Puerto Rico

Contributor: Corinne Cordero

General

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

Yes. Puerto Rico, being part of the United States of America (USA), is subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and applicable regulations. Puerto Rico is treated as a State for these purposes.

At this time, there is no State (Puerto Rico) law that regulates this matter. However, there is pending proposed legislation.

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

FAA:  Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations (Part 107).

Puerto Rico: Proposed Laws PC 2294 and PC 667.

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

Yes, FAA regulations apply.

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

Yes, FAA regulations apply just as in the USA. There is no current State regulation.

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

Yes, FAA regulations apply just as in the US. There is no current State regulation.

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

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

FAA regulations apply.

Leisure:  Must ALWAYS yield right of way to manned aircraft; must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight); UAS must be under 55 lbs.; must follow community-based safety guidelines; must notify airport and air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport.

Commercial: Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight); must fly under 400 feet; must fly during the day; must fly at or below 100 mph; must yield right of way to manned aircraft; must NOT fly over people; must NOT fly from a moving vehicle; must be less than 55 lbs.; must be registered if over 0.55 lbs. (online); must undergo pre-flight check to ensure UAS is in condition for safe operation.

Proposed State Law PC 667:  Flying less than 400 feet and one mile away from public safety buildings; 5 miles away from airports.

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

FAA regulations apply.

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

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

FAA rules apply.

Leisure: no pilot requirements.

Commercial: Must have Remote Pilot Airman Certificate; must be 16 years old; must pass TSA vetting.

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

There is no special drone taxation in Puerto Rico.

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

FAA rules apply. Only for commercial use.

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

There is no current State regulation in Puerto Rico governing the market for the provisions of UAS operation services.

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

Currently, Puerto Rico has no state regulations governing this matter.

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

Yes. FAA Rules apply.  Part 107 permits the transportation of property for compensation or hire, provided the operator complies with all the provisions of the rule: the operator must keep the UAS within his/her sight; the flight is conducted within visual line-of-sight and not from a moving vehicle; external loads must be securely attached and cannot adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft; and the aircraft with payload must weigh less than 55 lbs. at take-off. The transportation must also occur wholly within the bounds of a state and may not involve transportation of property between: (1) Hawaii and another place in Hawaii through airspace outside of Hawaii; (2) the District of Columbia and another place in the District of Columbia; or (3) a territory or possession of the United States and another place in the same territory or possession.

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

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

There is no current state legislation in Puerto Rico covering this. Proposed legislation PC 2294 provides for privacy protection.

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

There is no current state legislation in Puerto Rico covering specific control-link interference.

16. Do specific rules regulate UAS manufacturers?

There is no current state legislation in Puerto Rico covering UAS manufacturers.

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

FAA rules apply.

For the Aeronautical Knowledge Testing/Remote Pilot Certification:

US citizens and resident aliens: Driver permit, or license issued by a U.S. state or territory, U.S. Government identification card, U.S. Military identification card, Passport, Alien residency card.

Non-US citizens: Passport and Driver permit, or license issued by a U.S. state or territory, or Identification card issued by any government entity

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

There is no state legislation in Puerto Rico covering this.

The Aircraft (“UAS”)

19. Must UAS be registered in any particular register?

There is no special state registry in Puerto Rico. FAA registry applies.

An airworthiness certificate is needed under FAA regulations for commercial use drones. Federal law requires that small unmanned aircraft weighing more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds that do not fly exclusively under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number, either online or by using the legacy paper registration process.

The paper registration process must be used if:

  • unmanned aircraft is 55 pounds or greater
  • to qualify a small unmanned aircraft for operation outside the United States
  • hold title to an aircraft in trust
  • small unmanned aircraft owner uses a voting trust to meet U.S. Citizenship requirements

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

The UAS operator.

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

Foreign nationals are not eligible to register their UAS.

22. Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of UAS?

Yes, FAA regulations apply. Advisory Circular 107-2, 6/21/16, Chapter 7.

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?

Yes. FAA requires leisure drones to be 5 miles from airports. Please see answer to question 26.

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

There is no State regulation covering this. FAA regulations apply.

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

There is no State regulation covering this in Puerto Rico. FAA applies.

26. Which airspaces are restricted for UAS?

— Special Security Instructions (SSI), has prohibited all UAS flights within the airspace defined under UAS NOTAM FDC7/7282.

The restrictions extend from the ground up to 400 feet AGL, apply to all types and purposes of UAS flight operations, and remain in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) define a certain area of airspace where air travel is limited because of a temporary hazardous condition, such as a wildfire or chemical spill; a security-related event, such as the United Nations General Assembly; or other special situations.

Flying UAS in and around stadiums is prohibited starting one hour before and ending one hour after the scheduled time of any of the following events:

  • Major League Baseball
  • National Football League
  • NCAA Division One Football
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car, and Champ Series races

Specifically, UAS operations are prohibited within a radius of three nautical miles from a stadium or venue.

Recreational operators are required to give notice for flights within five miles of an airport to both the airport operator and air traffic control tower, if the airport has a tower. However, recreational operations are not permitted in Class B airspace around most major airports without specific air traffic permission and coordination.

27. Which zones are UAS operations banned?

In Puerto Rico there is no special ban.

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

The FAA.

Liability and Accidents

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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 no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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

There is no state legislation covering this in Puerto Rico.

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