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 January 10, 2023


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 help keep the airspace available to everyone.

The law requires that all recreational flyers pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and provide proof of passage if asked by law enforcement or FAA personnel. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) was developed to meet this requirement. 

TRUST provides education and testing on important safety and regulatory information. If you fly your drone recreationally under the Exception for Recreational Flyers, you must pass the test before you fly. 

Note: If your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (lbs), you must register your drone through the FAA‘s Drone Zone.

To fly your drone as a recreational flyer, it’s as easy as 1-2-3

  1. Understand recreational flying requirements
    • Note: Non-recreational drone flying include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school’s website. Goodwill can also be considered non-recreational. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Remember, if you’re not sure which rules apply to your flight, fly under Part 107 (See below).
  2. Take TRUST
    • You may take the free online test through any of the FAA approved test administrators.
    • All FAA-approved TRUST test administrators offer the test free.
    • All test questions are correctable to 100% prior to issuing your completion certificate.
    • After completing TRUST, you’ll need to download, save or print your completion certificate.
    • If you lose your certificate, you will need to re-take TRUST.
    • View a list of TRUST Test Administrators
  3. Receive your certificate
    • After you pass the test, you will receive a certificate from the test administrator you selected.
    • Test administrators will not keep a record of your certificate. You must present a copy of your certificate if asked by law enforcement officers.

General Rules for Recreational Flyers

The Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules helps keep people, your drone and our airspace safe:

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (personal enjoyment).
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO).
    For more information on how to become an FAA-recognized CBO, read Advisory Circular 91-57C.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with other aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below FAA-authorized altitudes in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface Class E designated for an airport) only with prior FAA authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
    Note: Flying drones in restricted airspace is not allowed. Drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions prior to flight on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage when flying.
  8. Have a current FAA registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you when flying.
    Note: Beginning September 16, 2023, if your drone requires an FAA registration number it will be also required to broadcast Remote IDinformation.
  9. Do not operate your drone in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.

Recreational drone pilots should know that if they violate 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:

The Operations Over People rule became effective on April 21, 2021. Drone pilots operating under Part 107 may fly at night, over people and moving vehicles without a waiver as long as they meet the requirements defined in the rule. Airspace authorizations are still required for night operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet.

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules.

If you are not sure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation check our user identification tool.

Some operations will require a waiver. Here are the regulations specified in §107.205 that are subject to waiver:

Learn more about Part 107 Waivers.

Drone operators should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that drone operators must avoid manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.

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

To be eligible to get your 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

Study for the Knowledge Test

Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

Schedule an Appointment

Complete FAA Form 8710-13

Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA

Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy in order to register. Learn more about registering your drone.

  • Create an account and register your drone at FAADroneZone. Select “Fly sUAS under Part 107.”
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number in case 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, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


Traveling with a Drone?

Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone.



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IMPORTANT NOTE

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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16 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Arizona”

  1. I own an RV park and the Operator of the local Sanitary District flew a drone over my park with a picture of the park. I am guessing he wants to document the number of RV’s in the park??? He certainly didn’t ask my permission.

    Reply
    • Bill, what you are describing is not specifically prohibited in Arizona unless the drone was operated unsafely.

      Reply
  2. Our neighbor is a retired air force pilot and we heard, for the first time, a drone flying over our house in Pima County. Our daughter heard it and said it sounded like a tornado over our home because of the force of the sound. I don’t know what is going on but would like to know the laws in Pima County concerning the operating of drones over private property. My husband heard the neighbors talking over by their house and we are sure it was them but have no idea what or why they were flying over our home. We felt violated and that event has caused us to wonder if this was legal for them to trespass over our private property above our home. They have 3-1/2 acres to fly over their own property so there was no reason for them to be upsetting our peace this way.

    Reply
    • Drones can be operated legally over your property if the operator follows FAA and state regulations. If you think they are violating your privacy, or operating the drone dangerously you should contact you local alw enforcement.

      Reply
  3. I have been to the FAA in Scottsdale and they agree the drones that are shooting infrasonic sounds through my walls are illegal. For the last 8 months several of people have been flying illegal drones. I told the police several of times and I have been threaten to move or I will be dead with forced sound through my walls. I have a log of 300 drones 7/26/2022. They have been shooting sound through my walls since. Nov 2021. I have calculated 9,312 hits of sound through my house. My ADT calculated 100 hits in one day. The drones are sent by people I know and they will not stop the drones until I move. My dog was hit with beams and almost died from the stress. They are living at the San Riva, apt’s, Phoenix, AZ 85048. They are doc at 400 ft with the police. They are listed as recreational drones. They are not the sound that is forced in my house forced a fan to fly off my table and land 4 ft away. I couldn’t believe it. New Help with illegal equipped drones with harsh cruel sounds forced into my walls. I was called up and asked if I was hearing the trickling sound running down my walls and as they following to Mike’s house in Chandler. Yes. and she hung up the telephone.

    Reply
  4. Hola mi comentario es mi vecina una mañana voló su dron hasta dentro de mi patio y no me di cuenta hasta y se le calló en mi patio y después me lo pidió yo pensé que estaba volando alto y yo tengo cámara de seguridad y las revisé y ella lo mandó directo a mi patio es ilegal eso no se cuantas veces más lo a hecho que debo hacer?

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply
  6. 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?

    Reply
    • Dolores,
      That would make any airplane flying over your house an “invasion of privacy”. If they parked near your home to operate a drone it was probably a real estate photographer taking photos of a home for sale. If that concerns you, the county takes aerial high-resolution photographs of the entire area every year. Go to https://maps.mcassessor.maricopa.gov. Search by your property parcel tax number and select a base map. You might be shocked.

      Reply
    • I have the same problem here. And have been followed around to and from the store even to work and back home.i even have video of it .I’ve even used an app called Bluetooth finder and Bluetooth radar.i have Bluetooth signals all over the place where I live in Tucson ,Az that shouldn’t be there at all. several drones buz my home all night long with bird noises coming from them all night long threw my walls. I have to say. I know who is behind it. but can’t prove a thing .I can’t catch a drone or shoot one down to find out who is at the other end flying the thing around my house all night. this has been going on Sence 2020/11/1 and still goes on to this day even now 2022/23/9.law inforcement just say im crazy and are just making it up then my 1 yr old dog Bella marie must be crazy to when she barks at the noises and follows the noises threw out the house to.i have video of it to prove it and law inforcement just won’t even look at any of the video at all .they just tell me to go down town and file an injunction for harassment how can I file that if I can’t even find out who the person is that’s flying it.something got missed when making laws for these things .people need to speak up if this has happened to you .the thing it’s self should be called a weapon that is brandish against a person when flying over there private property . And used to spy or harass individuals of that nature .so we’re do we go to stop this .Drones are the worst thing put into the public hands Sence the invention of gun powder.

      Reply
      • Shooting at a drone would be a FEDERAL FELONY

        And legally speaking, no different than shooting at a commercial airliner with PEOPLE IN IT

        Just so you know!

        Reply
  7. 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.

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

      Reply

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