Most people flock to Nevada for the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, but you’d be perfectly happy flying your drone elsewhere in Nevada. After all, this state has some truly stunning landmarks, from Lake Tahoe to the Hoover Dam.
What are the drone laws in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas has enforceable federal, state, and local drone laws. Federally, you must always follow Part 107 rules when flying. Statewide, drones cannot be weaponized, and locally, you cannot fly a UAV around Las Vegas parks.
There’s a lot more to it than that, of course.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of Nevada’s drone laws so you’re ready to fly!
Federal Drone Laws in Nevada
As is typical in this series, we’ll begin with Nevada’s federal drone laws. All states in the country have federal drone laws as mandated by the United States government.
The laws apply to commercial, recreational, and agency drone pilots in different ways. Let’s take a look.
Commercial Drone Pilots
Nevada federal drone laws require commercial drone pilots to always follow the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA’s Part 107 drone rules.
As part of those rules, if you intend to fly commercially, you must always carry your Remote Pilot Certificate.
This FAA-issued certificate for commercial drone pilots requires passing the Part 107 exam.
» MORE: FAA Part 107 for Commercial Drone Pilots
The exam is a 60-question, multiple-choice format, two-and-a-half-hour test that covers the entirety of the FAA’s Part 107 rules.
You can register to take the Part 107 exam at an FAA testing center for a fee. You’ll need a score of 70 percent or higher to pass.
To ensure you have a higher chance of passing the first time around–after all, it costs more money for a retake–we recommend checking out this resource on our site. It’s chock full of online drone schools to consider.
» MORE: Best Drone Courses Taught by Experts
The parameters for recertifying your Remote Pilot Certificate have changed, as we wrote about below.
» MORE: Renewal of Your Part 107 Certificate – 5 Steps to a Part 107 sUAS Recurrent Certificate
Whereas once, you had to take the Part 107 exam again every two years to stay current on your Remote Pilot Certificate, that’s no longer the requirement.
Now you can take a 45-question, multiple-choice test with 90 minutes allotted to you. You must earn a perfect score of 100 percent, but the questions are all correctable while taking the test.
Before you take to the skies, make sure your drone is registered with the FAA as well. It costs $5 to register a drone for three years.
Recreational Drone Pilots
Hobbyists are subject to Nevada federal drone laws as well.
As is the case for commercial drone pilots, all recreational pilots must follow Part 107 rules. That’s true whether you’re flying your UAV in your backyard, at a local park, or anywhere.
You’re also required to take an exam through the FAA. It’s called The Recreational UAS Safety Test or TRUST.
The TRUST test is nowhere near as stressful or as costly as the Part 107 exam.
For starters, the test is free. Second, like the FAA’s recertifying exam for commercial pilots, the TRUST test allows you to correct any wrong answers while you’re taking the test.
You don’t need a perfect score on the TRUST exam, but you can certainly earn one if you wanted to.
Once you take the test, you’re issued your TRUST certificate by the FAA. This certificate never expires.
Whether you have to register your drone with the FAA as a recreational drone pilot depends on how much it weighs. If it’s 0.55 pounds or under, then the FAA does not require you to register the drone.
All drones over 0.55 pounds must be registered with the FAA. You’ll pay $5 as a hobbyist for registration, and the registration is still good for three years.
Agency Drone Pilots
Fire departments, police officers, and other government employees who fly a drone on occasion or more regularly are agency drone pilots.
This group should follow Part 107 rules or have a Certificate of Authorization or COA through the FAA.
State Drone Laws in Nevada
Next, let’s delve into Nevada’s state drone laws, of which there is only one.
AB 239 // 2015
The law is known as AB 239, and it was passed in 2015.
In Section 18.1., the law declares that “A person shall not weaponize an unmanned aerial vehicle or operate a weaponized unmanned aerial vehicle.”
If you’re found owning a weaponized drone, then the crime is classed as a Category D felony. In Nevada, that felony is punishable by one to four years in state prison.
If you discharge your weaponized drone, then AB 239 states that that crime is a Category C felony. Those are even more serious crimes that can lead to a state prison sentence between one and five years.
In Section 18.5., the law says:
“A person shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within:
- A horizontal distance of 500 feet or a vertical distance of 250 feet from a critical facility without the written consent of the owner of the critical facility.
- Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, 5 miles of an airport.
2. A person may operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within 5 miles of an airport only if the person obtains the consent of the airport authority or the operator of the airport, or if the person has otherwise obtained a waiver, exemption or other authorization for such operation pursuant to any rule or regulation of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
If you’re found breaking any of the above rules, the crime is punishable as a misdemeanor.
In Section 19, if you fly a drone below 250 feet over a property, the property owner can “bring an action for trespass against” you if you have:
- Already flown a drone in the area at a height of less than 250 feet
- You were told by the owner that they didn’t authorize your drone flight
In Section 20 of AB 239, the law reads that, “Except as otherwise provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be deemed to otherwise prohibit the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle by a law enforcement agency for any lawful purpose in this State.”
However, in Section 20.2, the law goes on to say that law enforcement cannot use a UAV “for the purpose of gathering evidence or other information within the curtilage. Of a residence or at any other location or upon any property in this State at which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” without a warrant from a court.
The only situations in which a warrant isn’t needed are as follows:
- “If the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime”
- For search and rescue operations for someone or a “property in distress”
- If there is an imminent threat to life
Local Drone Laws in Nevada
Finally, let’s explore Nevada’s local drone laws.
Las Vegas City Parks – Municipal Ordinance // 2010
Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas has some stringent drone flight laws in its 2010 municipal ordinance.
You cannot fly your drone in even a parking lot at a park that’s considered property of the city. It’s not only UAVs that are banned, by the way, but all aircraft.
Here’s the full law in Chapter 13.58 – Aircraft Launching and Landing: “Except as otherwise provided in Section 13.58.030, it is unlawful for any person to cause or permit any aircraft to be launched or land upon the following areas within the City:
- Any public street, highway or other public right-of-way;
- Any parking lot which is provided for the use to the public.”
There are three exceptions to the rule. Aircraft that belongs to government entities, aircraft that has permission from the City Council, or aircraft that must make an emergency landing or launch “in order to protect life or property” can use Las Vegas parks for temporary drone flight.
Nevada Drone Law FAQs
Are you still looking for information on drone laws in Nevada? We’ve got the answers you need in this section.
Can You Fly a Drone in a Public Park in Nevada?
Outside of Las Vegas’ strict drone laws, we weren’t able to find any other public park policies, laws, or ordinances throughout Nevada.
That said, you should always check in with a parks and rec association nearest you before you fly.
Can You Fly a Drone in a State Park in Nevada?
Nevada is beloved for its wealth of state parks, among them Ice Age Fossils State Park, Cathedral Gorge State Park, Van Sickle State Park, Beaver Dam State Park, and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park.
What is the rule for flying your drone here?
According to the Nevada State Parks website, “Use of drones is prohibited in Nevada State Parks unless in an area designated for that use by a park supervisor or by issuance of a special use permit for use of an unmanned aircraft.”
Should you be granted permission to fly, you must still follow Part 107 rules!
Nevada is a state brimming with gorgeous sights far beyond Las Vegas. Drones are banned in state parks and some public parks, and you cannot weaponize a drone either.
When you fly your UAV, always follow Part 107 rules. Have fun and be safe out there!
FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Prep
Peltier has quite the experience, making him qualified to teach about photography and drones in separate courses. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force as an F-15E flight instructor for a decade.
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AB 239 (link)
Las Vegas Municode Library (link)
Nevada State Parks (link)