Things to keep in consideration when booking our service. sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems, aka Drones) are aircraft and fly in the air which is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and in being such there are many things that could affect our ability to perform our service. Static things from airspace restrictions to more dynamic things like weather and temporary flight restrictions can hinder our ability and schedule.

No Matter the Case, we will work to our utmost ability to make it happen. Let us worry about all the details and working out any notifications, waivers, or authorizations needed for you!

AIRSPACE

When booking we will begin by researching the area of focus for the flight and determine any restrictions on flying in that area, among many of the other things we research and plan for. Some areas will require little to nothing to be done while others may require a bit more in planning and authorizations.

For example, areas closer to airports, like the Harry Reid International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Henderson Executive Airport, etc. may have what is called ground level restrictions on sUAS flying operations, especially if it is within or extremely close to, a direct approach or final (landing) flight path. While not necessarily impossible to get approval for, the will require us to request a waiver from the FAA in advance for a certain day, time, and flight level (aka "AGL" height above ground level).

The FAA requires that we allow up to 90 days for the approval process, though most times approvals can come in just a couple weeks.

Other times in areas that are close to airports but aren't in a flight path, they may have limitations on how high we can fly and will require a simple approval using an automated FAA approval system called LAANC. These authorization areas can be  requested the same day and often approved within minutes, so long as the request is made for a flight level below their restriction.

Other areas may not require any approval as they are within uncontrolled airspace.

No matter the area, sUAS operations are almost always required to stay under 400' above ground level. There are some exceptions to this, but not many.

Occasionaly the FAA may issue temporary flight restrictions (TFR's) where some places that are normally okay to fly at will be temporarily blocked. These, like the name states, are usually only last a few hours and can cover just a small area or the entire region. A perfect example of this would be when the President or Vice-President come to town, a TFR will be place across Southern Nevada in its entirety from the time just before they arrive to shortly after they depart.

WEATHER

One thing that can hinder our service, and that is harder to plan for, is the weather. While for the most part we can somewhat plan for weather conditions a little ahead of time, the fact remains that weather can change in just a matter of minutes and can be one of the most unpredictable parts of nature and our business.

The wind, rain, and humidity are the biggest things that can affect our ability to perform our service. Extreme Heat and Cold are considerations as well though not as much as the others. Thankfully Southern Nevada is a very dry area and rain and humidity are less of a factors... many times passing by in just a matter of an hour or two, and thus affecting us just for that amount of time.

Wind, on the other hand, is very prominent throughout our region and can be one of our worst enemies. For the most part, we can fly in most of the areas small winds most of the time but we do have to be careful when winds and gust of winds exceed 20kts (around 23 mph).

Keep in mind also that a small 10mph wind that you feel on the ground can and will get more prominent the higher you go and can increase variably the more you go up in the air, even just a few feet.

FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL LAWS and ORDNANCES

There are several laws and ordnances throughout the State of Nevada that we must abide by. While most don't prevent us from flying in the airspace (that is governed solely by the FAA), they do place limitations on where we can and can't take-off and land.

There is some leniency for those who are flying within the scope of a lawful business purpose so long as we do not interfere with certain things.

Specific Laws are detailed below but in short:

  • If the area to be flown is within 500 feet of a powerline or critical facility we must get permission from the owner/operator of facility before flying.
  • We require, if at all possible, the take-off and landing area for your service to be somewhere on your property, like a driveway or large piece of open area that is within your property boundary, especially if you live with the jurisdiction of the City of Las Vegas.

Federal Laws

There is a lot in these laws so we will just point out the ones that may greatly affect our service with you:

sUAS operations are prohibited in all National Parks and National Wilderness Areas. There are several in the Southern Nevada area like the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest around the Mount Charleston area, just to name a couple.

State Laws

Nevada Revised Statutes 493.103

      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.

Nevada Revised Statutes 493.109 - Unmanned aerial vehicles: Operation near critical facility or within 5 miles of airport prohibited

    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.

State Parks

While there is no specific law stated, Nevada State Parks state that the use of drones is prohibited in State Parks except in areas designated for such activities or by issuance of a special permit.

City of Las Vegas

CHAPTER 13.58 - AIRCRAFT LAUNCHING AND LANDING
  • 13.58.010 - Aircraft defined.

    For purposes of this Chapter. "aircraft" means any vehicle used for navigation through the air.

  • 13.58.020 - Prohibited in certain places.

    Except as otherwise provided in Section 13.58.030, it is unlawful for any person to cause or permit any aircraft to be launched from or land upon the following areas within the City:

    (A) Any public street, highway or other public right-of-way;

    (B) Any parking lot which is provided for the use of the public.

  • 13.58.030 - Exceptions to Section 13.58.020.

     Section 13.58.020 shall not apply to the launching or landing of any aircraft:

    (A) Which is being operated by or at the direction of any governmental entity;

    (B) Pursuant to prior authorization by the City Council; or

    (C) Where an emergency launching or landing is necessary in order to protect life or property.

Flying in Parks in Southern Nevada

Only certain parks within Southern Nevada allow drones to be launched and landed in:

Clark County

  • Desert Breeze Park
  • Mountain’s Edge Regional Park
  • Lone Mountain Park
  • Bennett Airfield
  • Silver Bowl Park
  • Horseman Park
  • Clark County Shooting Complex
  • James Regional Park

City of Las Vegas

There is a bit of contention with Las Vegas City Parks. Specifically, City Ordnance 13.36.020 states it prohibits “remote control airplanes” within any City park, recreational facility, or public plaza, including any parking area that serves the park, facility, or plaza.

However an interview given by Scott Marcus, City of Las Vegas Drone Operations Program Manager, on KCLV states that drones are allowed in Las Vegas City Parks given that operators comply with standard safety rules. When specifically asked in an email correspondence with me he said they take the ordnance at its face value of meaning "fixed-wing" airplanes and not quadcopters like drones.

Henderson

  • Amador Vista Park
  • Cornerstone Park
  • Hidden Falls Park
  • Mission Hills Park