How to fly a UAS in Spain

Operations in Spain by cross-border and third-country UAS operators


    When an UAS operator not registered in Spain intends to conduct an operation that is intended to take place partially or entirely in the airspace of Spain, the UAS operator will have to comply with different requirements and follow different procedures depending on its State of registration and whether such operations fall under:

    a) the open category,

    b) the specific category under a declaration, authorization or possession of a Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) in accordance with Article 13 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 of 24 May 2019.

    1. OPERATORS WITH RESIDENCE OR PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS IN A EASA MEMBER STATE

    The different EASA Member States are listed in the following link.

    The State of registration of the UAS operator must be the one where they have their residence for natural persons or where they have their principal place of business for legal persons. A UAS operator cannot be registered in more than one Member State at a time.

    The following guide details all the requirements that the UAS operator registered in another Member State must comply with in order to conduct operations in Spain and/or cross-border operations in each of the categories of operation, together with the different possible methods of identification, authentication and electronic signature in the UAS application, where all the procedures with AESA will be carried out:

    Spanish Edition: Guía para la realización de operaciones transfronterizas, fuera del estado de registro o por terceros países

    English Edition: Guide to UAS flight requirements and limitations depending on the intended location of operation (UAS geographical zones) Ed.01.

    1.1. Operations in the open category

    As a summary, the main requirements that the UAS operator must meet in the open category are:

    a. Be registered in its State of registration and incorporate its operator number on its aircrafts. 
    b. Ensure that remote pilots who are to conduct UAS operations are adequately trained for the relevant subcategory.
    c. Check specific requirements with respect to the place of operation or type of activity to be performed.
    d. To have an insurance policy covering civil liability against third parties.

    For further information on this subject, please refer to section 2 of the guide.

    1.2. Operations in the specific category

    There are three options for cross-border operations in Spain within this operational category:

    1. Operation under a Standard Scenario subject to an operational declaration.
    2. Operation under operational authorization.
    3. Operations conducted under the cover of a LUC (Light UAS Operator Certificate).

    In order to perform cross-border operations in Spain in any of the three options mentioned above, the UAS operator must complete a procedure with AESA, which will vary depending on the option chosen.

    All the information about the different procedures to follow at AESA and any additional requirements to be fulfilled, are described in section 3 of the guide.

    Additionally, a template is made available to UAS operators to justify compliance with local conditions and the adequacy of mitigation measures, if necessary:

    Spanish Edition: ANEXO V. Procedimientos actualizados para cumplir con las condiciones locales y actualización de mitigaciones Ed.01.

    English Edition: APPENDIX V. Updated procedures for compliance with local conditions and updated mitigating measures Ed.01.

    2. THIRD-COUNTRY OPERATORS (NON-EASA MEMBER STATE)

    UAS operators that have their principal place of business, are established, or reside in a third country, shall comply with Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 for the purpose of UAS operations within the single European sky airspace.
    Therefore, UAS operators from a third country that is not considered an EASA Member State must register as a UAS operator in the first Member State in which the UAS operator intends to conduct operations.

    a. If Spain is the first State in which the UAS operator intends to conduct its operations, this operator must register and the same procedures and requirements will apply to it as to a Spanish operator. For more information, please access this link.
    b. If the third-country UAS operator has registered in any EASA Member State, other than Spain, and decides to start operating in Spain it must follow the same procedures as any other UAS operator registered in an EASA Member State. See more details above and here.

     

UAS flight requirements and limitations depending on the place of operation (UAS geographical zones) in Spain


    In addition to the general rules of drone operation depending on the operational category, depending on the place of operation or the type of activity to be carried out, the operator may be subject to compliance with other requirements or find the flight limited or prohibited.

    Depending on the nature of the intended operation, the following conditions of use of airspace apply, which by their content establish requirements associated with UAS geographical areas:

    • Professional activities shall comply with the conditions of use of airspace and equipment requirements established in Royal Decree 1036/2017 and in Chapter XI of Royal Decree 1180/2018.
    • Sport, recreational, competition and exhibition activities, as well as the recreational activities of toy aircraft shall comply with the conditions of use of airspace established in the first, second and third additional provisions of Royal Decree 1036/2017. The prohibition of flying in controlled airspace and prohibited and restricted areas, is highlighted, with some exemptions.
    • Non-EASA professional activities (firefighting; save, search and rescue; police, customs...) shall comply with the provisions of Royal Decree 1036/2017 and Chapter XI of Royal Decree 1180/2018.
       

    The following guide provides detailed information on the requirements and limitations for flying in certain locations such as controlled airspace, over urban environment, in prohibited and restricted areas, etc.: 

    Spanish Edition: Guía sobre requisitos y limitaciones al vuelo de UAS en función del lugar de operación (Zonas Geográficas de UAS) Ed.07.

    English Edition: Guide to UAS flight requirements and limitations depending on the intended location of operation (UAS geographical zones) Ed.07.


    In the ENAIRE drones application you can consult the airspace areas in which there are drone flight prohibitions or restrictions, as well as dangerous areas and other alerts:

    ENAIRE drones application

Remote pilot training for cross-border and third-country UAS operations


    Third-country remote pilots or those who will conduct UAS operations in a Member State of operation other than their Member State of registration must be properly trained for the corresponding category and subcategory of operation.

    If the remote pilot does not have the required training to operate in the corresponding category according to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, the pilot may obtain it through the Competent Aviation Authority of any Member State [1]. Certificates issued by one Member State are valid for operations in all other EASA Member States.

    To operate in controlled airspace or flight information zones (FIZ), the remote pilot must have additional training, as indicated in the following guide.

    In case of operations under national standard scenarios (STS-ES), in force until January 1, 2026, remote pilots must have the training indicated in the Resolution of the AESA Direction, taking into account that the practical accreditations obtained will only be valid to carry out STS-ES operations in national territory.
    For more information regarding remote pilot training in the different categories of operation, as well as access to the applications for training courses and exams, please access this link.

     

    Contact AESA UAS Division:

    In case of doubts or special situations related to UAS operations in Spain, you can send your query to the drones mailbox (drones.aesa@seguridadaerea.es).

     

    [1] Important information: remote pilot courses and exams conducted by AESA are only available in Spanish.

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