Civil Aeronautics Authority
permit for the use of drones

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Permits the use of drones for research and education from Panama’s Civil Aeronautics Authority (AAC)

STRI Permits Frequently Asked Questions

Please send the complete permit application package to the scientific permits office: 15 days in advance of proposed flight. Separate requests are required for flights on non-consecutive days. Because this application package contains sensitive, private information, all documents must be submitted through a secure transfer service or an encrypted email, with the password called in by phone or on a separate email.

The Civil Aeronautics Authority of Panama (AAC) by Resolution No. 004-2021-NRA-AAC of May 3, 2021 regulates the operation of drones (unmanned, radio-controlled rockets and aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)) in the Republic of Panama.

  1. The unmanned aircraft or a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) must be registered with the Civil Aeronautics Authority if remaining in the country for more than 14 calendar days. A special authorization from AAC must be obtained for stays less than 14 days.
     a. In-person registration of the drone must be done with the Air Security Directorate of the Civil Aeronautics Authority of Panama (AAC) in Albrook in Panama City is required. Please contact Milton García at for directions.
     b. For STRI visitors only the licensed pilot can register the drone.
     c. For STRI staff the registration will be filed by STRI legal representative or someone designated by that office.
     d. You must have the information at hand related to the drone brand, model, serial number, purchase invoice and equipment specifications.

  2. All aircraft operators require a pilot license for unmanned aircraft or a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) license issued by the AAC or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) license.
     a. AAC will recognize a pilot’s license for unmanned aircraft issued by a Contracting State, if the requirements for issuance of the certificate are at least equal to those required by the AAC or by a reciprocity agreement.

  3. You must have a valid civil liability and third-party damage policy.
     a. STRI can assist our visitors with information on insurance companies.
     b. All STRI drones must comply with insurance regulations before entering service.

  4. Before each flight, the responsible pilot must have a flight plan approved by the AAC, processed through the STRI Scientific Permits Office (
     a. Please complete the Formulario de Solicitud de Permiso de Actividades Aéreas Especiales (DRONES) Dentro de la FIR CTA/PANAMA (Special Aerial Activities Permit Request Form (DRONES) within the FIR CTA/PANAMA) in Spanish and sign. (Please consult this list of independent translators if needed).
      i. FIR or Flight Information Region is a specified region of airspace in which a flight information service (Air Traffic Control or Airspace Administrators) and an alerting service (ALRS) are provided.
     b. Informed Consent Letter (written authorization required for overflights of private property, indigenous reserves, protected areas, and the Panama Canal watershed).
    NOTE: Civil Aeronautics Authority of Panama (AAC) will not authorize flights over these areas without Informed Consent Letter(s).
     c. Each pilot will have an updated flight log.
     d. If the flight will be conducted at a STRI facility, the pilot must notify the STRI facility coordinator in advance.
     e. At any time STRI may reject or stop RPA operation within the institution's facilities or in case of carrying out flight operations outside the parameters for which the equipment was brought to the institution.

  5. In the event of an incident or accident where a RPA is involved, the pilot in command must:
     a. Fill out a report with STRI Scientific Permits Office no later than one day after the incident, if the case arises.
     b. A report will also be requested from the AAC.
     c. Any equipment that has a serious accident (crash), or deterioration due to its use, or when it has reached its useful life must not be used.

If you need guidance with purchase, licenses, flight authorizations, and operations of RPA in Panama to fulfill your research needs, please contact Milton García at

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