Flying our drones in Hawaii has been on our bucket lists for some time now and this article is a perfect excuse to do our own research into Hawaii drone laws. Remember, responsible flying includes familiarizing yourself with the local laws. So before you fly at this tropical destination, be sure to read through this article where we outline all of the restrictions you must obey while flying in Hawaii. Of course, be sure to first get up to speed on Federal drone laws first as those will apply too!
Note: We try our best to update this list, but in case we forgot anything, please let us know in the comments!
United States Federal Drone Laws
While you don’t need a license to fly a drone in America, every drone flown in the United States must follow the federal drone laws set by the federal government.
There are separate laws for recreational and commercial flights, but commercial flights require the part 107 license and can gain exceptions to some regulations.
Here’s a quick summary of the United States Federal Drone Laws for hobbyist drone flights:
- Register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55lb (250g)
- Can’t fly over 400ft (120m) (Class G airspace)
- Always maintain light of sight
- Can’t fly near airports
- Not allowed to fly near manned aircraft
- Not allowed to fly in restricted areas
Local Drone Laws in Hawaii
Although there are no laws specifically applicable to Big Island, be aware that there are airports, volcanos and designated protected zones. Just be sure to double check any points of interest you plan to fly near.
Kilauea volcano can only be flown over by authorized professional, commercial and military drone operators.
Similar to Big Island, there are no specific laws for Waikiki but the entire beach is classified as a populous area, so you won’t be able to fly near the beach. Besides, editing out all the people from your footage would be a huge pain.
Where Can I Fly My Drone in Hawaii?
With so many federal, state, and local drone laws, it’s hard to tell where you can actually fly your drone.
You can download an app that gives you a map of where you can fly your drone and where it’s restricted. There are many different apps, but here are some of the ones we recommend using:
- UAV Forecast
Keep in mind that even if it’s clear to fly your drone on the app, there may be local laws or signs saying that drones are prohibited, so always fly with caution. In Hawaii there are also many protected lands and national parks in which you won’t be able to fly. It’s always best to check the specific locations you want to fly for any restrictions.
Similar to driving, you’ll need to educate yourself on the rules of the air before flying. Drones can be dangerous if operated recklessly so regulations are necessary. As drone operators, we also have to be respectful of nature when flying. Doing due diligence on all your local laws about drone operation is your responsibility. That’s why we’re here, to gather all the laws about drones so that you don’t have to. Make sure to check back here regularly to make sure that you’re up to date on the latest laws and regulations.