UAS/Drone Operation


First and foremost, ODU's main campus and that of the Peninsula and Virginia Beach Higher Education Centers are located within a 5 mile radius of a military airport installation. All Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operated for business or recreational purposes within a five mile radius of a military airport cannot be operated without the military providing explicit permission. Likewise, operations within five miles of a civilian airport requires similar approvals. The ODU Office for Risk Management is responsible for requesting flight permission for UAS operations.

To address the use of drones on campus, ODU has established Policy #3015: Unmanned Aircraft System aka Drones, Aerials and Other Powered Model Aircraft. Students, Faculty, Staff, Vendors and Guests who plan to operate a drone on or over property owned or controlled by ODU are required to abide by this policy.

Commercial & Hobbyist Flights

The FAA has broken the flight operations into two basic sections:

A. Commercial

The first is Commercial and it is known as Part 107. If you are flying for someone else and receiving any monetary or other valuable property as payment for your flight services (flight services may include still or motion photography, surveys, mapping, etc..) or you are flying to use the product of your flight for personal or business gain, then you are flying for commercial purposes. As such, you are required by Part 107 to hold a Remote Pilot in Command License and register your UAS/Drone with the FAA.

  • To obtain a Remote Pilot in Command license you must pass the FAA's RPI test. More information on the test can be found HERE.
  • To learn what you need to know to pass the PRIC test, visit:

B. Hobbyist

Next is Recreational aka Hobbyist. You are considered a recreational user if you fly your drone for fun. It is important to know when and where you can fly and how to register your drone.

To Fly a UAS/Drone on Campus You Must:


    Key to this process is a requirement to obtain an ODU-issued operator's permit prior to operation of a drone on the campus or other property owned or controlled by the University. To apply, operators must register as a potential ODU UAS PIC/Operator by clicking this link.


    Once registered as a ODU UAS PIC/Operator, you will receive a pilot registration number. You will use this number when submitting a UAS/Drone Request Form. You will need to attach a PDF copy of the UAS/Drone Flight Request Form to the online UAS/Drone Request form.

    If you are a third party, when completing the online form, you will need to provide a copy of your FAA Registration and proof of UAS/Drone Aviation Insurance. If you are a third party with your own Certificate of Authorization, you will need to obtain approval from Navel Air Station Norfolk Chambers Field Tower at 850-287-5666.


    Commercial operators and hobbyists (operators flying for fun) are required to register their drone with the FAA via the FAA Registration Form and submit a copy of their registration card or certificate to the Office for Risk Management when applying for a permit.


    In addition, operators are required to have and maintain UAS/Drone insurance coverage. Most commercial liability policies and personal homeowners and renters policies exclude liability coverage for UAS/Drone operation. Therefore, operators will need to secure coverage separately.

    • Commercial Operators will need to provide a Certificate of Insurance showing at least $2,000,000 in coverage and include Old Dominion University as an additional insured on its UAS/Drone Aviation coverage.
    • Hobbyist Operators need to provide evidence of insurance coverage as well, and can work with the ODU Drone Club to obtain Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership, which includes the coverage ODU requires.
    • Other UAS Operators needing to obtain UAS/Drone insurance may contact Global Aerospace, an aviation insurance company offering on-demand UAS/Drone insurance coverage for around $10 per hour.