27 Panama

Divided into four, equal rectangles. The top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red. The bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center. The blue and red colors are those of the main political parties (Conservatives and Liberals respectively) and the white denotes peace between them. The blue star stands for the civic virtues of purity and honesty, the red star signifies authority and law.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

The ruins of a jungle prison on the island of Coiba in Panama. The entire island was once a penal colony, but is now a nature reserve. The last few prisoners, who have no other home, tend the ruins of the main prison grounds.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Panama is a member of ICAO.
Last updated on April 15, 2024


According to Britannica, Panama has a popularly elected, representative system of government with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Universal suffrage was instituted in 1907, and Panamanians 18 years of age and older are eligible to vote.

After a coup by the National Guard in 1968, the national legislature was suspended, and Panama was administered by a provisional government led by Gen. Omar Torrijos. A new constitution in 1972, the fourth in Panama’s history, gave Torrijos virtually complete control over the government but also established an elected body, the National Assembly of Municipal Representatives. The constitution was amended in 1978 to provide for a gradual return to democratic government within six years. Further constitutional amendments were approved in 1983, but democracy did not return to Panama until 1990, following the removal of Torrijos’s successor, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega Morena.

Under the constitutional revision of 1983, executive power is exercised by the president, who is popularly elected for a nonrenewable five-year term. The president was assisted by two vice presidents, also popularly elected for nonrenewable five-year terms, until 2009, when the second vice presidential position was eliminated. The president appoints a cabinet. A unicameral National Assembly consists of 71 members, who are elected for five-year terms and are eligible for reelection. The assembly initiates legislation, rules on international treaties, approves the budget, and establishes political divisions. After the 2014 election nearly one-fifth of the seats were held by women.

The country is divided into 10 provincias and three comarcas (indigenous sectors), Kuna Yala (San Blas), Emberá (Emberá-Wounaan), and Ngöbe Buglé (Guaymí). The provincias are divided into distritos municipales (municipal districts), which are subdivided into corregimientos (magistracies). The head of each provincia is the governor, appointed by the president. The comarcas are semiautonomous reserves governed by tribal leaders (caciques), but their status under the law has been disputed. In the late 1990s indigenous protestors in some comarcas clashed with the national police while opposing the expansion of industrial sites and roads on the reserves. In addition, some Kuna have attempted to control tourism in the San Blas islands.

Judicial power rests with a Supreme Court, the nine members of which are appointed for 10-year terms by the president with the approval of the National Assembly. The Supreme Court is composed of separate divisions for civil, penal, and administrative cases. The justice system also includes several types of lower courts.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

Civil Aviation Authority of Panama is the organization in charge of directing and regulating the operation and development of civil aviation in a safe, orderly and efficient manner, to satisfy the requirements of users and contribute to the welfare of society in general.


SkyVectorGoogle MapsADS-B Exchange

ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Panama AIP (there is a fee associated with this).

Drone Regulations

Drone Laws listed on the government website of the CAA

Drone Laws (not translated)



Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone on the island of Coiba, pictured above.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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