The aviation authorities are creating a bureaucracy to control drones, and the rules are expected to be in place by the beginning of next year.
Once the rules are in place, every drone must be registered and have a license plate or placa. The operator must have completed pilot training, presumably just for drones, from an aviation school or instructor that is approved by the Dirección General de Aviation Civil. The aviation agency will be the entity actually issuing the license.
Drones that will be used for commerce, such as taking air photos, will be subject to a certification fee of $1,874.02. Even then, if the operator plans to fly the drone above a gathering of people, a risk analysis must be approved beforehand by the aviation agency, according to the proposal.
And all drones will have to be covered by liability insurance.
Drones will be restricted to an altitude of 400 feet or less, said the agency.
Operators will have to respect restricted zones, and flights would be prohibited within 8 kilometers of airports. Some drones have geopositioning systems installed, and these can be programed to avoid certain areas.
The agency has not yet determined fines for violations, although the threat is that the flying certificate will be revoked.
The agency said it was basing its rules on those of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency.
There has been limited use of drones in Costa Rica, although some have been used for air photography. Amazon, of course, is experimenting with using large drones as delivery vehicles.
Some concerns have been raised about intrusive photography.
Military drones elsewhere carry weaponry and can be lethal.