Drone Laws in Arizona

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

Arizona Senate Drone Bill 1449

Updated February 19, 2022

UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Arizona

Drone operation in the State of Arizona is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.

In addition, the Arizona legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Arizona drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the links above.

Are drones allowed in Arizona?

Drones are allowed in Arizona for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.

Specific additional drone use laws by Arizona State legislature

Senate Bill SB 1449

Arizona’s law uses the terms ​model aircraft​, ​civil unmanned aircraft​, and ​public unmanned aircraft​ to describe drones as used for different purposes.

Model aircraft​: an unmanned aircraft that is “capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and flown for hobby or recreational purposes.” (​Hobby​)

Civil unmanned aircraft​: “an unmanned aircraft or unmanned
aircraft system that is operated by a person for any purpose other than strictly for hobby or recreational purposes, including commercial purposes, or in the furtherance of or incidental to any business or media service or agency.” (​Commercial​)

Public unmanned aircraft​: an unmanned aircraft “operated by
a public agency for a government-related purpose.” (​Government/Law Enforcement​)

Unmanned aircraft​: “an aircraft, including an aircraft commonly known as a drone, that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.”

“​Critical facility​” means any of the following:

  1. A petroleum or alumina refinery.
  2. A petroleum, chemical or rubber production, transportation, storage or processingfacility.
  3. A chemical manufacturing facility.
  4. A water or wastewater treatment facility and water development, distribution orconveyance system, including a dam.
  5. An electric generation facility, as defined in section 42-14156, and any associatedsubstation or switchyard.
  6. An electrical transmission or distribution substation.
  7. An electrical transmission line of at least sixty-nine thousand volts.
  8. An electronic communication station or tower.
  9. An energy control center.
  10. A distribution operating center.
  11. A facility that transfers or distributes natural gas, including a compressor station,regulator station, city gate station or pressure limiting station or a liquefied natural gasfacility or supplier tap facility.
  12. Any railroad infrastructure or facility.
  13. A federal, state, county or municipal court.
  14. A public safety or emergency operation facility.
  15. A federal, state, county or municipal jail or prison or other facility in which persons areincarcerated.
  16. A federal or state military installation or facility.
  17. A hospital that receives air ambulance services.

13-3729.​ – ​Unlawful operation of model or unmanned aircraft; state preemption; classification; definitions
The operation of a model aircraft or civil unmanned aircraft is a class 1 misdemeanor if it is:

1. prohibited by federal law or regulation, including FAA regulations
2. Interferes with the operation of law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency services.

Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor offense and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and a $2,500 fine plus surcharges.

The operation or use of an unmanned aircraft to photograph or linger over or near a critical facility in the furtherance of a crime is a class 6 felony, except that a second or subsequent violation is a class 5 felony.

Class 6 felonies are punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

28-8280​.​ – ​Careless or reckless aircraft operation; violation; classification; definitions

A person who operates an aircraft (model aircraft and civil unmanned aircraft) in the air, on the ground, or on the water in a careless or reckless manner that endangers the life or property of another is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

In determining whether the operation was careless or reckless, the court shall consider the standards for the safe operation of aircraft prescribed by federal statutes or regulations governing aeronautics.

Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Arizona

Maricopa County | R-116 Aircraft & Engine-Powered Models (2016)

This county ordinance states that all UAV pilots must not operate their crafts in a manner that has the potential to create a hazard to the general public.

The ordinance also bans drones and model aircraft from operating in county-owned regional parks or recreational areas. The only exceptions are those spaces designated for UAVs. Drone pilots can learn more about designated RC Fields from the Phoenix Drone User Group.

The city of Phoenix | City Code Section 24-49 // 2016

This law bans all drones and other UAS/UAV operations within Phoenix city parks and preserves owned and managed by the city. There are eight exceptions for parks specifically designated for drone/model radio-controlled aircraft.

The eight drone-friendly Phoenix city parks currently include:

  1. Coyote Basin
  2. Desert Foothills Park (Lower Field)
  3. Dynamite Park
  4. El Prado Park
  5. Esteban Park (East Quadrant)
  6. Grovers Basin
  7. Mountain View II Park (South of Ballfield)
  8. Werner’s Field

All unmanned aircraft pilots must adhere to Phoenix City Code, section 24-49, and federal regulations at all times.

Town of Prescott Valley | Municipal Ordinance (2018)

This city ordinance outlines official drone uses and permitted operations by city employees. That includes search and rescue, emergency management, law enforcement, and effective capital project management.

Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Arizona

Many cities or towns within the state of Arizona may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.

Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Arizona

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Arizona are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment). 
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
  8. Have a current registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you. For recreational flyers, the FAA does not require you to register or mark a drone which weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
  9. Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
    • Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
    • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.

Recreational drone pilots should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.

It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.

Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Arizona

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Commercial drone operations in Arizona are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:

Step 1: Learn the Rules

  1. Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
  2. Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
    • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
    • Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
    • Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
    • Visual observer (§ 107.33)
    • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
    • Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
    • Operation over people (§ 107.39)
    • Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
    • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51) 
    • *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
    • If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
  3. Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.

Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test

  1. To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
    • At least 16 years old
    • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
    • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
  2. Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
  3. Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
  4. Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
  5. Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
  6. Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
  7. You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot

Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA

  • Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
  • Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.

Useful published information on flying drones in Arizona

We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Arizona Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.

Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.

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The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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6 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Arizona”

  1. Drone used in saddle Brook neighborhood 4/6/22 for real estate purposes. Flew at least a 2 block area adjacent to private backyards and homes. Operator did not respond with name, company or purpose when a concerned homeowner asked what was being done. Is this legal? How do homeowners confirm this was a licenced commercial operator? Are licensed operators required to inform public. Is consent required when flying through a private community?

  2. Why was a drone flying over my home 10117 W Burns Dr. SUN City on 2/25/2022 between :3:30 4:30 and the person parked near our home operating the drone isn’t illegal to fly over properties invasion of privacy?

  3. I don’t understand why recreational drones are not allowed to launch in Maricopa County Parks or Phoenix South Mountain Preserve. Why not have NO DRONES signs in ramada areas and let the rest of the park open for recreational drone use?Most of us adhere to FAA rules about not flying over people and vehicles and should not be punished for the actions of a few.

    • Mike, we recommend raising your concerns with the regulators. They will only change if they receive objections from enough concerned drone operators. Best wishes


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