Drones – Pre-Pandemic

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Steps for Access and Procedures

Note: make sure to follow all UW policies and procedures pertaining to drones (info here).

Policies and Procedures

  1. All drones must be flown inside the drone tent.
  2. No persons may be within the tent when drone propellers are spinning, unless given approval.
  3. Drones must be less than 2ftx2ft in dimensions and weight
  4. All flights must be approved by a Makerspace verified drone operator.
  5. The drone tent will be available during scheduled times during normal Makerspace operating hours.
  6. The drone tent must be checked out to the operating user through the Makerspace check-out system.
  7. A drone that does not fit the normal acceptable size must be approved by a Makerspace verified drone operator
  8. Any additional equipment within the drone operating area must be approved by a Makerspace verified drone operator

Use ARROW if seeking to use drones or autonomous vehicles

The University of Wisconsin–Madison requires faculty, staff, students, contractors, and affiliates seeking to use autonomous vehicles, including unmanned aircraft systems (drones), for UW-related education, research, and non-academic purposes are now asked to submit pilot and flight approval applications in ARROW.

ARROW is a research oversight platform that allows researchers to submit and track research related applications and protocols across oversight authorities. All applications are reviewed by the Research Vehicle Safety Oversight (RVSO) Committee. Committee membership includes representation from across stakeholder areas including faculty, pilots, risk management, UWPD, teach and learning, research, marketing, and facilities.

Approved pilot applications are valid for one year and must be resubmitted annually. Flight applications should be submitted two weeks in advance of any proposed flights.

Prohibited activities include flying for recreational or hobbyist uses on campus. In addition, the campus adheres to FAA guidelines and prohibits the following without waivers:

Flight(s) over people
Flight(s) beyond the line of sight
Flight(s) at night
Flight(s) above 400′
Flight(s) in controlled airspace (requires authorization)
Registered student organizations and students in connection with UW–Madison course work are eligible to apply for instructional use.

UW–Madison is a challenging environment for drone use of any kind or for any purpose given its location in an urban environment, located just miles from the Dane County Regional Airport and Middleton Municipal Airport, and in close proximity to UW Health’s Med Flight base.

If you have questions about drone use compliance on campus, please contact Heather McFadden, heather.mcfadden@wisc.edu.

Equipment Specs

Make Model Qty Type and Features Permit Required
DJI Tello EDU 4 Blue
DJI Spark 1 Contact Shop Manager
DJI Mavic Air 1 Contact Shop Manager
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual 1 Thermal and visible camera Contact Shop Manager

We have a 10′ wide x 30′ long x 10′ high tent for testing approved drones. We also have drone kits and some consumer-grade drones.

Drone tent

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