If you’re a drone operator and you live in Arizona or are planning to visit Arizona, then you need to know about the different federal and state laws that regulate drone use and operations within the state. You don’t want to be put in a position where you’ll get suddenly arrested by law enforcement officers for violating a rule you were not aware of. While ignorance of the law excuses no one, it’s best to be aware of the regulations so you don’t suddenly end up in jail for something was perfectly okay to do but was really illegal instead.
Drone Laws in Arizona
Federal Drone Laws That Apply to Arizona
There are certain federal laws that regulate drone use and that apply to every state in the United States, and they still apply to Arizona:
Scroll down for the video
1. If you want to operate a drone as a commercial pilot, whether it’s for work or business reasons, you are required by law to follow the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule. One of the stipulations of the said rule states that you must pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test in order to be given a remote pilot certificate and be able to work as one.
2. If you want to operate a drone as more of a hobby or pastime, there’s no need for a certification but you must register your drone with the FAA and follow their Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
3. If you’re a government or state employee and you want to fly a drone within the region, whether it’s as a member of the police or fire department, you are allowed to operate it under the FAA’s Part 107 Rule. An alternative is to get a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).
State Drone Laws That Are Particular to Arizona
Aside from the above federal drone laws, the Arizona State Legislature has also come up with certain laws that apply to the entire region. At present, it has one state-wide law and several local laws that only apply to certain counties, towns, or cities.
SB 1449 – 2016
This statewide law makes a set of regulations concerning the operation of drones in Arizona:
• UAS are forbidden from interfering with official police and firefighter activity as well as any government-manned aircraft.
• Anyone operating a drone near any person or property at a distance that is of dangerous proximity will be charged with a violation for disorderly conduct.
• UAS are not allowed within 500 feet horizontally and 250 feet vertically of any facility that’s considered to be critical. Examples of such facilities are power plants, oil and gas facilities, courthouses, hospitals, water treatment facilities, and the like.
The following are the local drone laws that are applicable to certain counties, towns, cities, and regions in the state of Arizona:
• Municipal Ordinance, 2018 – Prescott Valley Town
This ordinance stipulates the specific policy about drone use of city employees and highlights the diverse operations in which drones can be used, such as search and rescue, emergency management, law enforcement, and more.
• City Code Section 24-29, 2016 – Phoenix City
This ordinance disallows drones from either landing or taking off from within a natural reserve or park that are owned by the city, except those that have been categorized as parks for model aircraft and drone use.