Paying attention to everything the FAA has put forth since their rules and regulations were initially put into full effect is crucial for all drone fliers. Although, do you know the laws and regulations related to drones in your state, as well?
Flying Over Arkansas
If you’re the hiking type, then you’re going to love exploring the Ozark Mountains with your drone. No matter what the season is, your footage will always look fantastic. During the fall, however, the Ozark Mountains are especially beautiful with all the mixed colors. In the winter, it becomes a wonderland, covered in a sheet of pure white snow.
If water suits you better than trekking, Greers Ferry Lake, somewhat close to Little Rock, is one of the cleanest reservoirs on the planet. You can fly your drone from the shoreline, while you’re in knee-deep water, or from the comfort of your own boat. Keep in mind, however, it’s a hot spot during the summer, so make sure you’re not breaking any FAA laws if you’re flying there.
Gulley Park in Fayetteville is the perfect place to possibly test out your new drone, or just spend the day relaxing with some basic flight. It’s a recreational park that offers a playground, a gazebo, a small stream, and sometimes even live music!
The Registering Process in Arkansas
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) owners follow strict regulations and laws. You will need to file your name, home address and your email address as a start.
From there, you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. These will include an identification number for your aircraft. You must have this number displayed on your drone at all times. The number will be valid for up to 3 years.
All aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, and less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms, must be registered. This also includes any added payloads, such as an onboard camera.
You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register and, effective December 21st, 2015, all newly purchased or made drones must be registered before their first flight. You are able to register through a paper-based process, but you can also do so online by clicking here.
Proximity to Airports in Arkansas
As a general rule of thumb, and in accordance with the law from the FAA, you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport. In 2012 the FAA enacted the Modernization and Reauthorization Act which requires hobbyist drone operators, meaning residential, to contact air traffic control and/or airport management if they are operating within a 5-mile radius of any local airport.
This is enacted nationwide, not only in Arkansas, under Part 101 of the Act, being Special Rule for Model Aircraft, to ensure that drone operations under unsafe conditions are disapproved before the drone can be launched.
Regardless of the local airport you will be flying near, and possibly breaching airspace, you will need to contact either the airport air traffic control tower or the airport operator.
You will need to establish an agreed-upon operating procedure with airport air traffic or the airport operator and answer a couple of questions. For example, questions relating to how long you are going to be flying for.
Unique Drone Laws in Arkansas
At this time of writing, there are no active laws regarding drones in the state of Arkansas.
Other Legal Issues With Drones in Iowa
At this time of writing, there are currently a number of bills in circulation within the state of Iowa surrounding drones.
Act 1019/HB 1770 – Critical Infrastructure Surveillance
For An Act To Be Entitled
An Act concerning the regulation of aeronautics; to restrict the use of unmanned aircraft systems under certain circumstances; to provide for criminal penalties and civil liability; and for other purposes.
Concerning the regulation of aeronautics; to restrict the use of unmanned aircraft systems under certain circumstances; and to provide for criminal penalties and civil liability.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS:
Section 1. Arkansas Code Title 5, Chapter 60, Subchapter 1, is amended to add an additional section to read as follws:
5-60-103. Unlawful use of unmanned aircraft system.
As used in this section:
(A) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned, powered aircraft that:
(i) Does not carry a human operator;
(ii) Can be autonomous or remotely piloted or operated; and
(iii) Can be exendable or recoverable.
(B) “Unmanned aircraft system” does not include:
(i) A satellite orbiting the earth;
(ii) An unmanned aircraft system used by the federal government or a person who is acting pursuant to contract with the federal government to conduct surveillance of specific critical infrastructure;
(iii) An unmanned aircraft system used by the state after consultation with the Governor or a person who is acting under contract with the state to conduct surveillance of specific critical infrastructure;
(iv)(a) An unmanned aircraft system used pursuant to prior written authorization of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
(b) The department shall provide standards for authorizations under subdivision (a)(1)(B)(iv)(a) of this section in rules adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, § 25-15-201, et seq., after consulting with the Governor;
(v) An unmanned aircraft system used under a certificate of authorization issues by the Federal Aviation Administration; or
(vi) An unmanned aircraft used by a law enforcement agency, emergency medical service agency, hazardous materials response team, disaster management agency, or other emergency management agency for the purpose of incident command, area reconnaissance, personnel and equipment deployment monitoring, training, or a related purpose; and
“Critical infrastructure” means”
An electrical power generation or delivery system;
A petroleum refinery;
A chemical or rubber manufacturing facility; or
A petroleum or chemical storage facility.
(b) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system if he or she knowingly uses an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record critical infrastructure without the prior written consent of the owner of the critical infrastructure.
(c) This section does not prohibit:
(A) A person from using an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record his or her own property that is:
(i) Located on his or her own immovable property; or
(ii) Located on immovable property owned by another person under a valid lease, servitude, right-of-way, right of use, permit, license, or other right.
(B) A third person retained by the owner of the property described in subdivision (c)(1)(A) of this section to conduct activities described in subdivision (c)(1)(A) of this section is not prohibited under this section from using an unmanned aircraft system to conduct the activities described in subdivision (c)(1) of this section; or
An insurance company or a person acting on behalf of an insurance company using an unmanned aircraft system for purposes of underwriting an insurance risk or investigating damage to insured property.
(d) Unlawful use of unmanned aircraft system is:
A Class B misdemeanor; or
A Class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.
Section 2. Arkansas Code Title 16, Chapter 118, is amended to add an additional section to read as follows:
16-118-111. Civil actions for against operators of an unmanned aircraft system.
A person who violates § 5-60-103 is also liable to the owner of the critical infrastructure that is the subject of the violation as follows:
Any actual damages sustained as a result of the violation or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater;
Three (3) times actual damages, or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater, in a case in which the violation resulted in profit or monetary gain; and
The costs of an action brought under this section, together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court.
FAQ on Arkansas Law and Drones
If you do not see your question, or an answer to it, listed below, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll gladly give you one.
Is a drone/UAS considered the same as a model aircraft?
The United States Congress has defined and concluded that a model aircraft is only considered a drone or a UAS when the following points are met:
- – It’s flown for recreational purposes or as a hobby and not for any business or commercial reasons
- – It’s flown within visible distance, meaning being able to see it at all times, of the individual operating it
- – It’s capable of sustaining flight within the atmosphere, meaning that it can fly
If your model aircraft, regardless of whether or not you acquired it pre-built or built it yourself, meets the above points to your knowledge, it’s considered a drone/UAS.
What is the Small UAS Rule?
The Small UAS Rule requires those who have unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, that weigh less than 55 pounds, payload included, to register their aircraft with the FAA. This only applies to recreational or hobby fliers and not commercial drone use, however.
Is the FAA’s Small UAS Rule still in effect?
Yes, it has been in effect from August 29th of 2016 and is still in effect at this time of writing.
Do I have to carry my Certificate of Aircraft Registration while flying my UAS at all times?
Yes, you must have the registration certificate from the FAA at all times during flight operation. In accordance with federal law, all UAS operators must show their certificate of registration to any local, state, or federal law enforcement officer when they are asked to do so.
What do I do for registration if my UAS is over the 55-pound limit?
If your UAS weighs more than 55 pounds, including payload, you will need to register it by clicking here.
Drone Laws in Arkansas
Knowing the laws, regulations, restrictions, etc., regarding drones in your state is extremely important. Remember to educate yourself, follow the rules, fly safely and responsibly, and have fun!