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A. Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section. The singular of the word or phrase includes the plural, and the plural includes the singular.

1. Hobby or recreational purposes means a pursuit engaged in for relaxation, and not for business purposes and not for compensation or hire.

2. Operate means to pilot, steer, direct, fly, or manage a remotely controlled aircraft or an UAV/UAS whether from within the aircraft or remotely. The term operate includes managing or initiating a computer system that pilots, steers, directs, flies, or manages a remotely controlled aircraft or an UAV/UAS.

3. Remotely controlled aircraft means an unmanned aircraft capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; and operated within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and operated for hobby or recreational purposes; and limited to not more than 55 pounds; and operated consistent with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Safety Code and the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95, Section 336).

4. Unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) means an unmanned aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. This definition excludes remotely controlled aircraft. An UAV must be marked, identified, and operated as required by Federal law.

5. Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) means an unmanned aircraft vehicle and associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the UAV) that are required to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system. This definition excludes remotely controlled aircraft. An UAS must be marked, identified, and operated as required by Federal law.

B. Application of this section. This section shall not apply to:

1. Operation of UAV/UAS as part of operation, repair, or maintenance of park or preserve facilities or infrastructure, or as permitted through the City of Phoenix Film Office, or as a part of furnishing services under City of Phoenix agreements.

2. Operation of UAV/UAS by a publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed by a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication engaged in gathering, receiving, or processing information for communication to the public, or by a radio or television station or network, or by a press association or wire service, or Internet website affiliated with or under common ownership of any of those entities.

3. Operation of UAV/UAS by a law enforcement agency for any lawful purpose including, but not limited to, search and rescue operations for persons and property in distress, or during any emergency.

C. Prohibited operation. No person shall operate a remotely controlled aircraft to take off or land in a park or preserve owned or operated by the City of Phoenix except in parks designated by the Director or designee in operation sites that meet the requirements of subsection E of this section.

D. Safety Code. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Safety Code applies to parks designated for the operation of remotely controlled aircraft. A person operating remotely controlled aircraft must follow AMA guidelines. Safe operating distances among remotely controlled aircraft must conform to the AMA Safety Code.

E. Operation sites. Operation sites shall at all times remain unobstructed and a safe distance away from other park users. Dimensions of operation sites shall be no less than 400 feet on all sides. For purposes of this section, unobstructed means an open park area that is level and free of trees, structures, or fences ten feet or higher, and that is fully accessible for the retrieval of launched aircraft.

F. Operation by minors. Children younger than 17 years of age must be accompanied by an adult when operating remotely controlled aircraft in City parks.

G. Additional safety requirements. Remotely controlled aircraft that exceed any of the specifications listed below may only be operated in City parks or preserves where there is a specifically developed remotely controlled aircraft operation site with spectator control fencing, established runways, flight pads or flying circles, and safety barriers.

1. Fueled radio controlled model airplanes with an engine size of 0.20 cubic inches, wingspan of 60 inches, or weight of three pounds.

2. Electric powered radio controlled model airplanes with a wingspan of 80 inches or weight of three pounds.

3. Radio controlled helicopters with a main blade diameter of 40 inches or a weight of three pounds.

4. Radio controlled gliders with a wingspan of 80 inches or weight of three pounds.

5. Control line model airplanes with a single engine size of 0.25 cubic inches.

6. Remotely controlled aircraft which weigh three pounds.

H. Civil sanctions for prohibited operation. A person found guilty of violating this section shall pay civil sanctions in an amount not to exceed $500.00 per day. Each calendar day shall be considered a separate period for purposes of imposing civil sanctions.

I. Savings clause. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of the ordinance codified in this section is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, the court’s decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the ordinance.

J. Conflict in law. This section shall be construed and enforced in accordance with Federal and State law. If a conflict or ambiguity exists between this section and Federal or State law related to the operation of a remotely controlled aircraft or an UAV/UAS within a City of Phoenix park or preserve, the laws in the following order shall prevail and control: (1) Federal; (2) State; (3) this section. (Ord. No. G-5144, § 2, 2008; Ord. No. G-6086, 2016)