iTech Drone Services

Instructional Technology offers aerial imaging services to the St Olaf community with a pair of DJI unmanned aircraft. We have an 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.


DJI Inspire 2 Front View
DJI Inspire 2 Front View
Phantom 2
Phantom 2
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Our primary aerial platform is a DJI Inspire 2

  • Carries the X4S camera (4K 60fps 1″-CMOS 20MP camera with 11.6 stops).
  • Has a second front-mounted camera for flight operations.
  • ~27 minute flight time.
  • 58mph max speed.
  • Two independent remote controllers (one flight control, one gimbal control for main camera).
  • Capable of autonomous flight missions.

We also maintain a DJI Phantom 2 with a GoPro 4 Black flat-lens camera.

  • Carries a modified GoPro 4 Black with flat 5.5mm lens (12MP 3840×2160 30fps, no wide-angle distortion)
  • ~25 minute flight time.
  • ~30mph max speed.
  • Single controller with separate camera monitor.
  • Not capable of autonomous flight missions.



We’ll want to know:

  • Your name.
  • The class or project you’re working with.
  • The faculty member you’re working with.
  • The date you’d like to fly your mission, plus an alternate date for inclement weather.
  • The nature of your project, roughly.

Requests should provide at least two weeks notice. This is to ensure sufficient planning time for the mission. We want your project to be successful.

We reserve the right to refuse short-notice missions, or those that cannot be executed safely in the opinion of the pilot-in-charge. We also reserve the right to refuse or reschedule missions to maintain workloads on the aircraft and personnel. Please be aware that it is not possible for you to fly our equipment yourself, even if you have a FAA Part 107 Certificate. You’ll be working with an FAA Part 107 certificated member of the Instructional Technology staff who will handle the piloting.

Once you submit your request, we’ll work with you to craft the mission needed to collect the images or video you need for your project. The Inspire 2 will even allow you to control the main camera while the pilot supervises the flight. We’ll also be in touch with faculty to ensure that this use also is compatible with the course you’re participating in. Instructional Technology will provide you with the raw footage or images from your mission; you will be responsible for editing your own material (though we can provide facilities for you to do it in the DiSCO).


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

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

We will obey all FAA Part 107 regulations, including airspace rulesWe 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.

Finally, we’ll give precedence to academic uses of the aircraft: meaning for classes, coursework, and academic research


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. 

We will not fly missions likely to endanger safety or property. 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. 

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 any scenario of adverse weather, we will contact you to reschedule the mission for a later date.

All mission safety determinations are deemed by the pilot-in-charge, not the client. The pilot bears mission 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. We are generally not able to support non-academic missions.

Please note: we will not loan our aircraft for any reason, even if you are a Part 107 pilot.