Chapter 1. General Provisions And Definitions of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 9. >> Part 1. >> Chapter 1.
This part may be cited as the "State Aeronautics Act."
The purpose of this part is to further and protect the
public interest in aeronautics and aeronautical progress by the
(a) Encouraging the development of private flying and the general
use of air transportation.
(b) Fostering and promoting safety in aeronautics.
(c) Effecting uniformity of the laws and regulations relating to
aeronautics consistent with federal aeronautics laws and regulations.
(d) Granting to a state agency powers, and imposing upon it
duties, so that the state may properly perform its functions relative
to aeronautics and effectively exercise its jurisdiction over
persons and property, assist in the development of a statewide system
of airports, encourage the flow of private capital into aviation
facilities, and cooperate with and assist political subdivisions and
others engaged in aeronautics in the development and encouragement of
(e) Establishing only those regulations which are essential and
clearly within the scope of the authority granted by the Legislature,
in order that persons may engage in every phase of aeronautics with
the least possible restriction consistent with the safety and the
rights of others.
(f) Providing for cooperation with the federal authorities in the
development of a national system of civil aviation and for
coordination of the aeronautical activities of those authorities and
the authorities of this state.
(g) Assuring that persons residing in the vicinity of airports are
protected to the greatest possible extent against intrusions by
unreasonable levels of aircraft noise.
(h) Fostering and promoting the development of a stable and
efficient regional air carrier system to provide access for small and
rural communities to the national air transportation system
consistent with federal policies favoring deregulation.
(i) Developing, in cooperation with the private sector, airport
management, local jurisdictions, federal authorities, and the general
public, informational programs to increase the understanding of
current air transportation issues including, but not limited to,
aviation safety, planning, airport noise, airport development and
management, and the role of aviation in the economic development of
the state, as an integral part of the state's transportation system.
(j) Sponsoring or cosponsoring, with representatives of the
aerospace and aviation industry, aviation educational and
informational seminars which meet the needs of pilots and other
members of the industry for current information on aviation safety,
planning, and airport development and management.
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions and
general provisions set forth in this chapter govern the construction
of this part.
The acquisition of any land or interest therein pursuant to
this part, the planning, acquisition, establishment, construction,
improvement, maintenance, equipment, and operation of airports and
air navigation facilities, whether by the state separately or jointly
with any political subdivision, and the exercise of any other powers
granted to the department by this part are public and governmental
functions, exercised for a public purpose, and are matters of public
necessity. All land and other property and privileges acquired and
used by or on behalf of the state pursuant to this part are acquired
and used for public and governmental purposes as a matter of public
This part shall not be construed as limiting any power of
the state or a political subdivision to regulate airport hazards by
This chapter or any other law shall not be construed as
prohibiting, restricting, or permitting the prohibition of the
operation or landing in populated areas of helicopters and similar
aircraft capable of approximately vertical ascent and descent,
subject to such reasonable rules affecting the public safety as the
department may promulgate. The department shall adopt rules and
regulations, effective January 1, 1989, for the conditions under
which helicopters may make temporary use of a landing site.
"Department" means the Department of Transportation.
Whenever the term "California Aeronautics Commission,"
"Division of Aeronautics," or "Department of Aeronautics" is used in
any other law, it means the Department of Transportation.
"Director" means the Director of Transportation.
Any reference in any law or regulation to the Director of
Aeronautics shall be deemed to refer to the Director of
"Division" means the Division of Aeronautics in the
"Commission" means the California Transportation
"Person" means any individual, firm, partnership,
corporation, limited liability company, company, association, joint
stock association, or body politic; and includes any trustee,
receiver, assignee, or other similar representative.
"Political subdivision" means any county, city, city and
county, public corporation, district or other political entity or
public corporation of this State.
(a) The science and art of flight, including transportation by
(b) The operation, construction, repair, or maintenance of
aircraft and aircraft power plants and accessories, including the
repair, packing, and maintenance of parachutes.
(c) The design, establishment, construction, extension, operation,
improvement, repair, or maintenance of airports or other air
"Aircraft" means any manned contrivance used or designed for
navigation of, or flight in, the air requiring certification and
registration as prescribed by federal statute or regulation.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, manned
lighter-than-air balloons and ultralight vehicles as defined in the
regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (14 C.F.R. Part
103), whether or not certificated by the Federal Aviation
Administration, shall not be considered to be aircraft for purposes
of this part.
"Airport" means any area of land or water which is used, or
intended for use, for the landing and take-off of aircraft, and any
appurtenant areas which are used, or intended for use, for airport
buildings or other airport facilities or rights of way, and all
airport buildings and facilities located thereon.
"Air navigation facility" means any facility, other than
facilities owned or operated by the United States, used, or available
or designed for use, in aid of air navigation, including any
structures, mechanisms, lights, beacons, markers, communicating
systems, or other facilities used or useful as an aid, or
constituting an advantage or convenience, to the safe taking off,
navigation, and landing of aircraft, or the safe and efficient
operation or maintenance of an airport.
"Operation of aircraft" or "operate aircraft" means the use,
navigation, or piloting of aircraft in the air space over this State
or upon any airport within this State.
"Airman" means any individual who engages, as the person in
command, or as pilot, mechanic, or member of the crew, in the
navigation of aircraft while under way, and any individual who is
directly in charge of the inspection, maintenance, overhauling, or
repair of aircraft engines, propellers, or appliances, and any
individual who serves in the capacity of aircraft dispatcher, or air
traffic control-tower operator. "Airman" does not include any
individual employed outside the United States, or any individual
employed by a manufacturer of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers,
or appliances to perform duties as inspector or mechanic in
connection therewith, or any individual performing inspection or
mechanical duties in connection with aircraft owned or operated by
"Airport hazard" means any structure, object of natural
growth, or use of land, which obstructs the air space required for
flight of aircraft in landing or taking off at an airport or which is
otherwise hazardous to the landing or taking off.
"Airway" means a route in the navigable air space over the
land or waters of this State, designated by proper authority as a
route suitable for air navigation.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this part,
other than Section 21407.1, or any of the rules or orders issued
under this part, is punishable by a fine of not more than one
thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment of not more than six
months, or both.
"Land" includes tide and submerged lands or other lands
subject to the public trust for commerce, navigation, or fisheries.