Drones are a regular sight in Hong Kong, particularly on weekends when enthusiasts and hobbyists head out to find open spots to fly. On a nice, clear day, the favorite flying places might grow crowded.
Drones are a regular sight, especially near Central, despite the rules prohibiting them from flying over the city. They frequently fly about the summit or near the IFC. I’ve only been prevented from flying my drone once in Hong Kong when I attempted to do so near the Kowloon Walled City Park. Aside from that, most Hong Kong residents are used to seeing drones and will just grin if you fly one.
Hong Kong is a crowded city with heavy aviation traffic (both helicopter and airliner). To prevent causing property damage, injuries, or even fatalities, everyone who uses Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) must be watchful and observe the relevant safety regulations.
No application to CAD is necessary for non-hire or incentive activities of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) weighing less than 7 kg (without fuel) (e.g. recreational operations). Operators must still follow all applicable legislation and CAD’s guidance for safe UAS operations.
In addition, the operators must follow other Hong Kong rules and laws, including the OFCA’s radio frequency restrictions and the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
List of Hong Kong Drone Shops
Drone Laws in Hong Kong
When it comes to drone legislation and regulations, Hong Kong is one of the more laid-back cities in the world. Drones were originally dubbed the “wild frontier.”
Drones must be flown in open regions away from busy areas and at least 50 meters away from persons, cars, and vessels. You obviously cannot fly near an airport or any other location where manned aircraft may be present (this includes Victoria Harbour, where there is often considerable helicopter traffic). Drones are also prohibited near vulnerable sites such as prisons, power plants or power lines, and Disneyland.
In Hong Kong, the current maximum height for drone flight is 300 feet (91 meters) above ground level.
While many drones today have a range of several kilometers, you must have your drone in a visual line of sight at all times in Hong Kong. In practice, this means you should be no more than 500 meters away.
Flying a drone is allowed in Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), however, we urge that you are aware of and comply with the drone laws stated below before doing so.
Here are the most essential rules to know about operating a drone in Hong Kong, based on our study and interpretation of the legislation.
We are not international aviation attorneys, and while we attempt to maintain this website up to date for drone pilots, the fact is that drone rules in Hong Kong might change throughout the year, and such changes can be difficult to follow.
Only operational criteria, such as altitude and maximum flying distance, will apply to drones weighing less than 250 grams. Operators of drones weighing more than 7kg will be required to pay for in-depth training and qualification exams. Drones weighing more than 250 grams would require insurance, while drones weighing more than 7 kg would need to be approved by authorities and require insurance to safeguard against flying dangers.
Tourists can fly drones that weigh less than 7 kg recreationally, according to the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD). Because Hong Kong is such a tiny and heavily populated city, drone operators must remain vigilant and adhere to strict restrictions.
If you carelessly or negligently cause or allow your drone to endanger another person or damage property in Hong Kong, you may face criminal charges. Other Hong Kong regulations need also to be followed, such as the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. Using your drone to spy on someone, follow them without their permission, or peer through their windows might get you in trouble.
From June 1, 2022, drone operators in Hong Kong will be required to register their drones, complete training and pass exams, and purchase insurance. Anything weighing between 250 grams and 7 kilograms will be required to register under the proposed Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) Order.
Places Not To Fly Your Drone In Hong Kong
Yes, as long as you keep it close to the route and visible. No-fly zones can always be seen in your flight app.
On both the Kowloon and Hong Kong Island sides of the bay, I would urge you to avoid flying. There are several helipads in this region, with moderate aviation traffic during the day. The same may be said about crowded beaches. Many beaches also have helipads, which lifeguards will warn you against flying near.
Flying over special events, as enticing as it may be, might get you in trouble. In 2016, three drone operators were detained for flying above a Formula E race.
Apart from that, Hong Kong is a great place for drones. If this is your first time, practice at Nam Sang Wai. There is plenty of open areas without any buildings or people. Remember that 70% of Hong Kong is undeveloped. So get out of town and pick a good site.
Drone Night-Flying In Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, night flying is currently prohibited. A drone may only be used during daylight hours and in excellent weather. Strong winds should also be avoided when operating your drone. Check the specs of your drone to see what the maximum sustained wind speed is for safe operation.
Commercial Drone Flying In Hong Kong
You are required to submit an application to the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department in order to get a permit for operating a drone for business purposes (CAD). In order to obtain a permit, you will be required to fill out a few forms, submit a flight plan that includes the date(s) you want to fly, and demonstrate that you are an experienced and competent pilot (which means demonstrating that you have completed some sort of pilot training or qualification), and show that you have adequate liability insurance coverage.