Nowadays, flying a drone is not as simple as taking your drone outside and operating it whenever and wherever. There are laws that regulate the flying of these machines, and this is especially true in the state of Nevada.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created and enforced rules and regulations that all drone fliers in the country are obligated to follow for safe and legal flying. In addition to the laws set by the FAA, each state also has its own set of laws regarding the flying of drones in their area. In this post, we’re going to talk about the drone laws in Nevada.
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Well-Known Drone Rules in Nevada
As a drone operator, you can’t do any flying in any of its national parks, although you can still fly your drone around their perimeters. However, you need to exercise some caution and make sure you are definitely outside of the park’s perimeters at all times. Otherwise, you can get into trouble with the law if they find you inside the park even if you thought you weren’t. You are allowed to fly your drone at the Red Rock Canyon, a popular spot for many locals and tourists. However, you cannot land or launch your drone in the canyon’s Wilderness Area, especially the La Madre and the Rainbow Mountain areas. The Las Vegas Soaring Club also offers flying space, and you’ll find many drone users using this spot. If you’re a bit of a nature enthusiast, you can head to Lake Tahoe and Zephyr Cove; both are quiet, serene spots where you can get clear footage of some beautiful scenery. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can take a boat and paddle to the middle of the lake and launch your drone from there.
The Registration Process
All owners of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are obligated to strictly follow rules and regulations. The first law you need to follow is to register your drone. To do so, you will need to provide your name, physical address, and email address. You will then be handed a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. This certificate proves that you are the owner of your drone, and it also provides your aircraft with its specific identification number, which will be valid up to a maximum of three years. The law also requires that you should have this number clearly displayed on your drone at all times.
Also, any aircraft that weighs from a minimum of 250 grams up to a maximum of 25 kilograms is also required by law to be registered with the FAA. The indicated weight includes any payloads like a camera or a GPS tracker. There is also an age requirement as to who can register their drones: anyone over the age of thirteen years old who owns a drone should register their equipment. Finally, all new drones, whether they are bought or assembled from scratch, should be registered before their initial flight.
Laws on Flying Near Airports
For many years, it has been the general practice of drone owners in the country to not fly within a five-mile radius of any airport. In 2012, the FAA modified the law through the Modernization and Reauthorization Act, which requires hobbyist drone owners to contact the specific airport management or air traffic control if they are going to fly within a five-mile radius of an airport. Upon contacting the personnel in question, you will need to answer a few questions in relation to your planned flight, such as how long you are going to fly your drone for. This law is enacted mainly to make sure that drone operations all meet safe conditions before they are approved to be launched.
Nevada’s Unique Drone Laws
Nevada itself has a few drone laws that are specific to the state and not necessarily applied nationwide. These are the following:
AB 11 – Committee on Transportation – Critical Facilities
This law prohibits drone owners from flying or operating their UAVs within 500 feet (horizontal distance) and 250 feet (vertical distance) of any critical facility without written permission from the owner of the said facility. A critical facility can be any of the following: a chemical manufacturing facility, a power generating station, a mine, a plant, a petroleum refinery, a wastewater treatment facility, and any other similar structures.
AB 239 – Range of Drone Regulations
This is an act that aims to regulate the operations of UAVs within the state. It revises the legal definition of aircraft to include UAVs for the sole purpose of regulating the operation of such equipment in the state. Section 18 of the act disallows any person from using the drone as a weapon or as a means of causing harm or injury to other people.
Section 19 allows any person who is the lawful owner of any property to sue a drone operator for trespassing if he flies his UAV in the former’s said property. Section 20 is for law enforcement agencies, and it specifically states that they are prohibited from using drones to gather evidence or information without first obtaining a warrant or if there are exigent circumstances. Section 24 prohibits any person from operating a UAV if he is in a state of intoxication in a way that he can possibly cause harm to the lives or properties of other people.
SB 234 – Drone Seizure
This is an act that allows law enforcement agencies to seize and store UAVs that have crashed or been abandoned or which they believe to have been used in the commission of a crime, even without a warrant. It also allows them to examine the data or recordings stored in the device in the process of an investigation. It also allows for the proper storage of the UAVs, with the corresponding records being kept.
When operating a drone, it is a must that you acquaint yourself first with your region’s specific laws and regulations regarding its use. Whatever your reason might be for flying a drone, whether for recreational or professional reasons, you want to ensure that you are not breaking any laws.