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How to fly a UAS in Spain

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


Cross-border or third-country UAS operators that intend to conduct operations in Spain1 shall follow these instructions depending on their country of residence if they are natural persons, or on the country where they have their principal place of business if they are legal persons:

1 Operations in Spain means all those operations that take place within the territory and airspace over which Spain has sovereignty.

UAS OPERATORS WITH RESIDENCE OR PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS IN A EUROPEAN UNION MEMBER STATE

To conduct cross-border operations in Spain2 in the ‘open’ category, by UAS operators registered in other Member State, it is necessary to meet the following requirements:

      • Have a UAS operator number issued by the Member State of registration; and
      • Ensure that the UAS to be used in the operation are identified with the issued operator number.

Operations in Spain means all those operations that take place within the territory and airspace over which Spain has sovereignty.

To conduct cross-border operations in Spain in the ‘specific’ category, in addition to the requirements stipulated for the ‘open’ category, it is mandatory to have the following documents depending on the complexity of the intended operation:

      • Operation subject to an operational declaration: Until 1 January 2022 it shall be necessary to formalise an operational declaration in accordance with a Spanish Standard Scenario (STS-ES) to operate in Spain. These declarations can be formalised on the AESA website.
      • Operation under operational authorisation: is necessary to have and attach a copy of the operational authorisation issued by the State of registration, access the AESA website to submit the additional mitigation measures and the intended location(s) of operation, and apply for recognition of the authorisation. In this case, AESA shall evaluate the documents submitted and issue a confirmation that the updated mitigation measures are satisfactory for the intended location of operation.
      • Operations conducted under a LUC (light UAS operator certificate): Operators who have a LUC issued by their State of registration shall go to the AESA website and attach a copy of the terms of approval received and the intended location(s) of operation.

UAS OPERATORS WITH RESIDENCE OR PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS IN A THIRD-COUNTRY, IF THE UAS IS OPERATED IN A EUROPEAN UNION MEMBER STATE

Third-country UAS operators that have their principal place of business are established, or reside in a country other than a European Union Member State, including Spain, shall consider as their State of registration the first Member State in which they intend to operate:

      • If the first country in which they intend to operate is Spain, they shall comply with Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 just like any national operator. For more information, go to this link .
      • If the first country in which they intend to operate is a country other than Spain, they shall address the competent authority of the European Union country in which they wish to operate. The list of competent authorities for UAS operations can be found on EASA’s webpage.

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.:

Guide to UAS flight requirements and limitations depending on the intended location of operation (UAS geographical zones) v4

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

Exact copy of the information contained in AESA (link)

Copia exacta de la información contenida en AESA (enlace)

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