There are probably few places in the world as exciting as Puerto Rico when it comes to flying drones. The Caribbean Island is an aerial photographer’s paradise, and on a recent trip, I found myself wishing to be droning from early morning until late in the evening, just to capture all that beauty. Besides being a beautiful country to fly your drone in, Puerto Rico also has the advantage of being part of the U.S. legal system, which makes operating a drone pretty much equal to flying the drone within the U.S.
The Drone Rules in Puerto Rico
If you want to fly your drone in Puerto Rico, the U.S. drone laws apply. These are laid out by the FAA and are basically split into two parts, namely commercial use and non-commercial use. For the sake of simplicity, I am focusing here on the legal aspects of the non-commercial or recreational use of drones within Puerto Rico.
Basically, FAA Part 107 regulates the use of “small drones” in the U.S. and therefore also in Puerto Rico. “Small drones” as per Part 107 means all UAS between 0.55 and 55 lbs.
The following FAA rules apply:
- You must register your drone with the FAA and clearly mark your drone with the registration number. The registration costs $5.00 and is valid for 3 years.
- Flight altitude may not exceed 400 feet above ground (AGL)
- Fly your drone only within visual line of sight (VLOS)
- Be aware of all FAA Airspace restrictions, and avoid areas near airports and helicopter landing pads
- Do not fly over people, crowds, and public events. Never obstruct emergency service responders and stay away from emergencies.
- Respect the privacy of others
Adhering to these simple rules can ensure a smooth and fun flight experience with your drone in Puerto Rico. If in doubt whether a place is safe to fly or not, use common sense and lean towards the side of safety – which means don’t fly.
Once you have checked all these points, you are good to go – have fun exploring this beautiful island state!
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