower does not constitute permission from the FAA. To obtain a waiver please follow the steps listed on the FAA UAS Website.
Flights by Public Safety Entity – (Police, EMS, Search and Rescue)
Any public safety entity wishing to operate a UAS on or over Liberty property must conduct all operations with prior approval from Liberty University School of Aeronautics and in accordance with 14 CFR Part 107, or in accordance with a COA granted by the FAA. A LUSOA approval request can be accessed here.
Crowds and Events
No part of a UAS operation shall occur directly over an outdoor crowd or large gathering of individuals outside of a building unless that operation is conducted in accordance with an active FAA wavier specifically allowing operation over people.
This would include, but not be limited to, directly over persons gathered at open air sporting events, lines to enter an event, and outdoor concerts. The UAS operator must never allow the unmanned aircraft to fly into a position that would put the crowd at risk in the event of a sudden failure of any aircraft system. Aerial photography of such gatherings must be from vantage points directly above unoccupied rooftops or other areas where no individuals are below.
University Notification of Unsafe Conditions
At times it may be in Liberty’s best interest to prevent the operation of a UAS on or over its property. If at any time Liberty determines there to be unsafe conditions for UAS operations, the University reserves the right to deny any and all users permission to operate a UAS for any amount of time. Upon notification by Liberty, all UAS users must immediately cease flight operations.
Guests Requiring Increased Security
At times Liberty will host guests that require increased security measures. Liberty reserves the right to operate UAS and to grant permission to operate UAS to specific parties, upon request, during these visits. All such operations shall be in accordance with any federal, state, or local regulations regulating UAS operations during such a visit. All hobby or recreation UAS operations are prohibited during such visits.
UAS shall not be operated in, or used to record or monitor an area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Such areas include, but are not limited to, restrooms; locker rooms; residential rooms; hotel rooms; changing or dressing rooms; and health treatment rooms.
The security of the information collected through the use of unmanned aircraft will be the responsibility of the remote pilot in command. Any imagery, including photo or video, collected by the University through the use of unmanned aircraft shall be handled in a manner consistent with Liberty’s existing privacy policies and media guidelines.
Operation Request, Reporting and Record Keeping
Request, reporting, and record keeping for all UAS operations on or above Liberty University property shall be conducted by Liberty University School of Aeronautics (“School of Aeronautics”).
Request to Fly a UAS by an External Entity
Approval by the School of Aeronautics is required for every UAS operation on or over Liberty’s property by an external entity. Visit the UAS Operations webpage for the requirements of how to fly on Liberty University campus.
A request to operate a UAS for commercial purposes must be received by the School of Aeronautics at least 48 hours before the planned time of a UAS operation.
However, in the event of an emergency, prior approval through the School of Aeronautics shall not be required for operations by public safety entities so long as the public agency informs Liberty University Police Department.
Request to Fly a UAS by an Internal Entity
Flights by organizations internal to Liberty (i.e., faculty, employees/personnel, departments, students, etc.) shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure outlined below:
- The pilot of the UAS must possess a current FAA Remote Pilot Certificate
- (Required for LU Departments and associated employees only) The pilot must conduct an evaluation flight, or flights, with the Director of the UAS program at the School of Aeronautics or otherwise department designated evaluator. Visit the UAS Operations Webpage to learn more.
- The aircraft must have a current FAA UAS Registration
- The aircraft must display the FAA registration number externally.
- For every operation, the pilot in command must:
- Send in a Liberty University UAS Campus Operation Request to the School of Aeronautics for prior approval to fly on any Liberty property.
- Obtain FAA LAANC approval for operating on Liberty property that falls beneath the Lynchburg airport airspace.
- Notify LUPD of their intention to fly.
Liberty University and the School of Aeronautics reserves the right to deny, restrict, or terminate any UAS operation on or over Liberty property without cause.
Upon request by University Staff, Faculty, or LUPD, all UAS operators must provide proof of permission to fly, and all required documents listed below:
- Current FAA Remote Pilot Certificate
- Current FAA Airspace Authorization for KLYH, or
- Current and active Airspace Authorization through LAANC
For step-by-step instructions on how to fly on Liberty University campus, visit our UAS Operations webpage.
Authority to Terminate
All law enforcement and security personnel will have authority to terminate any operation that it deems to be unsafe or malicious in nature. Law enforcement officers will make every effort to allow the flight to terminate in a way that prevents damage to the vehicle, however, in the event of imminent danger or threat, the appropriate actions will be taken to terminate the flight as directly as possible to ensure public safety and no injury or damage to persons or property.
Upon request by law enforcement or security personnel, a UAS operator must terminate the operation in the most direct manner that allows for continued safety.
Any UAS operation terminated by law enforcement or security personnel shall be reported to the School of Aeronautics. Such report shall give the name of the UAS operator and the nature of the events leading to the termination of the UAS operation.
Enforcement and Penalties
Any violations of Liberty’s policies by an individual will be dealt with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including administrative withdrawal and employment termination from Liberty University.
Trespassing and other legal action may also be pursued against third parties that operate UAS in violation of this policy.
Date for Review