Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 5.1. Aviation
Subtitle .
Chapter 1. Aircraft, Airmen and Airports Generally
5/21/2024

Chapter 1. Aircraft, Airmen and Airports Generally.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 5.1-1. (Effective until July 1, 2025) Definitions.

When used in this title, unless expressly stated otherwise:

"Aircraft" means any contrivance now known, or hereafter invented, used, or designed for navigation of or flight in the air, including a balloon or other contrivance designed for maneuvering in airspace at an altitude greater than 24 inches above ground or water level, except that any contrivance now or hereafter invented of fixed or flexible wing design, operating without the assistance of any motor, engine, or other mechanical propulsive device, which is designed to utilize the feet and legs of the operator or operators as the sole means of initiating and sustaining forward motion during the launch and of providing the point of contact with the ground upon landing and commonly called a "hang glider" shall not be included within this definition.

"Aircraft based in this Commonwealth" means an aircraft that is either (i) domiciled in a county, city, or town in the Commonwealth or (ii) parked in a county, city, or town in the Commonwealth when not in flight for the period of time specified in § 5.1-5.

"Airman" means any individual, including the person in command and any pilot, mechanic, or member of the crew, who engages in the navigation of aircraft while under way within Virginia airspace; any individual who is directly in charge of the inspection, maintenance, overhauling, or repair of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, or accessories; and any individual who serves in the capacity of aircraft dispatcher.

"Air navigation facility" means any airport ground or air navigation facility, other than one owned and operated by the United States, used in, available for use in, or designed for use in aid of air navigation, including any structures, buildings, mechanisms, lights, beacons, markers, communicating systems, or other instrumentalities or devices, and any combination of any or all of such facilities, used or useful as an aid, or constituting any advantage or convenience, to the safe taking off, navigation, and landing of aircraft; in the safe and efficient operation or maintenance of an airport; in the safe, efficient and convenient handling or processing of aviation passengers, mail or cargo; or in the servicing or maintenance of aircraft or ground equipment.

"Airport" means any area of land or water which is used, or intended for public use, for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and any appurtenant areas that are used, or intended for use, for airport buildings or other airport facilities or rights-of-way, easements and together with all airport buildings and facilities located thereon.

"Airport hazard" means any structure, object or natural growth, or use of land that obstructs the airspace required for the flight of aircraft in landing or taking off at an airport or is otherwise hazardous to such landing or taking off of aircraft.

"Airspace" means all that space above the land and waters within the boundary of the Commonwealth.

"Board" means the Virginia Aviation Board.

"Civil aircraft" means any aircraft other than a public aircraft.

"Commercial aircraft" means any civil aircraft used in flight activity for compensation or for hire.

"Contract carrier by aircraft" or "contract carrier" means any person not included under the definitions of "common carrier by aircraft" or "restricted common carrier by aircraft" as defined in § 5.1-89 who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, and whether directly or by a lease or any other arrangement, transports passengers or property by aircraft for compensation and in the transportation of passengers does not charge individual fares.

"Department" means the Department of Aviation.

"Drop zone" means any locality whether over land or water that is used, or intended for use, for the landing and recovery of sky divers or parachutists using a parachute or other contrivance designed for sport jumping.

"Fighter or attack jet" means a jet-powered aircraft designed for military (i) combat training or (ii) operational mission execution.

"Landing area" or "landing field" means any locality, whether over land or water, including airports and intermediate landing fields, which is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft and open to the public for such use, whether or not facilities are provided for the sheltering, servicing, or repair of aircraft or for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo.

"Person" means any individual, corporation, government, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, two or more of any of the foregoing having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.

"Public aircraft" means an aircraft used exclusively in the service of any state, or political subdivision thereof, or the federal government. "Public aircraft" includes any fighter or attack jet that is leased or owned by a private entity, provided that the aircraft operations are conducted exclusively for the purpose of military combat training in service to the federal government.

Code 1950, § 5-1; 1966, c. 576; 1970, c. 717; 1975, c. 561; 1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 721; 1988, c. 588; 2011, c. 809; 2018, cc. 357, 441.

§ 5.1-1. (Effective July 1, 2025) Definitions.

When used in this title, unless expressly stated otherwise:

"Aircraft" means any contrivance now known, or hereafter invented, used, or designed for navigation of or flight in the air, including a balloon or other contrivance designed for maneuvering in airspace at an altitude greater than 24 inches above ground or water level, except that any contrivance now or hereafter invented of fixed or flexible wing design, operating without the assistance of any motor, engine, or other mechanical propulsive device, which is designed to utilize the feet and legs of the operator or operators as the sole means of initiating and sustaining forward motion during the launch and of providing the point of contact with the ground upon landing and commonly called a "hang glider" shall not be included within this definition.

"Aircraft based in this Commonwealth" means an aircraft that is either (i) domiciled in a county, city, or town in the Commonwealth or (ii) parked in a county, city, or town in the Commonwealth when not in flight for the period of time specified in § 5.1-5.

"Airman" means any individual, including the person in command and any pilot, mechanic, or member of the crew, who engages in the navigation of aircraft while under way within Virginia airspace; any individual who is directly in charge of the inspection, maintenance, overhauling, or repair of aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, or accessories; and any individual who serves in the capacity of aircraft dispatcher.

"Air navigation facility" means any airport ground or air navigation facility, other than one owned and operated by the United States, used in, available for use in, or designed for use in aid of air navigation, including any structures, buildings, mechanisms, lights, beacons, markers, communicating systems, or other instrumentalities or devices, and any combination of any or all of such facilities, used or useful as an aid, or constituting any advantage or convenience, to the safe taking off, navigation, and landing of aircraft; in the safe and efficient operation or maintenance of an airport; in the safe, efficient and convenient handling or processing of aviation passengers, mail or cargo; or in the servicing or maintenance of aircraft or ground equipment.

"Airport" means any area of land or water which is used, or intended for public use, for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and any appurtenant areas that are used, or intended for use, for airport buildings or other airport facilities or rights-of-way, easements and together with all airport buildings and facilities located thereon.

"Airport hazard" means any structure, object or natural growth, or use of land that obstructs the airspace required for the flight of aircraft in landing or taking off at an airport or is otherwise hazardous to such landing or taking off of aircraft.

"Airspace" means all that space above the land and waters within the boundary of the Commonwealth.

"Board" means the Virginia Aviation Board.

"Civil aircraft" means any aircraft other than a public aircraft.

"Commercial aircraft" means any civil aircraft used in flight activity for compensation or for hire.

"Contract carrier by aircraft" or "contract carrier" means any person not included under the definitions of "common carrier by aircraft" or "restricted common carrier by aircraft" as defined in § 5.1-89 who, under special and individual contracts or agreements, and whether directly or by a lease or any other arrangement, transports passengers or property by aircraft for compensation and in the transportation of passengers does not charge individual fares.

"Department" means the Department of Aviation.

"Drop zone" means any locality whether over land or water that is used, or intended for use, for the landing and recovery of sky divers or parachutists using a parachute or other contrivance designed for sport jumping.

"Landing area" or "landing field" means any locality, whether over land or water, including airports and intermediate landing fields, which is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft and open to the public for such use, whether or not facilities are provided for the sheltering, servicing, or repair of aircraft or for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo.

"Person" means any individual, corporation, government, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, two or more of any of the foregoing having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.

"Public aircraft" means an aircraft used exclusively in the service of any state, or political subdivision thereof, or the federal government.

Code 1950, § 5-1; 1966, c. 576; 1970, c. 717; 1975, c. 561; 1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 721; 1988, c. 588; 2011, c. 809.

§ 5.1-1.1. Creation of Department of Aviation.

There is hereby created a Department of Aviation.

1979, c. 272; 1984, c. 720.

§ 5.1-1.2. Appointment of Director; term; vacancies.

The Department shall be under the direction of a director, hereinafter referred to in this title as "Director," who shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly if in session when such appointment is made, and, if not in session, then at its next succeeding session. He shall hold his office at the pleasure of the Governor for a term coincident with that of each Governor making the appointment or until his successor shall be appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as original appointments are made.

1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-1.3. Oath and bond of Director; salary.

The Director, before entering upon the discharge of his duties, shall take an oath that he will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties of his office, and he shall be bonded in accordance with § 2.2-1840. The Director shall receive such salary as may be appropriated for the purpose.

1979, c. 272; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 152.

§ 5.1-1.4. Enforcement of laws, rules and regulations.

Except for the provisions of Chapter 9 (§ 5.1-89 et seq.) of this title, the Department shall have the authority to enforce any provision of this title and any rules and regulations promulgated by the Board in reference to aircraft, airfields, pilots and other similar subjects. Said rules and regulations, and enforcement actions taken in connection therewith, shall be in accordance with the substantive and procedural requirements of the Administrative Process Act, Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2.

1979, c. 272; 2002, c. 94.

§ 5.1-1.5. General powers of Department.

The Department shall have the following general powers:

1. To employ such personnel as may be required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

2. To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this chapter, including, but not limited to, contracts with the United States, other states, agencies and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

3. To accept grants from the United States government and agencies and instrumentalities thereof and any other source. To these ends, the Department shall have the power to comply with such conditions and execute such agreements as may be necessary, convenient or desirable.

4. To do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-1.6. Further powers and duties of Department; State Corporation Commission to administer Chapter 9.

A. The Department shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Administer the provisions of Chapters 1 (§ 5.1-1 et seq.), 3 (§ 5.1-31 et seq.), 5 (§ 5.1-51 et seq.) and 8.1 (§ 5.1-88.1 et seq.);

2. Plan for the development of a state aviation system;

3. Promote aviation in the Commonwealth in the interest of the public, including representing the interests of the Commonwealth before all tribunals, agencies or offices, federal, state and local, in any matter tending to affect any phase of Virginia aviation;

4. Register aircraft and license airports and landing areas; and

5. Provide assistance to cities, towns, counties and other governmental subdivisions for the planning, development, construction and operation of airports, landing fields and other aviation facilities.

B. The State Corporation Commission shall continue to administer Chapter 9 (§ 5.1-89 et seq.).

1979, c. 272; 1991, c. 126; 1992, c. 108; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-1.7. Suits to enjoin violations of title.

The Department may seek to enjoin any act in violation of any provision of this title, or of any rule or regulation promulgated under any provision of this title, by application for injunctive relief to the circuit court of the jurisdiction where the violation occurs, which shall give priority on its docket to suits brought by the Department.

1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-2.1. Virginia Aviation Commission continued as Virginia Aviation Board; membership; terms; Chairman.

A. The Virginia Aviation Commission, a public body corporate and politic, is hereby continued within the Department of Aviation as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth and shall hereafter be known as the Virginia Aviation Board. The Board shall consist of eight members, selected so far as practicable from different geographic areas of the Commonwealth, appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, to serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Members shall serve for four-year terms and no member shall serve for more than two full successive terms. Initial appointments to the Board shall be made as follows: one shall be for a term of one year, two shall be for terms of two years, two shall be for terms of three years, and two shall be for terms of four years each and thereafter all appointments shall be for terms of four years each. The Chairman of the Board shall be appointed by the Governor.

B. Whenever the Board shall acquire ownership or jurisdiction over an airport or airports previously operated by an agency of the United States, there may be a member appointed to the Board by the President of the United States. Such member shall have the powers and duties of other members of the Board only with respect to the airport or airports so acquired.

C. There may be a member of the Board from any county or city wherein the Board acquires or constructs an airport, to be elected by the governing body of the county or city and to serve at its pleasure. Such member shall have the powers and duties of other members of the Board only with respect to such airport. If the Board acquires an airport which was constructed by one political subdivision but is located in another, the political subdivision which constructed the airport, rather than the political subdivision in which it is located, shall be represented on the Board.

1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 750; 1985, c. 448.

§ 5.1-2.2. Powers and duties of Board.

The Board shall exercise the following powers and duties:

1. Provide a means of citizen access to the Department;

2. Provide a means of publicizing the policies and programs of the Department in order to educate the public and elicit public support for Department activities;

3. Monitor the policies and activities of the Department and have the right of access to departmental information;

4. Advise the Governor and the Director on matters relating to the Commonwealth's aviation policies and programs;

5. Promulgate such rules and regulations relating to airports, landing fields and other aviation facilities, aircraft, and such other kindred matters and things as may be proper and necessary to promote and develop safe aviation practices and operations; and

6. Develop on behalf of the Department recommendations for distribution of funds to localities by the State Corporation Commission for aviation development through the end of the 1978-80 biennium, after which time the Board shall be responsible for the allocation on behalf of the Department of all such funds as provided in this act, which funds shall be distributed by the Department in accordance with such allocation.

1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 306; 1984, c. 720; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-2.2:1. Further powers and duties of the Board.

The Board shall have all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter including, but not limited to, the power:

1. To sue in its own name, to have a seal, and to have perpetual succession;

2. To execute such contracts and other instruments and take such other action as may be necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

3. To plan, establish, develop, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate, regulate, and protect airports and air navigation facilities, within this Commonwealth and within any adjoining state, including the acquisition, construction, installation, equipment, maintenance, and operation at such airports of buildings and other facilities for the servicing of aircraft or for the comfort and accommodation of air travelers, and the purchase and sale of supplies, goods, and commodities as an incident to the operation of its airport properties. For such purposes the Board may, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, condemnation, or otherwise, acquire property, real or personal, or any interest therein, including easements in airport hazards or land outside the boundaries of an airport or airport site, as are necessary to permit the removal, elimination, obstruction marking or obstruction lighting of airport hazards or to prevent the establishment of airport hazards, or for the enlargement of an airport constructed or acquired under this subdivision 3; provided, however, such power of eminent domain shall not extend to the taking of any radio or television towers or installation in existence on June 27, 1958;

4. To acquire, by purchase, gift, devise, or lease, existing airports and air navigation facilities;

5. To establish or acquire and maintain airports in, over, and upon any public waters of this Commonwealth or any submerged lands under such public waters; and to construct and maintain terminal buildings, landing floats, causeways, roadways, and bridges for approaches to or connecting with any such airport, and landing floats and breakwaters for the protection thereof;

6. To construct, or permit the construction of, for sale or lease, on such terms and conditions as the Board may deem proper, industrial, commercial or recreational facilities and approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof, on any lands of the Board not acquired by eminent domain and not needed for operational use of an airport owned or operated by it; provided, that any such factory or manufacturing facility shall be so constructed as not to constitute an airport hazard. In the exercise of the powers conferred by this subdivision, the Board shall comply with any applicable zoning restrictions of the political subdivision in which any airport or facility is, or is proposed to be located.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.2:2. Commercial air service plan.

A. The Board shall develop and review every five years a commercial air service plan for commercial air service airports within the Commonwealth. In developing and reviewing such plan, the Board shall (i) analyze trends in commercial air service generally, (ii) analyze the current and projected future demographic and economic trends related to air travel needs in the Commonwealth, (iii) solicit input from other appropriate stakeholders, (iv) consider any other factors determined to be appropriate by the Board, and (v) establish reasonable goals for commercial air service based on clauses (i) through (iv).

B. In developing the plan pursuant to subsection A, the Board shall coordinate with each commercial air service airport.

C. Prior to the allocation of funds pursuant to § 33.2-1526.6, the Board shall ensure that any requested funds are not inconsistent with the Board's commercial air service plan and that no commercial service airport is penalized for not meeting goals set forth in such commercial air service plan.

2017, c. 709; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

§ 5.1-2.2:3. Transparency and accountability in the use of Commonwealth Aviation Fund revenues.

A. By November 1 of each year, the Board shall report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the use of Commonwealth Aviation Fund revenues the previous fiscal year. The report shall include at a minimum the following:

1. The use of entitlement funds allocated pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 33.2-1526.6 by each air carrier airport, including the amount of funds that are unobligated;

2. The award and use of discretionary funds allocated for air carrier and reliever airports pursuant to subdivision B 2 a (1) of § 33.2-1526.6 by every such airport;

3. The award and use of discretionary funds allocated for general aviation airports pursuant to subdivision B 2 a (2) of § 33.2-1526.6 by every such airport; and

4. The award and use of discretionary funds allocated for all airports pursuant to subdivision B 2 b of § 33.2-1526.6 by every such airport.

Such report shall also include the status of ongoing projects funded in whole or in part by the Commonwealth Aviation Fund pursuant to § 33.2-1526.6.

B. Each year prior to the release of entitlement funds allocated pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 33.2-1526.6, each air carrier airport shall submit a plan that outlines the planned use of such funds for the upcoming fiscal year to the Board for review and approval. The Board shall approve such plan provided that the use of funds is in accordance with Board policies. An airport may modify its plan during a fiscal year by submitting a revised plan to the Board for review.

C. The Board shall have the right to withhold entitlement funds allocated pursuant to subdivision B 1 of § 33.2-1526.6 in the event that the entitlement utilization plan is not approved by the Board or the airport uses the funds in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved plan.

2017, c. 709; 2018, c. 506; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

§ 5.1-2.2:4. Transparency and accountability for use of Department and Board funds.

A. Any (i) airport board, commission, authority, or body established pursuant to § 5.1-31 or 5.1-36 or (ii) public use privately owned airport that has received funding from the Department or Board shall keep records of receipts and disbursements thereof, which records shall be open for audit and evaluation by the appropriate state authorities.

B. By August 1 of each year, any (i) airport board, commission, authority, or body established pursuant to § 5.1-31 or 5.1-36 or (ii) public use privately owned airport that has received or disbursed funds from the Department or Board within the prior fiscal year shall submit to the Department a report detailing the purpose for which such funds were received or disbursed. The report shall also list any localities from which such entity receives funds. The Department shall make such report available to the public upon request and shall post such report on the website for the Department. Sensitive financial, personal, or security information contained in the report may be redacted at the discretion of the Department prior to public release. The Department shall send such redacted report to the governing body of any locality from which such airport board, commission, authority, or body receives funds.

2018, c. 430.

§ 5.1-2.3. Meetings of Board; quorum.

The Board shall meet at least once every three months, and on the call of the Chairman, when in his opinion additional meetings are necessary. Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.

1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-2.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1980, c. 728.

§ 5.1-2.5. Eminent domain; right of entry.

The Board is hereby vested with the power of eminent domain and may exercise the same for the purposes set forth in subdivision 3 of § 5.1-2.2:1 in the manner set forth in Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1 and to the extent permitted to railroads by § 56-347; provided, however, such power of eminent domain shall not extend to the taking of any radio or television towers or installation in existence on June 27, 1958. If the owner, lessee or occupier of any property to be condemned or otherwise acquired shall refuse to remove his property therefrom or give up possession thereof, the Board may proceed to obtain possession in any manner provided by law. The authorized agents and employees may enter upon any lands, waters, and premises in the Commonwealth for the purpose of making surveys, soundings, drillings, and examinations as they may deem necessary or convenient for the purposes of this chapter, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass, nor shall an entry for such purpose be deemed an entry under any condemnation proceedings that may be then pending. The Board shall make reimbursement for any actual damage resulting to such lands, waters, and premises as a result of such activities.

1980, c. 750; 2003, c. 940.

§ 5.1-2.6. Disposal of airport, air navigation facility or other property.

Except as may be limited by the terms and conditions of any grant, loan or agreement authorized by § 5.1-2.16 the Board may, by sale, lease, or otherwise, dispose of any airport, air navigation facility, or other property, or portion thereof or interest therein, acquired pursuant to this chapter. Such disposal by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall be in accordance with the laws of this Commonwealth governing the disposition of other public property, except that in the case of disposal to another authority, a municipality or an agency of the Commonwealth or federal government for use and operation as a public airport, the sale, lease, or other disposal may be effected in such manner and upon such terms as the commissioners of the Board may deem in the best interest of aviation.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.7. Revenue bonds generally.

The Board is hereby authorized to provide for the issuance, at one time or from time to time, of revenue bonds of the Board for the purpose of paying all or any part of the cost of any one or more airport projects or of any portion or portions thereof. The principal of and the interest on such bonds shall be payable solely from the funds provided in this chapter for such payment. Any bonds of the Board issued pursuant to this chapter shall not constitute a debt of the Commonwealth, or any political subdivision thereof other than the Board, and shall so state on their face. Neither the commissioners of the Board nor any person executing such bonds shall be liable personally thereon by reason of the issuance thereof. The bonds of each issue shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates as may be determined by the Board, shall mature at such time or times not exceeding forty years from their date or dates, as may be determined by the Board, and may be made redeemable before maturity, at the option of the Board, at such price or prices and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the Board prior to the issuance of the bonds. The Board shall determine the form and the manner of execution of the bonds, including any interest coupons to be attached thereto, and shall fix the denomination or denominations of the bonds and the place or places of payment of principal and interest, which may be at any bank or trust company within or without the Commonwealth. In case any officer whose signature or a facsimile of whose signature shall appear on any bonds or coupons shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature or such facsimile shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes the same as if he had remained in office until such delivery. The bonds may be issued in coupon or in registered form or both, as the Board may determine, and provision may be made for the registration of any coupon bonds as to principal alone and also as to both principal and interest, for the reconversion into coupon bonds of any bonds registered as to both principal and interest, and for the interchange of registered and coupon bonds. The Board may sell such bonds in such manner, either at public or private sale, and for such price as it may determine will best effect the purposes of this chapter.

The proceeds of the bonds of each issue shall be used solely for the payment of the cost of the airport project or projects for which such bonds shall have been issued, and shall be disbursed in such manner and under such restrictions, if any, as the Board may provide in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement hereinafter mentioned securing the same. If the proceeds of the bonds of any issue, by error of estimates or otherwise, shall be less than such cost, additional bonds may in like manner be issued to provide the amount of such deficit, and, unless otherwise provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement securing the same, shall be deemed to be of the same issue and shall be entitled to payment from the same fund without preference or priority of the bonds first issued. If the proceeds of the bonds of any issue shall exceed such cost, the surplus shall be deposited to the credit of the sinking fund for such bonds, or may be applied to the payment of the cost of any additional airport project or projects.

Prior to the preparation of definitive bonds, the Board may, under like restrictions, issue interim receipts or temporary bonds with or without coupons, exchangeable for definitive bonds when such bonds shall have been executed and are available for delivery. The Board may also provide for the replacement of any bonds which shall become mutilated or shall be destroyed or lost. Bonds may be issued under the provisions of this chapter without obtaining the consent of any department, division, commission, board, bureau or agency of the Commonwealth, and without any other proceedings or the happening of any other conditions or things than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required by this chapter.

1980, c. 750; 1982, c. 563.

§ 5.1-2.8. Trust agreement securing bonds.

In the discretion of the Board any bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter may be secured by a trust agreement by and between the Board and a corporate trustee, which may be any trust company or bank having the powers of a trust company within or without the Commonwealth. Such trust agreement or the resolution providing for the issuance of such bonds may pledge or assign the revenues to be received, but shall not convey or mortgage any airport project or any part thereof. Such trust agreement or resolution providing for the issuance of such bonds may contain such provisions for protecting and enforcing the rights and remedies of the bondholders as may be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law, including covenants setting forth the duties of the Board in relation to the acquisition of property and the acquisition, construction, establishment, improvement, extension, enlargement, equipment, maintenance, repair, operation, and insurance of the airport project or projects in connection with which such bonds shall have been authorized, the rates and fees to be charged, the custody, safeguarding, and application of all moneys, and conditions or limitations with respect to the issuance of additional bonds. It shall be lawful for any bank or trust company incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth which may act as depositary of the proceeds of bonds or of revenues to furnish such indemnifying bonds or to pledge such securities as may be required by the Board. Any such trust agreement may set forth the rights and remedies of the bondholders and of the trustee, and may restrict the individual right of action by bondholders. In addition to the foregoing, any such trust agreement or resolution may contain such other provisions as the Board may deem reasonable and proper for the security of the bondholders. All expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of such trust agreement or resolution may be treated as a part of the cost of the operation of the airport project or projects.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.9. Rents, fees and charges for services or use of facilities; use and disposition of revenues.

The Board is hereby authorized to fix, revise, charge, and collect rates, fees, and other charges for the use of or for the services and facilities furnished by each airport project and the different parts thereof, and to contract with any person, partnership, association, or corporation desiring the use of any part thereof, and to fix the terms, conditions, rents and rates of charges for such use. Such rates, fees, and other charges shall be so fixed and adjusted that revenues of the Board, together with any other available funds, will be sufficient at all times to pay (i) the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating such airport project or projects, and (ii) the principal of and the interest on such bonds as the same shall become due and payable, and to create reserves for such purposes. Such rates, fees and other charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any other commission, board, bureau or agency of the Commonwealth. The revenues derived from the airport project or projects in connection with which the bonds shall have been issued, except such part thereof as may be necessary to pay such cost of maintenance, repair, and operation and to provide such reserves therefor as may be provided for in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or in the trust agreement securing the same, shall be set aside at such regular intervals as may be provided in such resolution or such trust agreement in a sinking fund which is hereby pledged to, and charged with, the payment of the principal of and the interest on such bonds as the same shall become due, and the redemption price or the purchase price of bonds retired by call or purchase as therein provided. Such pledge shall be valid and binding from the time when the pledge is made, the revenues or other moneys so pledged and thereafter received by the Board shall immediately be subject to the lien of such pledge without any physical delivery thereof or further act, and the lien of any such pledge shall be valid and binding as against all parties having claims of any kind against the Board, irrespective of whether such parties have notice thereof. Neither the resolution nor any trust agreement by which a pledge is created need be filed or recorded except in the records of the Board. The use and disposition of moneys to the credit of such sinking fund shall be subject to the provisions of the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds or of such trust agreement. Except as may otherwise be provided in such resolution or such trust agreement, such sinking fund shall be a fund for all such bonds without distinction or priority of one over another.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.10. Moneys received deemed trust funds.

All moneys received pursuant to the authority of this chapter, whether as proceeds from the sale of bonds or as revenues, shall be deemed to be trust funds to be held and applied solely as provided in this chapter. The resolution authorizing the bonds of any issue or the trust agreement securing such bonds shall provide that any officer with whom, or any bank or trust company with which, such moneys shall be deposited shall act as trustee of such moneys and shall hold and apply the same for the purposes hereof, subject to such regulations as this chapter and such resolution or trust agreement may provide. In the case of revenues or the proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds, the trustee may invest and reinvest such funds in securities that are legal investments under the laws of the Commonwealth for funds held by fiduciaries pending their need for the construction of the projects. In the case of the proceeds of the sale of refunding bonds, the trustee may invest and reinvest such funds in direct obligations of, or obligations the principal of and the interest on which are guaranteed by, the United States of America. Such money and the interest, income and profits, if any, earned on such investment shall be available for the payment of all or any part of the principal, interest and redemption premium, if any, of the bonds being refunded. The proceeds of the sale of refunding bonds shall be so invested and applied as to ensure that the principal, interest and redemption premium, if any, on the bonds being refunded shall be paid in full on their respective maturity, redemption or interest payment dates. After the terms of the trust have been fully satisfied, any balance of such proceeds, interest, income and profits, if any, realized on the investments thereof may be returned to the Board for use by it in any lawful manner.

1980, c. 750; 1982, c. 563.

§ 5.1-2.11. Proceedings by bondholder or trustee to enforce rights.

Any holder of bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter or any of the coupons appertaining thereto, and the trustee under any trust agreement, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by such trust agreement or the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds, may, either at law or in equity, by suit, action, mandamus, or other proceeding, protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of the Commonwealth or granted hereunder or under such trust agreement or resolution, and may enforce and compel the performance of all duties required by this chapter or by such trust agreement or resolution to be performed by the Board or by any officer thereof, including the fixing, charging, and collecting of rates, fees and other charges.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.12. Bonds made securities for investment and deposit.

Bonds issued by the Board under the provisions of this chapter are hereby made securities in which all public officers and public bodies of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions, all insurance companies, trust companies, banking associations, investment companies, executors, administrators, trustees, and other fiduciaries may properly and legally invest funds, including capital in their control or belonging to them. Such bonds are hereby made securities which may properly and legally be deposited with and received by any state or municipal officer or any agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth for any purpose for which the deposit of bonds or obligations of the Commonwealth is now or may hereafter be authorized by law.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.13. Revenue refunding bonds; bonds for refunding and for cost of additional projects.

The Board is hereby authorized to provide for the issuance of revenue refunding bonds of the Board for the purpose of refunding any bonds then outstanding which shall have been issued under the provisions of this chapter, including the payment of any redemption premium thereon and any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of redemption of such bonds, and, if deemed advisable by the Board, for the additional purpose of constructing improvements, extensions, or enlargements of the airport project or projects in connection with which the bonds to be refunded shall have been issued. The Board is further authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of its revenue bonds for the combined purpose of (i) refunding any bonds then outstanding which shall have been issued under the provisions of this chapter including the payment of any redemption premium thereon and any interest accrued or to accrue to the date of redemption of such bonds, and (ii) paying all or any part of the cost of any additional airport project or projects or of any portion or portions thereof. The issuance of such bonds, the maturities, and other details thereof, the rights of the holders thereof, and the rights, duties, and obligations of the Commonwealth in respect of the same shall be governed by the provisions of this chapter insofar as the same may be applicable.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.14. Contracts, leases, and other arrangements.

A. In connection with the operation of an airport or air navigation facility owned or controlled by the Board, the Board may enter into contracts, leases, and other arrangements with any person or persons (i) granting the privilege of using or improving the airport or air navigation facility or any portion or facility thereof or space therein consistent with the purposes of this chapter; (ii) conferring the privileges of supplying goods, commodities, things, services, or facilities at the airport or air navigation facility; and (iii) making available services to be furnished by the Board or its agents at the airport or air navigation facility.

In each case the Board may establish the terms and conditions and fix the charges, rentals, or fee for the privilege or service, which shall be reasonable and uniform for the same class of privilege or service at each airport and shall be established with due regard to the property and improvements used and the expenses of operation to the Board; provided that in no case shall the public be deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use of the airport, air navigation facility, or portion of facility thereof.

B. Except as may be limited by the terms and conditions of any grant, loan, or agreement authorized by § 5.1-2.16, the Board may by contract, lease, or other arrangements, upon a consideration fixed by it, grant to any qualified person, for a term not to exceed thirty years, the privilege of operating, as agent of the Board or otherwise, any airport owned or controlled by the Board; provided that no person shall be granted any authority to operate an airport other than as a public airport or to enter into any contracts, leases, or other arrangements in connection with the operation of the airport which the Board might not have undertaken under subsection A of this section.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.15. Resolutions, rules and regulations, etc.

The Board is authorized to adopt, amend, and repeal such reasonable resolutions, rules, regulations, and orders as it shall deem necessary for the management, government, and use of any airport or air navigation facility owned by it or under its control. No rule, regulation, order, or standard prescribed by the Board shall be inconsistent with, or contrary to, any law of this Commonwealth or act of the Congress of the United States or any regulation promulgated or standard established pursuant thereto concerning such airport or the operation of aircraft. The Board shall keep on file at the principal office of the Board for public inspection a copy of all its rules and regulations.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.16. Grants or loans of public or private funds.

The Board is authorized to accept, receive, receipt for, disburse, and expend federal and state moneys and other moneys, public or private, made available by grant or loan or both, to accomplish, in whole or in part, any of the purposes of this chapter. All federal moneys accepted under this section shall be accepted and expended by the Board upon such terms and conditions as are prescribed by the United States and as are consistent with state law, and all state moneys accepted under this section shall be accepted and expended by the Board upon such terms and conditions as are prescribed by the Commonwealth. State moneys allocated pursuant to § 33.2-1526.6 shall not be used for (i) operating costs unless otherwise approved by the Board or (ii) purposes related to supporting the operation of an airline, either directly or indirectly, through grants, credit enhancements, or other related means.

In considering or evaluating the application for or award of any grant of moneys under this section, the Board shall take into account the capacities of all airports within the affected geographic region.

1980, c. 750; 1998, c. 480; 2017, c. 709; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

§ 5.1-2.17. Exemptions from taxes or assessments; payments to county or city in lieu of taxes.

The exercise of the powers granted by this chapter will be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth, for the increase of their commerce and prosperity, and for the improvement of their health and living conditions, and as the operation and maintenance of airport projects by the Board will constitute the performance of essential governmental functions. The Board shall not be required to pay any taxes or assessments upon any airport project or any property acquired or used by the Board under the provisions of this chapter or upon the income therefrom, and any bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter, their transfer and the income therefrom, including any profit made on the sale thereof, shall at all times be free from taxation within the Commonwealth; provided that the exemption hereby granted shall not be construed to extend to persons conducting on the premises of an airport businesses for which local or state taxes would otherwise be required. When the bonds or other obligations of the Board issued in connection with the acquisition, construction or improvement of an airport or air navigation facility have been paid, or at an earlier date if the Board deems it financially feasible, the Board shall enter into negotiations with the governing body of the political subdivision in which such airport or facility is located and may agree with such governing body on sums to be paid to the county or city in lieu of taxes. In case of disagreement as to the value of the property, an appeal shall lie to the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the airport or facility is located which court shall determine the value of such property and the ratio of assessed to true values of property in such political subdivision.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.18. Joint agency or authority; agreements authorized; terms.

The Board may, to the extent permitted by law, enter into agreements with agencies or authorities in this Commonwealth or from adjoining states or with an agency or authority of the United States for joint action pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Each such agreement shall specify its duration, the proportionate interest which each participating authority or agency shall have in the property, facilities, and privileges of the joint undertaking; the apportionment of the costs of the undertaking among the participating authorities or agencies; the disposition of all property, facilities, and privileges jointly owned upon termination of such agreement or any renewal thereof; the payment or assumption of any indebtedness arising out of such joint operation which remains unpaid upon the disposal of all assets or upon the termination of the agreement or any renewal thereof; and such other provisions as may be necessary to insure efficient operation of the joint undertaking.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.19. Same; governing body; officers and agents; powers generally.

The agreement shall specify the composition of the governing body of the joint agency or authority created under § 5.1-2.18; provided, however, that the membership thereof from this Commonwealth shall be the same as the membership of the Board created by § 5.1-2.1. Each joint authority shall select officers for such terms as are fixed by the agreement and shall have the power to employ such agents and employees as it may require and as are reasonably necessary in carrying out the purposes of this chapter. Subject to the limitations and restrictions hereinafter set forth, such joint authority shall have the powers set forth in § 5.1-2.2:1.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.20. Same; eminent domain.

Eminent domain proceedings shall not be instituted by any joint authority except by majority vote of each component agency or authority of such joint authority. If so instituted, any property or rights acquired thereunder shall be held by such agencies or authorities jointly, according to the terms of the agreement creating the joint authority.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.21. Same; disposal of airport or facility.

The joint authority shall not dispose of any airport, airport navigational facility or real property under its jurisdiction except by majority vote of each component agency or authority; provided, however, that this restriction shall not be construed to apply to any disposition of property contemplated or permitted by § 5.1-2.2:1.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.22. Acquisition of airport previously operated by United States.

Whenever the Board shall acquire ownership and jurisdiction over any airport or airports previously operated by an agency of the United States, the Board is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement with such agency of the United States, as a condition of the acquisition of the airport, for the provision, necessary and appropriate use, maintenance, and operation, of such airport facilities as may be required by the United States or any specified agency or agencies thereof.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.23. Board as successor to Virginia Airports Authority.

The Board is the successor in interest to that political subdivision formerly known as the Virginia Airports Authority. As such, the Board stands in the place and stead of, and assumes all rights and duties formerly of, such Authority, including but not limited to all leases, contracts, grants-in-aid and all other agreements of whatsoever nature; holds title to all realty and personalty formerly held by such Authority; and may exercise all powers which might at any time past have been exercised by said Authority.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-2.24. Applicability of certain sections.

The provisions of §§ 5.1-2.5, 5.1-2.7, 5.1-2.8, 5.1-2.9, 5.1-2.10, 5.1-2.11, 5.1-2.12, 5.1-2.13, and 5.1-2.20 of this chapter shall be applicable only to any airport owned by the Virginia Airports Authority or its successor agency on January 1, 1980.

1980, c. 750.

§ 5.1-3. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-4. Aircraft for use of Department; construction, etc., of aviation facilities by Department.

Within the limits of appropriations made for such purposes, the Department is authorized to purchase aircraft for the use of the Department, provided, however, that the Department shall not purchase any new or used executive aircraft unless specifically requested in the Governor's budget and approved by the General Assembly in the Appropriations Act, and to purchase land for and to construct, maintain and improve airports, landing fields and other aviation facilities within the Commonwealth for the promotion of aviation in the interest of the public; and neither the appropriations nor any part thereof may be transferred or used for any other purpose than is specified in this section.

Code 1950, § 5-4; 1966, c. 576; 1970, c. 717; 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-5. Registration of aircraft.

A. Every resident of the Commonwealth owning a civil aircraft, every nonresident owning a civil aircraft based in the Commonwealth for more than 90 days during any calendar year, and every owner of an aerial application aircraft operating within the Commonwealth or of a civil aircraft operated in the Commonwealth as a for-hire intrastate air carrier shall register such aircraft with the Department before such aircraft is operated in the Commonwealth. Any owner of an unmanned aircraft as defined in § 19.2-60.1 shall not be required to register such aircraft.

B. The Department shall provide for the issuance, expiration, suspension, and revocation of aircraft registration in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board. For the purposes of the tax imposed pursuant to Chapter 15 (§ 58.1-1500 et seq.) of Title 58.1, including any credit granted pursuant to § 58.1-1504 against such tax, such aircraft registration shall be considered the licensure required by such chapter. The Department shall furnish any necessary forms pursuant to the issuance of such registration and may assess a fee for such issuance not in excess of $5 annually. The Department may, in lieu of issuing aircraft registration required by subsection A, issue commercial aircraft registration to air carriers and commercial dealers and issue to noncommercial dealers noncommercial dealer fleet registration, to cover all aircraft owned by such dealers and all aircraft for sale held by dealers on a consignment basis from an aircraft manufacturer. The Department may assess a fee not in excess of $50 annually for any such noncommercial dealer fleet registrations issued and a fee not in excess of $100 annually for any such commercial fleet registrations issued. The fee for a commercial single aircraft registration shall not be in excess of $10 annually.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, no aircraft shall be required to be registered if the aircraft is brought into the Commonwealth solely for major maintenance or major repair. An aircraft owner shall provide proof that the aircraft is based at an airport in another state, shown by evidence of a hangar or tie-down lease for a minimum of 12 months prior to the aircraft being brought into the Commonwealth, and proof of the work being performed in the Commonwealth, shown by presentation of invoices that describe such work.

Code 1950, § 5-5; 1966, c. 576; 1970, c. 717; 1974, c. 431; 1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 721; 2017, c. 793; 2020, c. 1255; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 45, 46, 372.

§ 5.1-6. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 45.

§ 5.1-7. Licensing of airports and landing areas.

Except as provided in § 5.1-7.2, every person, before operating an airport or landing area or adding or extending a runway, shall first secure from the Department a license. The application therefor shall be made on the form prescribed and furnished by the Department and shall be accompanied by a fee not exceeding $100.

Such license shall be issued for a period not to exceed seven years and shall be renewed every seven years. Before issuing such license, the Department shall require the holder of such license to furnish proof of financial responsibility prescribed in Chapter 8.2 (§ 5.1-88.7 et seq.).

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any airport or landing area which is open to the general public for the landing or departure of any aircraft until a license therefor shall be issued by the Department.

Before issuing such license for the establishment of a new airport, the Department shall investigate the location of such airport or landing area with the relation to its proximity to and its runway orientation in relation to any other airport or landing area and shall provide for the safety of civil aircraft alighting thereon or departing therefrom. If the proposed airport or landing area shall be so situated as to endanger aircraft using the same or any other airport or landing area in close proximity, and if proper provisions have not been made in all other respects for the safety of aircraft alighting thereon or departing therefrom, the license shall not be granted. To be licensed, an airport required to be licensed under § 5.1-7.2 must meet this criterion and any applicable requirement provided for in regulation promulgated under this section, but no others.

The Board may, by regulation, adopt any other requirements for licensure that are related to the safety of civil aircraft using such airport or landing area. Any airport having a license issued prior to October 1, 1995, and not meeting one or more minimum standards as defined in Part III (24VAC5-20-120 et seq.) of the Virginia Aviation Regulations, shall be exempt from having to comply with those noncomplying standards for as long as the airport remains an active public-use facility unless those noncomplying standards are caused by natural growth. Should such airport cease to be open to the public for one year, and subsequently reopen, it shall be required to comply with all applicable minimum standards for licensure.

In addition to the above safety requirements, before a license is initially issued, the Department shall consider the reviews and comments of appropriate state agencies coordinated by the Department of Environmental Quality, and shall cause a public hearing to be held concerning the economic, social and environmental effects of the location or runway orientation of the airport or landing area if the facility is listed in the Virginia Air Transportation System Plan; however, such coordinated review by the Department of Environmental Quality shall not exceed 90 days after the Department has requested review by the Department of Environmental Quality. The public hearing required by this section shall be conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality in the jurisdiction in which the airport or landing area is located, after publication of notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in such jurisdiction at least 10 days in advance of such hearing.

Any license issued shall describe the number of runways, the length and orientation of each runway and/or, if appropriate, the landing area.

If a runway is to be extended or new runways are to be added, a revised license shall be applied for from the Department. If the airport or landing area is listed in the Virginia Air Transportation System Plan, the Department shall consider the reviews and comments of appropriate state agencies, coordinated by the Department of Environmental Quality, and shall cause a public hearing to be held concerning the economic, social and environmental effects of such changes to the license.

Whenever a public hearing is called for herein, if there has been a public hearing associated with the development of any environmental documents to comply with the receipt of federal funds, the Department and the Department of Environmental Quality may rely on such document or hearing in carrying out their respective duties set out in this section.

If an airport or landing area cannot meet the requirements for licensure that have been adopted by the Virginia Aviation Board, or having met those requirements cannot maintain compliance, the Department may issue conditional licenses to allow time for the airport or landing areas to take steps to meet those requirements or may revoke any license issued, if requirements for licensure are not met or cannot be met.

Any party aggrieved by the granting or refusal to grant any such license shall have a right of appeal to the circuit court of the jurisdiction where the airport or landing area is to be located, which appeal shall be filed in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

All airports or landing areas that hold licenses or permits shall be issued new licenses, without charge, on or before October 1, 1995, describing the number, length and orientation of the runway or runways or, if appropriate, the landing area, which shall be valid for up to seven years. The length of the new license term may be staggered so that all licenses will not become renewable at the same time. If any airport landing area does not meet the current requirements for licensure, a new license may be issued.

Code 1950, § 5-7; 1966, c. 576; 1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 721; 1981, c. 326; 1991, c. 126; 1995, cc. 682, 690; 1996, cc. 148, 303; 2011, c. 75.

§ 5.1-7.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1980, c. 56.

§ 5.1-7.2. Registration of private landing areas not within five miles of commercial airport.

Any person owning an area for landing any aircraft, which area is not within five miles of a commercial airport and has been constructed by such person for his private use and which is not open to the general public, shall only be required to register, upon forms furnished by the Department, such landing area with the Department and with the Federal Aviation Administration.

1981, c. 326.

§ 5.1-7.3. Duty of care and liability for damages of owners of private landing areas.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Fee" means any payment or payments of money to a landowner for use of the premises or in order to engage in any activity described in subsections B and C, but does not include any action taken by another to improve the land or access to the land for the purposes set forth in subsections B and C or to remedy damage caused by such uses.

"Land" or "premises" means any privately owned area for landing any aircraft, that is not open to the general public, and that is registered with the Department and the Federal Aviation Administration pursuant to § 5.1-7.2.

"Landowner" means the legal title holder, lessee, occupant, or any other person in control of the land or premises.

B. A landowner shall not be liable for ordinary negligence related to conditions on his premises that proximately cause damage to property or injury to occupants of an aircraft or ultralight vehicle landing on or taking off from such premises, provided that no commercial operation is being conducted on or about the premises.

C. Any landowner who gives permission, express or implied, to another person to operate aircraft or ultralight vehicles of any type for the personal use of such person or for the use of an easement as set forth in subsection B does not thereby:

1. Impliedly or expressly represent that the premises are safe for such purposes;

2. Grant invitee status or its corresponding duty of care to the person to whom such permission has been granted; or

3. Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any intentional or negligent acts of such person or any other person, except as provided in subsection D.

D. Nothing contained in this section shall limit the liability of a landowner that may otherwise arise or exist by reason of his gross negligence or willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity. The provisions of this section shall not limit the liability of a landowner that may otherwise arise or exist when the landowner receives a fee for use of the premises or to engage in any activity described in subsection B or C. Nothing contained in this section shall relieve any landowner who sponsors or conducts any event or competition of the duty to exercise ordinary care in such events.

2012, c. 302.

§ 5.1-8. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1995, cc. 682 and 690, effective October 1, 1995.

§ 5.1-9. Disposition of fees.

All fees or sums collected by the Department under the provisions of this chapter shall be paid into the special fund created by § 5.1-51.

Code 1950, § 5-9; 1966, c. 576; 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-9.1. Certain privately owned airports declared to be works of public improvement; exemption from local taxation authorized.

(a) Any public use privately owned airport in this Commonwealth, or any improvements made thereto, which is open to the public at no charge and which has been licensed by the Department is hereby declared to be a work of internal improvement.

(b) The governing body of any city, town or county in this Commonwealth is authorized to exempt from local taxation, as an inducement to their location, the runways and taxiways of any privately owned, public use airport, which is available to the public at no charge and which has been licensed by the Department.

Code 1950, § 5-9.1; 1966, c. 221; 1970, c. 717; 1979, c. 272; 1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-9.2. Contract carriers; permit and registration required.

No person shall operate or engage in the business of a contract carrier by aircraft intrastate in the airspace of this Commonwealth unless such person has secured from the Department a permit authorizing him to conduct such operation or to engage in such business and has registered under § 5.1-5 all aircraft used in this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 5.1-103; 1970, c. 708; 1979, c. 357; 1980, c. 721; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-9.3. Same; application for permit; fee; action of Department.

Any person desiring a permit under this chapter shall file with the Department an application in the form prescribed by the Department with a fee of fifty dollars. Such application shall contain a promise of compliance by the applicant with the provisions of this title and with the lawful rules and regulations of the Department governing the operations of contract carriers by aircraft in the airspace of the Commonwealth. Such application may be filed with the Department by the applicant in person or transmitted by registered mail. Upon being satisfied that the provisions of this chapter and the lawful rules and regulations of the Department adopted pursuant hereto, which are prerequisite to the granting of a permit, have been complied with, the Department shall issue such permit to such applicant, subject to such terms, limitations and restrictions as the Department may deem proper, without further proceedings.

Code 1950, § 5.1-104; 1970, c. 708; 1972, c. 232; 1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-9.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 45.

§ 5.1-9.5. Contract carriers; bonds, insurance or certificate of insurance required prior to issuance of registration or permit; securities deposited in lieu thereof.

A. No registration or permit shall be issued by the Department to any contract carrier by aircraft until and after such contract carrier has filed with the Department an insurance policy, a bond underwritten by an insurer, or certificate of insurance in lieu thereof, which certificate shall certify that such policy or bond covers the liability of such contract carrier in accordance with the provisions of this statute.

B. Such policy, bond or certificate of insurance shall be issued or underwritten only by an insurer approved or authorized to do business in Virginia, or by one who is eligible as a surplus lines insurer pursuant to Chapter 48 (§ 38.2-4805.1 et seq.) of Title 38.2, and shall be in amounts not less than the following minimum limits: liability for bodily injury to or death of any one person, passenger or other, aboard the aircraft; $75,000, liability for each occurrence in any one aircraft of at least an amount equal to the sum produced by multiplying $75,000 by seventy-five percent of the total number of passenger seats installed in the aircraft; and liability for loss or damage to cargo owned by others than the insured of at least $10,000 for each occurrence. However, the holder of a registration or permit issued by the Department shall not be required to file any cargo insurance, bond, or bonds for cargo liability for the hauling of property transported under contract.

C. In no event shall the limits required herein for contract carriers be less than those prescribed for like carriers by the Civil Aeronautics Board or the Federal Aviation Administration or their successors.

D. In lieu of such policy, underwritten bond or certificate of insurance, a contract carrier may, with the consent of the Department, submit bonds, in an amount approved by the Department, of the United States of America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or of any municipality of this Commonwealth as security for its bond. Such federal, state, or municipal bonds shall be deposited with the State Treasurer, and shall not be reduced in amount, pledged as security, or otherwise encumbered for any other purpose during the life of such registration or permit, except with the prior written approval of the Department.

1980, c. 721; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-9.6. Same; duration and custody of bonds, etc.

Insurance policies, bonds, certificates of insurance, or federal, state, or municipal bonds filed with the Department shall be kept in full force at all times. The policy, bond, or certificate of insurance shall remain in the custody of the Department six months after the insurance or bond has expired or has been canceled for any cause. If federal, state, or municipal bonds are deposited with the State Treasurer as security, such bonds shall remain so deposited until six months after the authority for use of equipment insured has expired or is cancelled for any cause, unless otherwise ordered by the Department.

1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-9.7. Same; condition of bond, etc.

The insurance bond, or other security, shall obligate the insurer or surety to pay any final judgment for damages sustained by the passengers, shippers, or consignees for injury to any passenger or passengers, or for loss or damage to property entrusted to such contract carrier when a cargo policy is required, and for any and all injuries to persons and loss of, or damage to, property resulting from the negligent operation of any aircraft.

1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-9.8. Same; effect of failure to give or maintain adequate security.

Failure of any contract carrier holding a registration or permit issued by and under the authority of the Department to comply with any of the provisions of §§ 5.1-9.5 through 5.1-9.7 shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishable as such.

1980, c. 721; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-9.9. Same; duration of permits; suspension or revocation; penalty.

A. Contract carrier permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be effective from the date of issuance and shall remain in effect only so long as the contract carrier's insurance, underwritten bond or certificate of insurance required by § 5.1-9.5 remains in full force and effect.

B. The Department may suspend or revoke such permit for violation of any of the aviation laws of this Commonwealth or of the United States of America, or for violation of any of the rules and regulations of the Virginia Aviation Board.

C. Willful misrepresentation of any material fact in obtaining a contract carrier permit shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishable as such.

1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-10. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-11. Government-owned aircraft.

This article shall not apply to public aircraft owned by the United States but shall apply to all other public aircraft.

Code 1950, § 5-14; 1966, c. 576; 1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-12. Federally certificated airlines and interstate service.

This article shall not apply to any aircraft operated by any air carrier operating under Federal Aviation Regulation Part 121 or Part 135 if operating with an exemption from Title IV of the Federal Aviation Act to provide scheduled passenger service.

Code 1950, § 5-14; 1966, c. 576; 1980, c. 721; 1988, c. 45; 1991, c. 535.

Article 2. Illegal Operation, Etc.; Procedure; Penalties.

§ 5.1-13. Operation of aircraft while under influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs; reckless operation.

Any person who shall operate any aircraft within the airspace over, above or upon the lands or waters of this Commonwealth, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of any narcotic or any habit-forming drugs shall be guilty of a felony and shall be confined in a state correctional facility not less than one nor more than five years, or, in the discretion of the court or jury trying the case, be confined in jail not exceeding twelve months and fined not exceeding $500, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Any person who shall operate any aircraft within the airspace over, above or upon the lands or waters of this Commonwealth carelessly or heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and in a manner so as to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 5-10.1; 1964, c. 416; 1966, c. 576.

§ 5.1-14. Operation of unregistered aircraft.

Any person who operates or causes to be operated any civil aircraft within the airspace over, above or upon the lands or waters of this Commonwealth, which aircraft has not been and is not at the time of such operation properly certificated under and in accordance with existing federal law and registered under and in accordance with the existing laws of this Commonwealth and rules and regulations promulgated in pursuance thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 5-10.2; 1966, c. 576; 2017, c. 793.

§ 5.1-15. Operation of aircraft by unlicensed persons.

Any person who operates any civil aircraft within the airspace over, above, or upon the lands or waters of this Commonwealth, without being, at the time of such operation, in possession of a valid airman's certificate for such operation, issued under and in accordance with existing federal law shall be deemed to be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 5-10.3; 1966, c. 576; 1988, c. 45.

§ 5.1-16. Tampering with, etc., airplanes or markings of airports, landing fields or other aeronautical facilities.

It shall be unlawful for any person to tamper with, alter, destroy, remove, carry away, or cause to be carried away, an airplane or other flying device or instrumentality or any objects used for the marking of airports, landing fields, drop zones or other aeronautical facilities, or in any way change their position or location, except by and under the direction of the proper authorities charged with the maintenance and operation of such facilities. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section or who shall illegally have in his possession any objects or devices used for such markings, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 5-10.4; 1966, c. 576.

§ 5.1-16.1. Misuse of licensed airports.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to use licensed airport runways, taxiways or ramp areas for other than aeronautical purposes without written approval of the controlling authority of such airport.

1970, c. 717.

§ 5.1-17. Use of aircraft for hunting.

It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, pursue or kill any wild waterfowl or other birds or animals by any means whatever during such time as such person is in flight in an aircraft in the airspace over the lands or waters of this Commonwealth. A violation of this section shall be deemed a misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 5-10.5; 1966, c. 576.

§ 5.1-18. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 45.

§ 5.1-20. Pilot may restrain or arrest person interfering with operation of aircraft carrying passengers for hire.

The pilot of any aircraft carrying passengers for hire, or any person subject to his direction, may take such action as is reasonably necessary to restrain or arrest any person who interferes with, or threatens to interfere with, the operation of the aircraft in flight over the territory of this Commonwealth or to a destination within this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 5-14.1; 1958, c. 561, § 1; 1966, c. 576.

§ 5.1-21. Powers of conservator of the peace conferred upon pilot.

The pilot of any aircraft carrying passengers for hire while actively engaged in the operation of such aircraft shall be a special policeman and have all the powers of a conservator of the peace in the enforcement of order on such aircraft and while in pursuit of persons for disorder upon such aircraft and until such persons as may be arrested by him shall have been placed in confinement or delivered to the custody of some other conservator of the peace or police officer.

Code 1950, § 5-14.2; 1958, c. 561, § 2; 1966, c. 576.

§ 5.1-21.1. Powers of conservators of the peace conferred upon airport managers or designees.

The airport manager of any licensed Virginia airport or in his absence not more than two employees who are designated by him shall be special policemen and have all the powers of conservators of the peace in the enforcement of this title and its regulations as promulgated by the Board. Persons arrested by them shall be placed in confinement or delivered to the custody of some other conservator of the peace or police officer.

1970, c. 717; 1979, c. 272; 1991, c. 339.

§ 5.1-22. Interference with operation of aircraft; penalties; venue.

Any person who interferes with or threatens to interfere with the operation of any aircraft, unless he is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration or the armed forces of the United States, on or over the territory of the Commonwealth shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Where the act or acts of interference or threatened interference are of such a nature as to endanger the life of the aircraft's operator or the life of any other person, the person interfering or threatening to interfere shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. Any person who knowingly and intentionally projects a point of light from a laser, laser gun sight, or any other device that simulates a laser at an aircraft is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Venue for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest and trial of any such person is hereby conferred upon any court having criminal jurisdiction in the political subdivision in the Commonwealth where the aircraft either took off prior to such offense, or where it lands or comes to rest subsequent to such offense, or in or over which the offense occurred.

Code 1950, § 5-14.3; 1958, c. 561, § 3; 1966, c. 576; 1983, c. 560; 2012, c. 398.

§ 5.1-23. Jurisdiction of local and State Police.

The local police authorities of any city, incorporated town or county shall have jurisdiction on the premises of any airport, drop zone or landing field operated hereunder, either individually or jointly and the State Police shall have jurisdiction to investigate any aircraft accident. In the exercise of such jurisdiction the State Police and officers of the department of law enforcement of any city or county with an optional form of government may enter with immunity and without a warrant upon private property for the purpose of conducting such investigations. This section shall not repeal the provisions of any city charter in conflict herewith.

Code 1950, § 5-37; 1966, c. 576; 1968, c. 737; 1979, c. 394; 1980, c. 721.

§ 5.1-24. Penalties.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter, or violating any of the rules or regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the Board, except as otherwise specifically provided, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment in jail not exceeding one month, or both, in the discretion of the judge or jury trying the case; provided, that any person (excepting any government, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or governmental subdivision or agency) establishing or operating an airport without first obtaining a permit as provided in § 5.1-8 shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each offense, and each day that the airport is operated without such permit shall be construed as a separate offense.

Code 1950, § 5-11; 1966, c. 576; 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-25. Operation of aircraft by nonresident.

A nonresident of this Commonwealth may operate aircraft engaged in operations other than for hire or reward in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board, provided such nonresident and the aircraft to be so operated shall have been certified under federal law and shall have complied with the laws of the state in which such nonresident resides relative to aircraft and the operation thereof. A nonresident-owned aircraft engaged in intrastate operation for hire or reward must be licensed with the Department in accordance with this title and the Board's regulations.

Code 1950, § 5-12; 1966, c. 576; 1970, c. 717; 1979, c. 272; 1988, c. 45.

Article 3. Structures Dangerous to Aircraft.

§ 5.1-25.1. Permit required for erection of certain structures.

It shall be unlawful for any person to erect any structure, any part of which penetrates into or through any licensed airport's or United States government or military air facility's clear zone, approach zone, imaginary surface, obstruction clearance surface, obstruction clearance zone, or surface or zone as described in regulations of the Department of Aviation or the Federal Aviation Administration, without securing a permit for its erection from the Board. This section shall not apply to any structure to be erected in a county, city or town which has an ordinance regulating the height of such structures to prevent the penetration of zones and surfaces provided for in Federal Aviation Regulation Part 77 and Rule 19 of the Department of Aviation.

For the purpose of this section, "structure" shall mean any object, including a mobile object, constructed or erected by man, including but not limited to buildings, towers, cranes, smokestacks, earth formations, overhead transmission lines, flag poles, and ship masts.

1968, c. 744; 1979, c. 272; 1981, c. 326; 1989, cc. 202, 255; 1990, c. 384.

§ 5.1-25.2. Application for permit; notice and hearing.

Any person desiring to erect or cause to be erected any such structure shall make application to the Department for the issuance of a permit for such erection. Such application shall be forwarded immediately to the Board. The Department shall undertake an appropriate review of such application and submit its contents in writing to the Board as expeditiously as possible. The Board, after such notice to the public as it deems necessary, shall hold a public hearing not less than thirty days after the giving of such notice at which all interested parties shall be admitted to attend and state any objection which they may have to the erection of such structure.

1968, c. 744; 1979, c. 272.

§ 5.1-25.3. When permit issued or denied; conditions to issuance.

The Board, if it finds that the erection of such structure will not be dangerous to aircraft using the airways of this Commission, shall issue the permit requested; but if it shall find that the erection of such structure will create a hazard to aircraft using such airways, it shall refuse the issuance of such a permit. The Board may, as a condition to the issuance of any permit, require the installation and maintenance of warning lights and any other devices which may be reasonably required to reduce the hazard which might be presented by the erection of such structure.

1968, c. 744.

§ 5.1-25.4. Injunctions.

If any person commences the erection of a structure of the nature described in § 5.1-25.1 without securing the permit therein required, the Department shall have power to apply forthwith to the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the structure is located or is to be located, for injunctive relief.

1968, c. 744; 1979, c. 272.