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Flying your Drone in Colombia

Flying in Colombia

 


Colombian Drone Regulations

Publication or revision date: 27 July 2015

Interesting rules to note:

Across the four countries we have investigated so far (Mexico, Argentina, Chile), Colombia appears to have the most extensive rule set.  

For one, much in the same way of U.S., Colombia now requires drone registration (see below)

There are multiple categories: Leisure/Recreational, Commercial and more interestingly; Sports or Competitive.  

The ruleset permits flying over crowded areas or potential privacy overlaps if the flight's purpose is humanitarian or in the public interest. 

You can fly up to 500ft (152m) AGL without any additional permissions required and to a huge distance of 750m from the operator.

If an observer used, permissions may be granted for flights up to 1500meters from the operator.

Your drones must have fail-safe modes and have a return-to-home function.  

Governing Organizations

Key Regulation Document Access

  • Resolución 527/2015 (07/10/2015): The provision regulations for UAVs, this establishes all everything related to air safety, permissions and registration of the vehicles.
  • Disposición 20/2015 (05/20/2015): Conditions of lawfulness for the recollection of data from UAVs or drones. One of the main objectives is focused on the previous consent of the people that appear on the material acquired from the UAV.

Main Categories

Key Weights

  • < 25Kg: Small
  • > 25Kg: Big

Use Classifications:

  • Commercial
  • Recreational
  • Sports or Competitive

Nothing specified in particular but if commercial or scientific, the drone's safe flying capabilities must be demonstrated to the relevant authorities before taking to the skies.   

Airspace and Restricted Areas

  • Flying within prohibited and restricted areas of the air space published by UAEAC
  • Flying within a 1 nautical mile (1.8Km) radius of any place where the president of the republic, vice president or any other authority, national or foreign
  • Flying within or near or over military, police or prison installations
  • Operate near any observed manned aircraft
  • Fly in international air navigation areas or over high seas
  • You may not fly your drone and the operator may be flying it within 5 nautical miles from the border.

Restrictions applicable to all RPAS

  • Drones are considered model airplanes and not aircraft, therefore they are not forced to obey the aeronautic rules. However, drones with the ability to self-maneuver during the flight, and to transport objects are considered to be aircraft and so are subject to aviation authority rule sets.

It's not immediately clear what "self-maneuver"

 

  • Special authorization is required by the UAEAC when flying over populated areas, over crowds and impact people's rights of privacy.
  • Permissions must also be sought to fly over areas owned by the state unless there is public interest or for a humanitarian nature situation.
  • The RPA must not be closer to a radio of 50m, vertically and horizontally, to any person, object or edification.
  • The maximum take-off weight has to be less than or equal to 25Kg. Recreational flights must be carried out with drones weighing <25kg.
  • RPAS cannot be operated in any manner that can cause danger to people or property in the ground, particularly when:
    • There is strong wind or any other meteorological factor
    • The drone or the control panel has mechanical flaws
    • The operator lacks skill and experience

 

  • The use of any kind of metallic propellers is forbidden.
  • The drone cannot carry any additional weight other than the required parts necessary to operate it. 
  • RPAS cannot operate in airports or a radio of 5Km near them a special authorization is given by the UAEAC. In that case, the operation can only occur when there is not manned aircraft traffic and always having coordination with the corresponding air traffic services.
  • The maximum height allowed is 500 feet (152 meters).
  • The drone cannot fly further than 750 meters from the operator or the take-off area unless a special authorization is given.  In this case, an observer can be used and permissions may be granted for flights up to 1500meters from the operator.
  • The RPAS must be operated with visual line of sight. Therefore, operations must not occur when the visibility/solar light is low or non-existent.
  • Only in the case of recovery, error or emergency can autonomous operations of the aircraft be initiated.

Conditions applicable to Sport or competitive use:

  • The operator must be member of an air activities club in the modality of model airplanes.

Key Hardware Specifications for Commercial Use:

Colombia requires that all drones are registered and have the following information fully documented:

  • Brand and model
  • Manufacturer´s serial number
  • Model airplane type
  • Performance characteristics
  • Acoustics documentation
  • Associated sensors and equipment
  • Purchase invoice
  • Photography of the RPAS

It must be equipped with at least:

  • Automatic pilot, not for autonomous flight but to provide the operator assistance and make easier the recovery of the device
  • GPS system
  • Recovery and take-off systems (landing gear, parachute & airbag)
  • A return to Home and Fail-safe function
  • The remote control system allows the control (via radio) of the drone during and provides updated information of its conditions
  • The remote control system does not cause any interference to any other kind of system
  • The mechanical operations of the drone must not produce excessive noise or acoustic pollution.
  • The colors and/or lighting of the drone must make it easy to observe at a distance.
  • The drone must have the pilot's ID attached to it at all times.  

The operator must:

  • Have coordination with the air transit services after receiving the authorization by the UAEAC and before the flight takes place
  • Have coordination with the other operators in the same area
  • Operate under the operational conditions established by the manufacturer
  • Have the weather forecast of the time span when the flight takes place

Operational limitations:

On top of the conditions previously mentioned, the drone must not:

  • Fly within prohibited and restricted areas of the air space published by UAEAC
  • Fly within radio of 1 nautical mile (1.8Km) of any place where the president of the republic, vice president or any other authority, national or foreign
  • Fly near or over military, police or prison installations
  • Drop objects from the aircraft 
  • Operate near any manned aircraft
  • Fly in international air navigation areas or over high seas
  • Operate within 5 nautical miles (9.2Km) from local borders
  • Operate under the effects of alcohol or any drug that may affect the capabilities of the operator to fly the drone
  • Use binoculars or any similar device
  • Fly more than one RPA simultaneously
  • Let anyone without the proper training operate the drone
  • Transport explosive or corrosive material, weapons, biologically hazardous material or any kind of product considered as dangerous
  • Transport drugs or any illegal psychotropic substance
  • Change the basic configuration of the RPA provided by the manufacturer
  • Operate in ice conditions
  • Exceed the 80% of the total autonomy established by the manufacturer
  • Transport animals
  • Operate under the effects of alcohol or any drug that may affect the capabilities of the operator to fly the drone

Pilots must register within the UAEAC´s RPAS Database:

Every drone business, pilot or observer in Colombia has to provide the required information for the data base in order to operate.

RPAS registration

  • Brand and model
  • Manufacturer´s serial number
  • Model airplane type
  • Performance characteristics
  • Acoustic specifications document
  • Sensors and equipment
  • Purchase invoice
  • Photography of the RPAS

RPAS business

  • Name, address, mail address, phone numbers
  • Certificate of existence and legal representation if it is a legal person or citizenship carp photocopy if it is a natural person
  • Information regarding the origin of the owned devices
  • Main purpose of RPAS operations

Pilot/Observer

  • Name and identification
  • Training and experience related to RPAS 
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