Drone Laws in Gabon

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Gabonese Republic

Agence Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ANAC) du Gabon

Gabon RPAS Regulation Summary and Laws


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Gabon

The Gabon agency responsible for drone safety, ANAC, 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 Gabon?

According to ANAC, drone operations are allowed in Gabon, subject to ANAC regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Liberia:

Classification and use 

Civil remotely piloted aircraft are classified into the following categories: 

  • Category A: Motorized or non-mass model aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of less than 25 kilograms, or inert gas aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of less than 25 kilograms, all of which use a single type of propulsion and adhere to the following restrictions: 
    • Thermal engine: total displacement less than or equal to 250 cm. 
    • Electric motor: total power less than or equal to 15 KW. 
    • Turbo propeller: total thrust less than or equal to 30 daN, with a thrust-to-weight ratio less than or equal to 1.3 without fuel.
    • Hot air total mass of less than or equal to 5 kg.
    • Bottled gas loaded less than or equal to 5 kg. 
    • Any captive model aircraft. 
  • Category B: Any model aircraft that does not adhere to the characteristics of category A falls into this category. 
  • Category C: Captive remotely piloted aircraft with a maximum mass of less than 150 kg at take-off. 
  • Category D: Remotely piloted aircraft that are not model aircraft, whether motorized or not, that is not captive and have a maximum take-off weight of less than 2 kg, or, in the case of inert gas aircraft, a total mass of less than 2 kg. 
  • Category E includes remotely piloted aircraft that are not model aircraft, are not classified as category C or D, are not motorized, have a maximum take-off weight of less than 25 kilograms, or are inert gas remote-controlled vehicles with a total mass of less than 25 kilograms. 
  • Category F: Remotely piloted aircraft that are not model aircraft and have a maximum take-off weight of less than 150 kg but do not meet the C, D, D, or E requirements. 
  • Category G: Remotely piloted aircraft that are not model aircraft and do not meet the criteria for categories C to F are classified as Category G. 

Unmanned aircraft must be kept within the cargo enclosed spaces and be separate passengers and crew. 

Any unmanned aircraft operating within the borders of the Gabonese Republic, as well as its specific onboard equipment, must be identified by the aviation authority, which maintains an identification register to that effect. 

The regulations defining the rules and procedures for identifying unmanned aircraft onboard and their equipment-specific onboard vehicles are proposed by the Authority. 

Requests for the use of RPAS inside the spaces referred to above are subject to review by the civil aviation authority, which determines their admissibility, including the aircraft’s airworthiness, remote pilot certification, and compatibility with specific types of airspace. 

The Authority issues the certificate of airworthiness. 

Regulations specify the types of airspace that may be used. 

Any deviation from the provisions of the preceding article must be expressly authorized by the competent aviation authority and the Ministry responsible for National Defense or Public Security. 

To conduct aeromodelling activities and other specific activities that require a remotely piloted aircraft to fly, the remotely piloted aircraft must operate outside of populated areas unless expressly authorized by the Authority responsible for civil aviation. 

In the event of an exemption, the aircraft should be flown at a lower altitude than the minimum flight heights defined by the applicable air rules for the area overflown, provided that this does not result in a clear risk of damage to others. 

When flights are made within an aerodrome’s right-of-way or near infrastructure used for landing or take-off, the conditions for carrying out the related activities and any deviations from the prescriptions of this decree are subject to agreement between the activity manager and the supplier of air navigation services, unless the activity manager and the supplier of air navigation services agree otherwise. 

When the flight of an RPAS is likely to overfly a restricted, dangerous, or prohibited area, the competent civil aviation authority must obtain the prior formal opinion of the ministers responsible for National Defense or Public Security. 

A model aircraft can fly only within the visual range of its remote pilot. 

A remotely piloted aircraft of category G may be authorized to operate outside the direct sight of the remote pilot if the remote pilot is certified with the aircraft’s control system and control. 

Remotely piloted aircraft taxiing out of the line of sight of the day must adhere to the following requirements: 

  • Not operate in a restricted, dangerous, or prohibited area, or controlled airspace: 
  • Do not fly closer than 15 kilometers from the reference point of an aerodrome equipped with instruments. 
  • Do not fly closer than 3.5 kilometers from the reference point of any aircraft’s final approach or take-off area.
  • Do not fly closer than 2.5 kilometers from the reference point of any platform intended for permanent use by ultralight motorized aircraft, and 
  • do not fly closer than 5 kilometers from the reference point of any other aerodrome. 
  • The flight height restriction specified above is increased to 150 meters when the aircraft has a maximum take-off mass of less than 2 kg and operates under a special authorization issued by the civil aviation authority. 

Unless expressly waived by the Authority responsible for civil aviation, the remote pilot cannot fly an RPAS while onboard another moving vehicle. 

Within the meaning of this decree, specific activities include the following: 

  • agricultural, phytosanitary, or sanitary protection, and other spreading operations on the ground or dispersed in the atmosphere.
  • Towing banners or other forms of publicity.
  • Surveys, photographs, observations, and surveillance, aerial activities, including participation in firefighting.
  • Any other activity requiring an exemption from the rules of the air and training in aforementioned. 

The regulatory framework establishes the requirements for remotely piloted aircraft used in specific activities and the personnel who carry them out. 

The civil aviation authority may engage any approved external expertise to conduct verification and monitoring activities per this decree’s application. 

The civil aviation authority may take measures to prohibit or restrict the use of a remotely piloted aircraft, a category of aircraft, or the activity of an operator, as deemed necessary for third-party safety. 

Only those corrective measures deemed adequate by the competent civil aviation authority may result in the aircraft or activity being resumed. 

The provisions of the relevant texts govern the operator’s responsibility. 

Any violation of the provisions of this decree is punishable under the applicable statutes. 

The provisions of this decree do not apply to RPAS that are owned, chartered, or leased by the State to maintain public order; free balloons, particularly sounding balloons used for surveys and studies of the atmosphere rockets; and kites. 

Authorization granted by another State to a taxiing RPAS, remote pilot, or operator does not constitute a waiver of the provisions of this decree. 

The pilot-in-command of an aircraft will ultimately decide on the use of that aircraft while in command.

Persons performing functions critical to aviation safety (Safety Critical Personnel) will not perform those functions if they are under the influence of any psychoactive substance which impairs human performance. These people will not engage in any form of problematic substance use.

Nothing will be thrown or sprayed from an aircraft in flight except under the conditions prescribed by the Authority of Civil Aviation and in the manner indicated in the information, notices, and/or authorizations from the competent body of the services of air traffic.

A remotely piloted aircraft will be operated in such a way as to present the least possible danger to people, property, or other aircraft, and per the conditions specified below.

General operating rules for RPAS in Gabon

  • A remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) used in international air navigation shall not be operated without the appropriate authorization from the State from which the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is to be taken off.
  • An RPA shall not pass through the territory of other States without special authorization from each State in which the aircraft is to be flown. This authorization may take the form of an agreement between the states concerned.
  • An RPA will not be operated over the high seas without prior coordination with the appropriate ATS authority.
  • The clearance and coordination referred to above will be obtained before take-off if there is good reason to believe during flight planning that the aircraft will enter the airspace in question.
  • An RPAS will be operated per the conditions specified by the State of Registry and, if another State, by the State of the Operator and by the State (s) in which the aircraft must fly.
  • A flight plan will be filed following the provisions of these regulations or with the requirements of the State or States in which the aircraft is to fly.
  • The RPAS will meet the performance and equipment specifications applicable to the specific airspace in which the aircraft is to fly.

Certificates and licenses

Note 1: Assembly Resolution A37-15, Appendix G, provides that pending the entry into force of international standards relating to different types, classes, or categories of aircraft, certificates issued or validated under National regulations by the Contracting State where the aircraft is registered will be recognized by the other Contracting States for the performance of flights over their territory, including landings and take-offs.

Note 2: Standards for issuing certificates and licenses have not yet been developed. Until such time, the issuance of any certificate or license should not automatically be held to comply with the requirements of the relevant regulations, including Personnel Licensing, Technical Aircraft Operations, and Aircraft Airworthiness, until the RPAS requirements have been produced.

Note 3: Independently of Assembly Resolution A37-15, Article 8 of the Chicago Convention guarantees each Contracting State absolute sovereignty concerning authorizations to operate RPA over its territory.

An RPAS will be approved, taking into account the interdependent relationships of its components, following national regulations and in a manner consistent with the provisions of the applicable Annexes. 

Moreover:

  1. the RPA will be the subject of a certificate of airworthiness issued per national regulations and in a manner consistent with the provisions relating to the rules relating to the airworthiness of aircraft; and
  2. the relevant RPAS components specified in the type design will be certified and maintained per national regulations and in a manner consistent with the provisions of the applicable Annexes.

The operator of an RPAS shall hold an RPAS operating license issued per national regulations and in a manner consistent with the provisions relating to the rules relating to the Technical Operation of Aircraft.

Tele pilots will be licensed or have their license validated per national regulations and consistent with the provisions relating to personnel licensing regulations.

Authorization of RPAS flights

The authorization referred to above will be requested at least seven days before the planned flight date from the competent authority of the State or States in which the RPA will fly unless otherwise indicated by the States concerned.

Unless otherwise specified by the State or States concerned, the authorization request will include the following information:

  1. name and contact details of the operator;
  2. RPA characteristics (aircraft type, maximum certified take-off weight, number of engines, wingspan); 
  3. copy of the registration certificate;
  4. aircraft identifier to be used for radiotelephony, if applicable;
  5. copy of the certificate of airworthiness;
  6. copy of the RPAS operating license;
  7. copy of the license of the remote pilot (s);
  8. copy of aircraft radio station license, if applicable;
  9. description of the intended flight (including type or purpose of flight), flight rules, line-of-sight flight (VLOS), if applicable, date of flight, point of departure, destination, cruising speed (s), cruising level (s), route to follow, flight duration/frequency;
  10. take-off and landing requirements;
  11. RPA performance characteristics including:
    1. operating speeds;
    2. the typical and maximum rate of climb;
    3. typical and maximum descent rates;
    4. the typical and maximum rate of turn;
    5. other relevant performance data (e.g., wind limitations, icing, precipitation); and 
    6. maximum driving distance;
  12. communication, navigation, and surveillance possibilities:
    • frequencies and equipment for aviation safety communications, including:
      1. ATC communications, including any other means of communication;
      2. Command and control links (C2), including performance parameters and designated operational coverage;
      3. communications between the remote pilot and the RPA observer, if applicable; navigation equipment; and surveillance equipment (e.g., SSR transponder, ADS-B broadcast);
  13. detection and avoidance possibilities; 
  14. emergency procedures, in particular:
    1. in the event of communication failure with ATC;
    2. in the event of C2 link failure; and
    3. in the event of communication failure between the remote pilot and the RPA observer, if applicable;
  15. number and location of remote pilot stations and transfer procedures between remote pilot stations, if applicable;
  16. attestation of acoustic certification compatible with the provisions if relevant;
  17. confirmation of compliance with national security standards, in a manner consistent with the provisions of security regulations, including security measures applicable to the operation of the RPAS, as appropriate;
  18. payload information or description thereof; and
  19. proof of sufficient insurance/liability coverage.

Certificates and other documents referred to above, drawn up in a language other than English, will be accompanied by a translation into English.

Once clearance has been obtained from the States concerned, notification of and coordination with air traffic services will follow those States’ requirements.

Note. – An authorization request does not meet the obligation to file a flight plan with the air traffic services organizations.

Changes to the authorization will be submitted to the relevant State or states for review. If approved, the operator will notify all relevant authorities.

In case of cancellation of the flight, the operator or the remote pilot will inform all the authorities concerned as soon as possible.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Gabon

See general rules above.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Gabon

See general rules above.


Useful published information on flying drones in Gabon

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Gabon…

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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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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