Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Ecuador
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Ecuador
The Ecuadorian agency responsible for drone safety, GDCAE, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in Ecuador?
According to GDCAE, drone use is allowed in Ecuador, subject to GDCAE regulations. Read on for more details.
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Ecuador:
- Only fly during the day and in good weather conditions with clear visibility.
- Do not fly above 400 feet.
- Keep your drone within direct visibility.
- Do not fly closer than 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) from all airports and airfields.
- Do not fly in sensitive areas, such as government or military facilities.
- You may only use automatic flight maneuvers if you can intervene as a pilot at any time during the operation.
The owner or operator of the RPAS / UAS is responsible for any damages caused to third parties due to their flight activities and must therefore obtain an insurance policy covering civil legal liability to third parties in the minimum amounts specified.
- Between 02 and 25 Kg. USD 3,000.00 of maximum take-off weight (MTOW)
- Greater than 25 kilograms. USD 5,000.00 of maximum take-off weight (MTOW)
Galapagos National Park prohibits using drones in flight. The PNG created this law to avoid causing damage to the island’s delicate ecosystem, as animals and birds may be scared or collide with these aircraft. The use of drones on the islands is strictly restricted to research and monitoring purposes or with special permission for commercial purposes.
Full information can be obtained by contacting the GNPD.
No specific criminal penalties have been disclosed for illegal drone operations.
Additional Notes For Foreign Operators
If you’re visiting Ecuador and wish to bring your drone, the GDCAE recommends the following special considerations for foreigners who want to fly drones:
When visiting Ecuador as a tourist, you can bring a drone worth up to USD 500 into the country. Drones brought into Ecuador with a market value greater than USD 500 may be subject to a tax of up to 35% of the assessed value. This tax may or may not be refundable upon exiting the country, provided you return with the drone.
You may be tax-exempt if you can demonstrate that you will use your drone professionally in Ecuador.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Ecuador
If the drone operator does not intend to use the drone professionally, the drone will not be duty-free.
See general rules above.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Ecuador
If you use a drone as work equipment, you must demonstrate that the kit fits that purpose. In addition, you must carry a document indicating the planned activities.
If the drone operator is a photographer, they must possess proof of qualification or a copy of the diploma attesting to the photographer’s commitment to the profession.
The drone must leave the country immediately upon completion of the work.
See general rules above.
Useful published information on flying drones in Ecuador
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Ecuador…
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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