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Drone Regulations, Registration, and Licenses in Panama

With the amazing scenes Panama has to offer, drones become more and more popular for both personal and commercial use. Flying a drone in Panama is legal, but you have to comply with the regulations.

Drone Regulations in Panama

  • Drone pilots in Panama are required to apply for a Certificate of Operation. 
  • Drones weighing up to 250 grams (.55 pounds) may fly up to 30 meters (98 feet) above the ground. Drones weighing between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 25 kilograms (55 pounds) may fly up to 60 meters (197 feet) above the ground. Drones weighing between 25 kilograms (55 pounds) and 150 kilograms (330 pounds) may fly up to 120 meters in the air (393 feet).
  • Drones cannot fly more than 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from the pilot.
  • Drone insurance is required for all drone operations.
  • Drones may not fly within 8 kilometers (5 miles) from any airport or airfield.
  • Drones may not fly within 150 meters (492) of any building or structure, within cities.
  • Drones may not fly within 30 meters (98 feet) horizontally or 10 meters (33 feet) vertically of people.
  • Drones may not fly faster than 130 kph (80 mph).
  • All commercial drone operations require permission from the PDCA.

The official regulation document of the Civil Aviation Authority can be found here.

Obtaining your drone license in Panama

It is important to obtain an operating license, especially if it will be used for commercial purposes. The procedure to operate drones in Panama is as following:

  1. Download and fill the drone registration form, the form can be found here.
  2. Go to the Civil Aviation Authority (click for location here), bring the filled registration form and the drone. Here you will continue with the registration of the drone, and placement of the authorization sticker.
  3. To obtain your drone license, you need to make an appointment with Captain Carlos Garzón Director of Air Safety whose office is located in the same building of the Civil Aviation Authority. You can make this appointment by calling to 501-9548. In general, it takes a minimum of three business days to approve applications.

Once you have the authorization sticker and the license you are allowed to fly your drone inside Panama for both personal as commercial use. Please note that:

  • For Operations, on the Cinta Costera and Casco Viejo, it is necessary to notify the SPI (527-9600) and the MOP (+507 507 9400). You can send an email directly to aicarauz@mop.gob.pa.
  • If you fly over areas restricted by DJI equipment (such as the Coronado area), mail to: flysafe@dji.com.

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