On May 31, 2016, the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) issued a new mandatory circular CO AV-23/10 R3 (the Circular) applicable to all Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The Circular updates and replaces the prior version published in 2015[1], considering the new international practices in the sector [in bracket we will highlight the main changes]. The Circular is applicable to:

1.- All individuals and entities that intend to operate or currently operate RPAS;

2.- All manufacturers, importers and distributors of RPAS [new], and

3.- All RPAS operating in Mexico, including those belonging to the Mexican government, except for, among others, those having a national security purpose.

Under the Circular, RPAS consist of a RPA and other items for its support, such as (among others): (a) a control station; (b) a data link; (c) telemetry, and (d) navigation equipment, in the understanding that a pilot on the ground must control the RPA. The Circular classifies the RPAS as follows:

Click here to view table. 

There are general limitations that apply to the three categories and use types, such as the following (among others):

1.-Is prohibited to throw or drop objects that may cause any damage or injury to persons.2.- A pre-flight inspection shall be conducted.3.- The operation of RPAS must avoid prohibited, restricted, or dangerous areas established by the General Direction of Navigation Services for Mexican Space (SENEAM).4.- The RPAS cannot transport dangerous merchandise or prohibited substances.5.-The RPAS cannot be operated in open or closed places with more than 12 persons gathered [new].6.- During the flight, the pilot shall be directly observing the RPAS and shall always maintain the control of the flight trajectory.

7.- The pilot of the RPAS is responsible of its operation, use and for any damages and/or injuries caused and shall inform about any incidence [new].

8.- The RPAS’ operation must be carried out during daytime and in visual flight rules conditions, except certain exceptions.

9.- The pilot cannot fly the RPAS under the influence of alcohol, drugs or similar and cannot fly more than two RPAS at the same time [new].

10.-Foreign RPAS or foreign operators of RPAS cannot operate in Mexico, unless certain exceptions.
The requirements and limitations (e.g., authorization, registration [new], maximum flight altitude, speed limits, insurance policies among others) for each of the RPAS classifications depend on their use/category and may vary depending on the purpose of the use.

The operation of RPAS under different requirements and conditions as provided in the Circular shall be requested to the DGAC by submitting all the applicable information and analysis of risk mitigation [new].

The importers, manufacturers and distributors of RPAS in Mexico shall comply with certain requirements and obligations, depending on the category of the RPAS [new].

Any issues not addressed in the Circular must be resolved based upon criteria established by the DGAC.