[Rev. 5/24/2016 4:03:43 PM--2015]

TITLE 44 - AERONAUTICS

CHAPTER 493 - GENERAL PROVISIONS

UNIFORM LAW

NRS 493.010           Short title.

NRS 493.020           Definitions.

NRS 493.030           Sovereignty in space.

NRS 493.040           Ownership of space.

NRS 493.050           Lawfulness of flight and landing; liability for forced landing.

NRS 493.060           Liability for damages on land or water; lien for damages.

NRS 493.070           Liability for collision of aircraft.

NRS 493.080           Jurisdiction over crimes and torts.

NRS 493.090           Jurisdiction over contracts.

NRS 493.100           Dangerous flying: Penalty.

NRS 493.103           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Action for trespass against owner or operator; exceptions; award of treble damages for injury to person or property; award of attorney’s fees and costs and injunctive relief.

NRS 493.106           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Weaponization prohibited; penalties.

NRS 493.109           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation near critical facility or within 5 miles of airport prohibited; exceptions; penalty.

NRS 493.112           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation by law enforcement agency; warrant required under certain circumstances; information acquired in violation of section inadmissible and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

NRS 493.115           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation by public agency; requirements; prohibited uses; information acquired in violation of section inadmissible and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

NRS 493.118           Unmanned aerial vehicles: Department of Public Safety required to establish and maintain registry of such vehicles operated by public agencies; public agencies required to submit certain information for inclusion in registry; annual reports to Legislature; regulations.

NRS 493.120           Uniformity of interpretation.

REGULATION

NRS 493.130           Operation of aircraft while under influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substance or in reckless manner: Penalty; exception.

NRS 493.140           Standards for determining whether operation is careless or reckless.

NRS 493.150           United States certificate, permit or license required for operation of civil aircraft within State.

NRS 493.160           Licensing of airmen and operators.

NRS 493.170           Licensing of aeronautics instructors.

NRS 493.180           Posting and inspection of license of airman and aircraft.

NRS 493.190           Powers and duties of state and municipal officers.

NRS 493.200           Penalty.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

NRS 493.210           Aerial navigational chart: Contents; fee; use of receipts.

_________

UNIFORM LAW

      NRS 493.010  Short title.  NRS 493.010 to 493.120, inclusive, may be cited as the Uniform State Law for Aeronautics.

      [12:66:1923; NCL § 286] — (NRS A 2015, 1777)

      NRS 493.020  Definitions.  As used in NRS 493.010 to 493.120, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires:

      1.  “Aircraft” includes a balloon, airplane, hydroplane, unmanned aerial vehicle and any other vehicle used for navigation through the air. A hydroplane, while at rest on water and while being operated on or immediately above water, is governed by the rules regarding water navigation. A hydroplane while being operated through the air other than immediately above water, is an aircraft.

      2.  “Critical facility” means a petroleum refinery, a petroleum or chemical production, transportation, storage or processing facility, a chemical manufacturing facility, a pipeline and any appurtenance thereto, a wastewater treatment facility, a water treatment facility, a mine as that term is defined in NRS 512.006, a power generating station, plant or substation and any appurtenances thereto, any transmission line that is owned in whole or in part by an electric utility as that term is defined in subsection 5 of NRS 704.187, a county, city or town jail or detention facility and any prison, facility or institution under the control of the Department of Corrections. The term does not include any facility or infrastructure of a utility that is located underground.

      3.  “Department” means the Department of Public Safety.

      4.  “Law enforcement agency” means an agency, office, bureau, board, commission, department or division of this State or a political subdivision of this State, the primary duty of which is to enforce the law.

      5.  “Operator” includes aviator, pilot, balloonist and any other person having any part in the operation of aircraft while in flight.

      6.  “Passenger” includes any person riding in an aircraft, but having no part in its operation.

      7.  “Public agency” means an agency, office, bureau, board, commission, department or division of this State or a political subdivision of this State other than a law enforcement agency.

      8.  “Unmanned aerial vehicle” means a powered aircraft of any size without a human operator aboard the vehicle and that is operated remotely or autonomously.

      [1:66:1923; NCL § 275] — (NRS A 1991, 252; 2015, 1777)

      NRS 493.030  Sovereignty in space.  Sovereignty in the space above the lands and waters of this state is declared to rest in the State, except where granted to and assumed by the United States pursuant to a constitutional grant from the people of the State.

      [2:66:1923; NCL § 276]

      NRS 493.040  Ownership of space.  The ownership of the space above the lands and waters of this state is declared to be vested in the several owners of the surface beneath, subject to the right of flight described in NRS 493.050.

      [3:66:1923; NCL § 277]

      NRS 493.050  Lawfulness of flight and landing; liability for forced landing.

      1.  Flight of an aircraft over the lands and waters of this state is lawful:

      (a) Unless at such a low altitude as to interfere with the then existing use to which the land or water, or the space over the land or water, is put by the owner.

      (b) Unless so conducted as to be imminently dangerous to persons or property lawfully on the land or water beneath.

      (c) Unless specifically prohibited by the provisions of NRS 493.010 to 493.120, inclusive, or any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

      2.  The landing of an aircraft on the lands or waters of another, without his or her consent, is unlawful, except in the case of a forced landing. For damages caused by a forced landing, the owner, lessee or operator of the aircraft is liable as provided in NRS 493.060.

      [4:66:1923; NCL § 278] — (NRS A 1991, 253; 2015, 1777)

      NRS 493.060  Liability for damages on land or water; lien for damages.

      1.  The owner of every aircraft which is operated over the lands or waters of this state is presumed liable for injuries to persons or property on the land or water beneath, caused by the:

      (a) Ascent, descent or flight of the aircraft; or

      (b) Dropping or falling of any object therefrom,

Ê unless the injury is caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the person injured, or of the owner or bailee of the property injured.

      2.  If the aircraft is leased at the time of the injury to person or property, both owner and lessee are presumed to be liable and they may be sued jointly, or either or both of them may be sued separately.

      3.  The presumption of liability of the owner, or of the owner and lessee, may be rebutted by proof that the injury was not caused by negligence of the owner or lessee, or of any person operating the aircraft with the permission of the owner, lessee or any person maintaining or repairing the aircraft with the permission of the owner or lessee.

      4.  An operator who is not the owner or lessee is liable only for the consequences of his or her own negligence.

      5.  The injured person, or the owner or bailee of the injured property, has a lien on the aircraft causing the injury to the extent of the damage caused by the aircraft or objects falling from it.

      6.  A chattel mortgagee, conditional vendor or trustee under an equipment trust, of any aircraft, not in possession of the aircraft is deemed not an owner within the provisions of this section.

      [5:66:1923; A 1947, 470; 1943 NCL § 279] — (NRS A 1991, 253)

      NRS 493.070  Liability for collision of aircraft.  The liability of the owner of one aircraft to the owner of another aircraft, or to operators or passengers in either aircraft, for damage caused by a collision on land or in the air, must be determined by the rules of law applicable to torts on land.

      [6:66:1923; NCL § 280] — (NRS A 1991, 253)

      NRS 493.080  Jurisdiction over crimes and torts.  All crimes, torts and other wrongs committed by or against an operator or passenger while in flight over this state are governed by the laws of this state. The question whether damage occasioned by or to an aircraft while in flight over this state constitutes a tort, crime or other wrong by or against the owner of the aircraft must be determined by the laws of this state.

      [7:66:1923; NCL § 281] — (NRS A 1991, 254)

      NRS 493.090  Jurisdiction over contracts.  All contractual and other legal relations entered into by operators or passengers while in flight over this state have the same effect as if entered into on the land or water beneath.

      [8:66:1923; NCL § 282] — (NRS A 1991, 254)

      NRS 493.100  Dangerous flying: Penalty.

      1.  Any operator or passenger, while an aircraft is in flight over a heavily populated area or over a public gathering within this state, who:

      (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, engages in trick or acrobatic flying, or in any acrobatic feat;

      (b) Except while in landing or taking off, flies at such a low level as to endanger the persons on the surface beneath; or

      (c) Drops any object with reckless disregard for the safety of other persons and willful indifference to injuries that could reasonably result from dropping the object,

Ê is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      2.  The provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection 1 do not apply to the operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle in a park unless the operator is operating the unmanned aerial vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of other persons and with willful indifference to injuries that could reasonably result from such operation.

      [9:66:1923; NCL § 283] — (NRS A 1967, 596; 1991, 254; 2015, 1778)

      NRS 493.103  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Action for trespass against owner or operator; exceptions; award of treble damages for injury to person or property; award of attorney’s fees and costs and injunctive relief.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a person who owns or lawfully occupies real property in this State may bring an action for trespass against the owner or operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle that is flown at a height of less than 250 feet over the property if:

      (a) The owner or operator of the unmanned aerial vehicle has flown the unmanned aerial vehicle over the property at a height of less than 250 feet on at least one previous occasion; and

      (b) The person who owns or occupies the real property notified the owner or operator of the unmanned aerial vehicle that the person did not authorize the flight of the unmanned aerial vehicle over the property at a height of less than 250 feet. For the purposes of this paragraph, a person may place the owner or operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle on notice in the manner prescribed in subsection 2 of NRS 207.200.

      2.  A person may not bring an action pursuant to subsection 1 if:

      (a) The unmanned aerial vehicle is lawfully in the flight path for landing at an airport, airfield or runway.

      (b) The unmanned aerial vehicle is in the process of taking off or landing.

      (c) The unmanned aerial vehicle was under the lawful operation of:

             (1) A law enforcement agency in accordance with NRS 493.112.

             (2) A public agency in accordance with NRS 493.115.

      (d) The unmanned aerial vehicle was under the lawful operation of a business registered in this State or a land surveyor if:

             (1) The operator is licensed or otherwise approved to operate the unmanned aerial vehicle by the Federal Aviation Administration;

             (2) The unmanned aerial vehicle is being operated within the scope of the lawful activities of the business or surveyor; and

             (3) The operation of the unmanned aerial vehicle does not unreasonably interfere with the existing use of the real property.

      3.  A plaintiff who prevails in an action for trespass brought pursuant to subsection 1 is entitled to recover treble damages for any injury to the person or the real property as the result of the trespass. In addition to the recovery of damages pursuant to this subsection, a plaintiff may be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and injunctive relief.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1774)

      NRS 493.106  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Weaponization prohibited; penalties.

      1.  A person shall not weaponize an unmanned aerial vehicle or operate a weaponized unmanned aerial vehicle. A person who violates this section is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

      2.  A person who weaponizes an unmanned aerial vehicle in violation of subsection 1 and who discharges the weapon is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1773)

      NRS 493.109  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation near critical facility or within 5 miles of airport prohibited; exceptions; penalty.

      1.  A person shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within:

      (a) 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.

      (b) 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. A person who is authorized to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within 5 miles of an airport pursuant to this subsection shall, at all times during such operation, maintain on his or her person documentation of any waiver, exemption, authorization or consent permitting such operation.

      3.  A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      4.  As used in this section, “airport” means any area of land or water owned, operated or maintained by or on behalf of a city, county, town, municipal corporation or airport authority that is designed and set aside for the landing and taking off of aircraft and that is utilized in the interest of the public for such purposes.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1773)

      NRS 493.112  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation by law enforcement agency; warrant required under certain circumstances; information acquired in violation of section inadmissible and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

      1.  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.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, a law enforcement agency shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle 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, unless the law enforcement agency first obtains a warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction authorizing the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle for that purpose. A warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle must specify the period for which operation of the unmanned aerial vehicle is authorized. A warrant must not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for a period of more than 10 days. Upon motion and a showing of probable cause, a court may renew a warrant after the expiration of the period for which the warrant was initially issued.

      3.  A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aerial vehicle without obtaining a warrant issued pursuant to subsection 2:

      (a) If the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime, and exigent circumstances exist that make it unreasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle.

      (b) If a person provides written consent to the law enforcement agency authorizing the law enforcement agency to acquire information about the person or the real or personal property of the person. The written consent must specify the information to be gathered and the time, place and manner in which the information is to be gathered by the law enforcement agency.

      (c) For the purpose of conducting search and rescue operations for persons and property in distress.

      (d) Under circumstances in which the law enforcement agency believes that an imminent threat exists to the life and safety of an individual person or to the public at large, including, without limitation, the threat of an act of terrorism. A law enforcement agency that operates an unmanned aerial vehicle pursuant to this paragraph shall document the factual basis for its belief that such an imminent threat exists and shall, not later than 2 business days after initiating operation, file a sworn statement with a court of competent jurisdiction describing the nature of the imminent threat and the need for the operation of the unmanned aerial vehicle.

      (e) Upon the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the Governor. A law enforcement agency that operates an unmanned aerial vehicle pursuant to this paragraph shall not use the unmanned aerial vehicle outside of the geographic area specified in the declaration or for any purpose other than the preservation of public safety, the protection of property, or the assessment and evaluation of environmental or weather-related damage, erosion or contamination.

      4.  Any photograph, image, recording or other information that is acquired by a law enforcement agency through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle in violation of this section, or that is acquired from any other person or governmental entity, including, without limitation, a public agency and any department or agency of the Federal Government, that obtained the photograph, image, recording or other information in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of this section, and any evidence that is derived therefrom:

      (a) Is not admissible in and must not be disclosed in a judicial, administrative or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

      (b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause as the basis for investigating or prosecuting a crime or offense.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1775)

      NRS 493.115  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation by public agency; requirements; prohibited uses; information acquired in violation of section inadmissible and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

      1.  A public agency:

      (a) May operate an unmanned aerial vehicle only if:

             (1) Before the operation of the unmanned aerial vehicle, the public agency registers the unmanned aerial vehicle with the Department pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS 493.118.

             (2) The public agency operates the unmanned aerial vehicle in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Department pursuant to subsection 4 of NRS 493.118.

      (b) Must not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle for the purposes of assisting a law enforcement agency with law enforcement or conducting a criminal prosecution.

      2.  Any photograph, image, recording or other information that is acquired by a public agency through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle in violation of this section, and any evidence that is derived therefrom:

      (a) Is not admissible in, and must not be disclosed in, a judicial, administrative or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

      (b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause as the basis for investigating or prosecuting a crime or offense.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1776)

      NRS 493.118  Unmanned aerial vehicles: Department of Public Safety required to establish and maintain registry of such vehicles operated by public agencies; public agencies required to submit certain information for inclusion in registry; annual reports to Legislature; regulations.

      1.  The Department shall, to the extent that money is available for this purpose, establish and maintain a registry of unmanned aerial vehicles that are operated by public agencies in this State. The Department shall include on its Internet website the information that is maintained in the registry.

      2.  A public agency shall, for each unmanned aerial vehicle the public agency intends to operate, submit to the Department, on a form provided by the Department, for inclusion in the registry:

      (a) The name of the public agency;

      (b) The name and contact information of each operator of the unmanned aerial vehicle;

      (c) Sufficient information to identify the unmanned aerial vehicle; and

      (d) A statement describing the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle by the public agency.

      3.  The Department shall, on or before February 1 of each year, prepare and submit to the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for submission to the Legislature, or to the Legislative Commission when the Legislature is not in regular session, a report outlining the activities of public agencies with respect to the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles in this State.

      4.  The Department shall adopt regulations prescribing the public purposes for which a public agency may operate an unmanned aerial vehicle that is registered with the Department pursuant to this section, including, without limitation:

      (a) The provision of fire services.

      (b) The provision of emergency medical services.

      (c) The protection of a critical facility that is public property.

      (d) Search and rescue operations conducted for persons and property in distress.

      (Added to NRS by 2015, 1776)

      NRS 493.120  Uniformity of interpretation.  NRS 493.010 to 493.120, inclusive, shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate their general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact them, and to harmonize, as far as possible, with federal laws and regulations on the subject of aeronautics. They shall not be interpreted or construed to apply in any manner to aircraft owned and operated by the Federal Government.

      [11:66:1923; NCL § 285] — (NRS A 2015, 1778)

REGULATION

      NRS 493.130  Operation of aircraft while under influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substance or in reckless manner: Penalty; exception.

      1.  Any person operating an aircraft in the air, or on the ground or water:

      (a) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance, unless in accordance with a lawfully issued prescription; or

      (b) In a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another,

Ê is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

      2.  As used in this section:

      (a) “Aircraft” includes an unmanned aerial vehicle as that term is defined in subsection 8 of NRS 493.020.

      (b) “Controlled substance” has the meaning ascribed to it in 21 U.S.C. § 802(6).

      (c) “Prescription” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 453.128.

      [1:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.1] — (NRS A 1967, 597; 1971, 2031; 1973, 8; 1987, 1554; 1993, 2237; 1995, 1723; 2015, 1778)

      NRS 493.140  Standards for determining whether operation is careless or reckless.  In any proceeding charging careless or reckless operation of aircraft in violation of NRS 493.130 to 493.200, inclusive, the court in determining whether the operation was careless or reckless shall consider the standards for safe operation of aircraft prescribed by federal statutes or regulations governing aeronautics.

      [2:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.2]

      NRS 493.150  United States certificate, permit or license required for operation of civil aircraft within State.  It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause or authorize to be operated any civil aircraft within this State unless such aircraft has an appropriate effective certificate, permit or license issued by the United States, if such certificate, permit or license is required by the United States.

      [3:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.3]

      NRS 493.160  Licensing of airmen and operators.  It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in aeronautics as an airman or operator in this state unless the person has an appropriate effective airman certificate, permit, rating or license issued by the United States authorizing him or her to engage in the particular class of aeronautics in which he or she is engaged, if such certificate, permit, rating or license is required by the United States.

      [4:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.4] — (NRS A 1991, 254)

      NRS 493.170  Licensing of aeronautics instructors.  It shall be unlawful for any aeronautics instructor to give instruction in flying unless such instructor has an appropriate effective instructor’s rating, certificate, permit or license as a flight instructor issued by the United States.

      [5:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.5]

      NRS 493.180  Posting and inspection of license of airman and aircraft.

      1.  Where a certificate, permit, rating or license is required for an airman by the United States, it shall:

      (a) Be kept in the airman’s personal possession when he or she is operating within the State.

      (b) Be presented for inspection upon the demand of any peace officer, or any other officer of this state or of a municipality, or any official, manager or person in charge of any airport upon which the airman shall land, or upon the reasonable request of any other person.

      2.  Where a certificate, permit or license is required by the United States for an aircraft, it shall:

      (a) Be carried in the aircraft at all times while the aircraft is operating in the State.

      (b) Be conspicuously posted in the aircraft where it may be readily seen by passengers or inspectors.

      (c) Be presented for inspection upon the demand of any peace officer, or any other officer of the State or of a municipality, or any official, manager or person in charge of any airport upon which the aircraft shall land, or upon the reasonable request of any person.

      [6:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.6] — (NRS A 1959, 64)

      NRS 493.190  Powers and duties of state and municipal officers.  Every state and municipal officer charged with the enforcement of state and municipal laws, shall enforce and assist in the enforcement of NRS 493.130 to 493.200, inclusive, and of all rules, regulations and orders issued pursuant thereto, and of all other laws of this state relating to aeronautics. In that connection, each of the aforesaid persons is authorized to inspect and examine at reasonable hours any premises, and the buildings and other structures thereon, where airports, air navigation facilities, air schools, or other aeronautical activities are operated or conducted.

      [8:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.8] — (NRS A 1959, 65)

      NRS 493.200  Penalty.  Unless a specific penalty is otherwise provided, any person violating any of the provisions of NRS 493.130 to 493.200, inclusive, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      [7:114:1947; 1943 NCL § 288.7] — (NRS A 1967, 597)

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

      NRS 493.210  Aerial navigational chart: Contents; fee; use of receipts.

      1.  The Commission on Tourism shall prepare and publish an aerial navigational chart of the State for the use of pilots of private aircraft. The chart must contain such navigational and other information as the Commission determines to be desirable. The Commission shall charge a fee for each chart which is sufficient to pay for the cost of printing the chart.

      2.  The Aerial Navigational Chart Account is hereby created in the State General Fund. All money received by the Commission pursuant to subsection 1 must be deposited in the Account. Money in the Account may only be used by the Commission for printing aerial navigational charts of the State for the use of pilots of private aircraft.

      (Added to NRS by 1979, 1091; A 1983, 1171)