Contributor: Alina Nassar


1. Are UAS considered as “aircraft” in your country?

According to the Aviation Regulation No. 101 (RAC-101) issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC by its acronym in Spanish) in July 22nd, 2013, UAS are considered as aircraft.

2. Which bodies regulate the remotely-piloted and/or unmanned aircraft operations in your country, under what basic laws?

The Civil Aviation Act No. 93-2000 (December 18th, 2000) and its Regulation No. 384-2001, establish the rules for the aviation activities in Guatemala. In addition, the Aeronautical Regulation No. 45 (November 30th, 2014) establishes the requirements for the registration of aircraft; and the Aeronautical Regulation No. 119 (September 22nd, 2009) sets the rules regarding the Operational Certificates.

The Aeronautical Regulation No. 101 (known as RAC-101) is called “Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft, Model Aircraft and Fireworks”. It establishes the requirements for operating UAS, including model aircraft and the possible effects in the safety of aviation caused by fireworks.

3. Is there a distinction between “State UAS” and “Private UAS”?

RAC-101 does not distinguish between state or private UAS.

4. Is there any distinction between public, leisure and commercial UAS? What regulations are provided for UAS operations in each group?

There is not an express regulation regarding public UAS, and they are excluded from the registration filings before DGAC.  As to leisure UAS, RAC-101 indicates that it can be operated if    it is a small UAS for recreational purposes, within the approved areas. The small UAS have a weight superior than 100 grams and they do not qualify as a big UAS. When operating a UAS for commercial purposes, it is mandatory to obtain an Operational Certificate (CO) and a Certificate of Exploitation (CE). All UAS used for recreational or commercial purposes must be registered before DGAC.

5. Is there a distinction, in terms of regulation, between completely autonomous UAS and remotely-piloted UAS?

No. According to DGAC, all UAS whether piloted autonomously or remotely-piloted are regulated on equal terms.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Operations - Safety

6. How are UAS operations regulated in terms of safety?

Safety regulations of UAS according to the RAC-101 are divided into the different areas of operation. Regarding the CO, DGAC must request the applicant to provide information on the safety of communications and navigation systems. Also, when approving the authorized areas for the operation of UAS, DGAC must consider possible consequences caused in the safety of air navigation. If there is any change on the conditions of the approved areas, the Authorities will publish the details through a note of Aeronautic Information. Additionally, any aircraft that is being subject to unlawful interference must do its best to notify the relevant ATS unit of this, any significant circumstance related to it, and any deviation from the authorized flight plan, in order for the ATS to give priority to the aircraft and minimize traffic conflicts that may arise with other aircrafts.

7. Is the applicable regulation considering the rule of 1 UAS = 1 pilot?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") Operations - Licensing

8. What procedures are there to obtain licenses or the rights to operate UAS?

To operate UAS, the aircraft and the operator must be registered before DGAC. To obtain the CO, the applicant must have training as a radio operator,  passed a theoreticalaviation exam,  completed a capacitation course and 5-hour flight experience. The applicant must file a request containing the following data: information of the aeronautic license, details of aviation experience, details of theoretical experience including the radio operation, details of experience and operation of UAS, evidence of any educational course for operating UAS. The DGAC may gather more information if needed and will issue the Certificate if the applicant meets the requirements.

In addition, UAS must be registered at the Aeronautic Register of DGAC, and they will be given an identification number according to the following format “UAV-TG-XXX”. In case there is a UAS utilized for commercial purposes, the applicant must have a Certificate of Operation (CO) according to Air Regulation No. 119 and a Certificate of Exploitation according to the Regulation No. 384-2001. Regarding the Big UAS, they must have a special Certificate of Airworthiness or a Certificate of Experiment.

9. Are there any kind of taxes or fees regarding the licensing procedure?

UAS operators must pay the following fees:

Description Amount
Issuance of first certificate Q. 1,000.00 (One thousand Quetzales)
Registration before the Aeronautic Registry Q. 1,000.00 (One thousand Quetzales)
Reservation of plate number Q. 105.00   (One hundred five and Quetzales)

10. Is a Certificate of Airworthiness mandatory to operate a UAS?

The Certificate of Airworthiness is mandatory when operating a Big UAS.

11. Is access to the market for the provision of UAS operation services regulated and, if so, how?

Access to the market is not regulated.

12. What requirements apply in the areas of financial strength and nationality of ownership regarding control of UAS?

As part of the requirements to obtain a CE, the applicant must file its financial statements. DGAC will verify if the company is in good standing. There are not restrictions regarding nationality of ownership of UAS.

13. Is drone transport permitted / regulated in your country?

It is not regulated in RAC-101.

Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS") - Operations - Others

14. Is there a specific Data & Privacy Protection regulation applicable to UAS operations?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

15. Is there a specific control-link interference regulation applicable to UAS operations?

All aircraft being illicitly interfered will notify the Authorities, specifically the Air Traffic System to minimize the traffic conflicts that may occur.

16. Do specific rules regulate UAS manufacturers?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

17. What requirements must a foreign UAS operator satisfy in order to operate to or from your country?

There are not differences between the registration of national and foreign operators.

18. Are fares or pricing of UAS operations regulated and, if so, how?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

The Aircraft (“UAS”)

19. Must UAS be registered in any particular register?

All UAS must be registered before the Aeronautic Registry. Also, they must be authorized by DGAC to operate. To proceed with the first-time registration, the operator must file the requirements established in Article 79 of the Regulation No. 384- 2001. The procedure begins with the filing of the application for private services, copy of the legal document of the aircraft’ purchase, good standing certificate of the company, payment of registration, and insurance policy.

20. Who is entitled to be mentioned in the UAS register?

The UAS’ owner, the operator, and if it applies, the parties of the lease contract.

21. Do requirements or limitations apply to the ownership of a UAS listed on your country’s register?

No requirements or limitations apply.

22. Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of UAS?


Operation Zones

23. Which are the operational and distance limitations for an aerial work with a UAS? Is there any kind of certificate or permission to operate beyond those limitations?

There are limitations regarding areas and distances. In controlled air space, individuals cannot operate UAS higher than 400 feet above ground level (AGL), unless there is apermit in the specific area, or an authorization issued by Air Traffic Control. Near airfields, no one is allowed to operate a UAS higher than 400 feet AGL in a radius of 3nautical miles from airports, unless the operator has a CO or there is a special permit for the operation.

In addition, DGAC may authorize an exception to the application of the rules contained in RAC-101, if there is no risk for operational safety. The approved exceptionswill be recorded on the Operations and Specifications Manual of each operator.

24. Are UAS obliged to take off from and/or land in specific facilities?

The only requirements to take-off and land are those related to illumination and signalization. A UAS cannot operate between the sunset and the sunrise unless the surface is illuminated or painted with a visual warning.

25. Which kind of airspaces are UAS permitted to operate with?

UAS can be operated in less than 400 feet from AGL, outside populated areas and for recreational and sport purposes. However, DGAC may issue a special permit to operate in a specified area.

26. Which airspaces are restricted for UAS?

The restricted airspaces are over 400 feet AGL.

27. Which zones are UAS operations banned?

Notwithstanding some allowed exceptions, there is a ban regarding UAS operating in night-time and operationsover 400 feet AGL in a radius of three nautical miles from an aerodrome. Additionally, operations that causes a danger to another aircraft, another person or property are prohibited.

28. Who provides air traffic control services for UAS in your country?

DGAC and Air Traffic Control.

Liability and Accidents

29. Are there any special rules in respect of loss or damage to cargo?

There is a general rule for civil liability that specifies that the owner of a UAS will be responsible for damages on the surface and during the flight. In addition, RAC-101 establishes that UAS owners or operators must have an insurance policy that covers the damages caused.

30. Are there any special rules about the liability of UAS operators for surface damage?

Article No. 101.57 of the RAC-101 establishes that the UAS’ owner will be liable for damages caused on the surface and during the flight.

31. Is there a mandatory accident and incident reporting system and, if so, how does it operate?

Yes, according to the Article No. 101.51 of the RAC-101 all accidents and incidents must be reported to DGAC within 72 hours of the occurrence. The notification must be made according to Air Regulation No. 13 and specify all the information needed to proceed with the investigation.

32. What system and procedures are in place for the investigation of UAS accidents?

There is an Accident Investigation Unit (UIA by its acronym in Spanish) that is in charge of all subsequent activities from the accidents and incidents that occurred in Guatemala. All information such as UAS’ ownership and details of manufacture, and the details of the event must be notified to DGAC.

33. Are UAS operators obliged to have insurance for their operations? If so, which are their main features?

Yes. According to Article 101.59 of RAC-101 the owner or operator must have an insurance policy to cover the damages caused. The owners of UAS operating in commercial activities must send the receipts of the insurance policy to DGAC in maximum 10 days after its emission or renewal.

34. What is insured? The operator, the business or the aircraft?

According to Article No. 101.57 the insurance policy must cover surface damages and those caused during the flight.

Financial Support and State Aid

35. Are there sector-specific rules regulating direct or indirect financial support to companies by the government or government-controlled agencies or companies (state aid) in the UAS sector? If not, do general state aid rules apply?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

36. What are the main principles of the stated aid rules applicable to the UAS sector?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

37. Are there exemptions from the state aid rules or situations in which they do not apply?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

38. Must clearance from the competition authorities be obtained before state aid may be granted?

There is not an express regulation on this matter.

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