Penn State Applies to the FAA for a Drone License

(UPDATE 4:24 p.m.) – A Penn State spokesperson told The Daily Collegian that the drone application, sent by the Aerospace Engineering Department for research, was denied.

The United States military has used drones in its War on Terror for many years. Unmanned aircraft have safely allowed our forces to gather intelligence and take out insurgents.

But could a drone be responsible for your next underage? Could someone monitor every move you make at the Arboretum? Is Penn State heading for a Watchmen-esque, dystopian future?


Penn State is among 81 public institutions that have applied to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a drone license, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF cannot determine when the University petitioned the FAA for a Drone Certificate of Authorization, but it estimates that it occurred sometime between July 2011 and October 2012. The FAA did not mention why Penn State would like to own a drone, although it’s safe to assume the University doesn’t want to drop bombs on us. They’d have to report that under the Clery Act, amirite?

Penn State has not responded to an email sent Friday afternoon seeking comment.

Meanwhile, enjoy Happy Valley’s new Orwellian future with the Alan Parsons Project, and their 1984-inspired hit, “Eye in the Sky.”

About the Author

Doug Dooling, Jr.

I am a staff writer for Onward State. I graduated as a Nittany Lion with Honors in 2013. Now, I am back in Happy Valley to earn a degree at the Penn State Law. Outside of politics and government, my interests include college football, soccer, Irish history, and astronomy.


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