Small Airborne Objects

Small Airborne Objects (SAO) / Drone Safety

The purpose of this page is to establish standards of conduct and protocols designed to protect the safety and welfare of the University, community members and campus visitors and to adhere to strict FAA regulations.



This applies to all University students, faculty, staff, campus visitors, and University vendors and contractors on University premises and at University-sponsored events.


Small airborne objects (SAO’s) are understood to include any small balloon, kite, rocket, projectile, model aircraft, drone, unmanned aircraft, flying toy, or similar contrivance used below the federal navigable airspace for conventional manned aircraft.  These are also referred to as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and other similar names.

Any SAO used by UVM personnel or on UVM property.

·      Shall not be operated in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons or their property

·      Shall not exceed 400 feet altitude above ground level, or exceed the height of nearby obstacles when used in vicinity of any airport or restricted area, except as allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

·      Shall not enter any other property below 400 feet altitude, nor create a nuisance on, nor survey any other property, without permission from the affected landowner.

·      Shall be labeled with the owners contact information if it is capable of sustained flight;

·      Shall give way to, and not interfere with, any manned aircraft

·      Shall be operated with safety spotters and must maintain visual line of sight for entire flight.

·      Operation shall be limited to daytime hours with decent visibility

·      Operation shall give way to, and not interfere with, any manned aircraft.  If manned aircraft is visible, audible, or could plausibly arrive in the vicinity of the lower airspace, the operator of the SAO must immediately take the safest course of action, which in nearly all cases will be rapid decent to the ground.

·      All operations shall be pre-planned and flight plan should be shared with Risk Management & Safety and notification to FAA

·      Operation shall not occur within 5 statute miles of Burlington International Airport.  Use within these limits requires notification to the Air Traffic Control and FAA.

·      University visitors, vendors and contractors must provide a COI with specific language under Liability that includes but not limited to the coverage for SAO’s/Drones.