Drone Laws in Panama

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Panama

Panama Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (PDCA)

Panama Drone Regulations (In Spanish)


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Panama

The Panamanian agency responsible for drone safety, PDCA, 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 Panama?

According to PDCA, drones are allowed in Panama, subject to PDCA regulations. Read on for details.

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

Panama Drone laws enumerate drones into four classes:

  • RPA Micro: drones up to 250 grams
  • RPA Little (Pequeña): unmanned aerial vehicles over 250 g to 25 kg
  • RPA Light (Livian): from 25 to 150 kg
  • RPA Heavy (Pesada): from 150 kg

Each weight class is regulated distinctly for recreational and commercial use only.

  • In Panama, drone pilots must apply for a Certificate of Operation. However, it appears that certificates issued by other countries may be recognized; however, we recommend verifying this with the PDCA. 
  • Drones weighing up to 250 grams (.55 pounds) have a maximum altitude of 30 meters (98 feet). Drones weighing between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 25 kilograms (55 pounds) have a maximum flight altitude of 60 meters (197 feet). Drones weighing between 25 and 150 kilograms (55 and 330 pounds) can fly up to 120 meters in the air (393 feet). 
  • Drones are not permitted to fly further than 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the pilot. 
  • All drone operations must be insured. 
  • Drones are not permitted to fly within a radius of 8 kilometers (5 miles) of any airport or airfield. 
  • Within cities, drones are not permitted to fly within 150 meters (492 feet) of any structure or building. 
  • Drones must stay at least 30 meters (98 feet) horizontally and 10 meters (33 feet) vertically away from people. 
  • Drones are not permitted to fly faster than 130 kilometers per hour (80 mph). 
  • The PDCA must approve all commercial drone operations.

Procedures to get licenses or authorization to Operate drones in Panama?

  1. The first step will be to obtain training if additional abilities are required to operate the equipment safely. 
  2. Navigate to the Civil Aeronautical Authority’s website and enter DRONES. There, you’ll find the Form for Equipment Registration, which you must bring to your appointment along with the physical equipment. 
  3. There you will find the procedures for a Drone Operation. 
  4. Read Resolution 120, Aeronautical Standard AAC / DSA / DG / 01/16 Requirements for the Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
  5. Go to Building 805 of the AAC and contact the Air Safety Directorate at 524-3848 extension 56 (Director) to complete the registration and placement of the sticker with the serial number that corresponds to your RPA. 
  6. It is critical to obtain a license to operate the equipment, especially for commercial drone operations. 
  7. To request a license, send an email to Captain Abdiel Fenández, Director of Air Safety AI, whose office is located in Building 805; they will advise you on the next steps. 
  8. Once the equipment has been registered and the date it will be used, send an email to these addresses: killingbeckk@gmail.com. 
  9. Notify kerima.killingbeck@aeronautica.go.pa of the purpose of your flight so that you may receive the Special Operations Form required. 
  10. Use WGS 84 coordinates and feet above mean sea level altitudes. 
  11. Notify the SPI Coastal Beltway of operations in the Coastal Beltway via a letter addressed to Commissioner Julio César Jean Louis Garrido. 
  12. Make a note to Commissioner DEM / Julio César regarding operations in Casco Antiguo. Commissioner Jorge Miranda, Director of Police, or Jean Louis Garrido, Director General of the Institutional Protection Service (SPI), with CC: Lawyer Kathy Osorio, Director of the Historical Heritage.
  13. If you wish to fly over DJI-restricted areas, contact flysafe@dji.com within five business days. 
  14. Approval of requests takes at least three business days.

Additional Note For Foreign Operators

If you are a visitor to the country and wish to fly a drone, you must obtain permission in person. Essentially, a drone operator must obtain official authorization to fly a drone per applicable local laws. 

To obtain permission, you must provide information about the time and number of days you intend to use the drone, as well as the drone’s movements.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Panama

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Panama

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Useful published information on flying drones in Panama

Here is a useful introduction video (in Spanish) of tips for flying a drone legally in Panama…

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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