Available Drone Services

DiSCO and Instructional Technology offers aerial imaging services to the St Olaf community with a pair of DJI unmanned aircraft. We have a FAA Part 107 certificated pilot who is able to legally fly College-owned aircraft. We can support mapping, 3D modeling, orthoimagery and aerial photo/video projects for academic purposes.

To request use of the iTech Drone, please fill out a Drone Request.

For in-depth information on the types of drones available, see iTech Drone Services.

All mission safety determinations are deemed by the pilot-in charge. The pilot bears missions responsibility under FAA regulations, and the College bears responsibility for liability. While we want to support your work, we also need to be extremely mindful of safety and to preserve our equipment to continue to serve the community. 

What can we do with drones at St. Olaf?

We want to ensure that you can enhance your work with our aircraft, but at the same time, we have to play by some rules too. We will assist faculty and students with aerial imaging projects using our aircraft on the St Olaf college campus and in the immediate Northfield area. 

Aerial missions can include:

  • Aerial filmmaking
  • Visible-light orthophotography (aerial photography and mapping)
  • Still photography
  • Capture for 3D landscape models

Can we fly the drone off campus?

Missions outside the immediate Northfield area are possible, but will require discussion to manage the logistics and will likely require longer time frames. 

We will not fly aircraft in areas where we are likely to violate the privacy of students or property owners. In cases where there are privacy concerns off-campus, you will need to do due diligence to obtain permission of property owners before flying your mission. Instructional Technology staff can help identify landowners who might need to be contacted. 

We will not fly over large crowds of people. This includes sporting events and large gatherings. 

We will obey all FAA Part 107 regulations, including airspace rules. We are able to operate within 5 nautical miles of airports without ATC permission, but we must obey all airspace rules. We will not operate within 5 miles of MSP.

Can I use the drone for non-academic use?

We will give precedence to academic uses of the aircraft: classes, coursework, and academic research.

For projects outside of course, please fill out a Drone Request. All drone projects are approved on a case by case basis.

I am a drone pilot - can I reserve the drone?

We will not loan our drone aircraft for any reason, even if you are a Part 107 pilot.

What can we not do with the drone?

By nature of the rules we operate under, there are things we simply can’t do. We’re offering them up here not to be proscriptive, but so you can craft appropriate requests for services. 

Other issues lie with the FAA regulations we operate under:

  • We will not fly out of visual range of the remote pilot
  • We may sometimes use a spotter but that does not invalidate the need for the pilot to maintain visual line-of-sight on the aircraft at all times.
  • We will not fly in excess of 400 feet above ground level, except where expressly permitted by FAA regulations
  • We will not fly at night.
  • We will not fly in adverse weather conditions: precipitation of any kind, winds > 22mph or 10m/s

In scenarios of adverse weather, Instructional Technology will reach out to schedule the mission for a different date.


Article ID: 113700
Wed 8/12/20 3:23 PM
Wed 8/12/20 3:31 PM