The drone laws in Hawaii are set to several federal laws and regulations that apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations. Unmanned aircraft systems include unpiloted, aerial drones or remotely controlled craft and model airplanes.
Imagine yourself flying a drone in Hawaii, and capturing breathtaking panoramic shots while you’re at it. Surfing on the waves, hiking volcanoes, or simply enjoying a picnic in Hana — all possible with drones.
If you’re looking for the laws on flying drones in Hawaii, you’re already starting off in the right place. That’s because we have all of the answers you’re looking for regarding the local drone laws in Hawaii.
Are Drones Allowed In Hawaii?
Yes, drones are allowed in Hawaii for both recreational and commercial use but have some restrictions and controls put in by local governments and FAA.
Key Takeaways | Drone Laws Hawaii
- Recreational drone flights in Hawaii are allowed if you follow FAA regulations and pass an aeronautical knowledge test.
- Commercial drone use is permitted in Hawaii, but you must register your drone with the FAA and follow all FAA Part 107 regulations.
- Hawaii state parks have their own drone policies, and visitors must get permission before flying a drone in park grounds.
- It is illegal to fly drones over people, crowds, or emergency response efforts in Hawaii, for both recreational and commercial purposes.
- There are no FAA-approved drone test sites in Hawaii, so commercial drone operators must get certified at one of the seven FAA-approved test sites in six different states.
Drone Laws In Hawaii
In Hawaii, you can fly drones for fun as long as you follow the rules. Follow them, and drone away! You can also use drones commercially in Hawaii. To do that, though, you need to register your drone with the FAA and pass a test at an approved site.
There are no FAA-approved drone test sites in Hawaii. And just because it’s a beautiful state doesn’t mean it has easy-breezy laws when it comes to drones.
Hawaii’s state parks also have strict laws when it comes to flying over people or private property without their permission, which is what makes recreational flights so challenging in this state (unless you live out in the middle of nowhere).
Although the FAA requires all drones to be registered before flight, you don’t need a pilot’s license to fly one. In order to register, you must be at least 13 years old and pass an aeronautical knowledge test.
Once you’ve done that, you can legally fly your drone in Hawaii. However, keep in mind that there are still other drone regulations to abide by:
- Always yield right of way to manned aircraft
- Keep your drone within sight
You Can Use A Drone Commercially In Hawaii
You can use a drone for commercial purposes in Hawaii, but you must follow the rules. You must follow all FAA Part 107 regulations and you must Register your Drone with the FAA.
The only exception to this rule is if you want to fly a drone commercially in Hawaii State Parks. In addition to the federal regulations, state parks have their own policy in which they request that visitors get permission from the local authorities or administration before flying a drone within park grounds.
If you do intend on flying at a state park, please send an email to with your flight information.
In Hawaii, as long as there are no other local laws or restrictions and you are following FAA regulations, you can make money with your drone by offering services such as aerial photography or videography, or providing thermal imaging inspections.
Because of its beautiful landscapes and scenery, Hawaii is an amazing place for aerial photography so it’s a good idea to get yourself insured if this is something that interests you!
Recreational Drone Use Is Legal In Hawaii
It is completely legal to fly drones in Hawaii for recreational purposes. The only exceptions are the following:
- You can’t fly over a group of people, nor can you take off or land near them.
- Flying your drone in controlled airspace without approval from air traffic control is illegal.
- Flights over emergency response efforts (wildfires, etc.) are not permitted.
- You cannot fly over stadiums, professional or amateur sporting events, or anywhere else there may be a large crowd of people present.
Drone Flights Over People Are Illegal In Hawaii
You cannot fly over people or crowds for commercial purposes.
The FAA has strict safety rules about this kind of flying, and it is illegal to fly any drone over people, who are not in the drone operator’s employ or under their direct control. While recreational drone flight restrictions are less clear, we recommend using common sense here too.
If you want to learn more about flying drones in Hawaii, this article on drone laws Hawaii will be a good source of information for you.
There Are No FAA-Approved Drone Test Sites In Hawaii
To fly under the FAA’s rules, you must get certified. The TSA requires commercial drone pilots to register their drones. If you weigh more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams), you’ll need to pay a $5 fee and provide your name, home address and email address – no in-person visit or written test necessary!
However, if you fly with a drone that weighs less than 0.55 pounds, registration is not required but you should do it anyway.
As of now, there are no FAA-approved drone test sites in Hawaii. As a result, the only way for commercial drone operators to get certification is by flying at one of the seven FAA-approved test sites located in six different states: Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Virginia
The closest FAA-approved test site is located on Maui – about 400 miles away from Honolulu – making it difficult for most Mainland-based commercial operators to get certified before moving here
In addition to the lack of proximity from an approved testing center (and all things considered), adding an expensive flight ticket on top of everything else is basically impossible without some sort of financial aid.
You Can Fly Drones For Fun In Hawaii
You can fly drones for fun in Hawaii, but you’ll have to follow the rules. The main rules for drone zones are:
- Flying your drone over 400 feet is illegal
- You can only fly your drone if you are 5 miles away from any airport and the control tower
- You can’t fly your drone at night
- You must get permission from the FAA if you want to fly your drone faster than 100 mph or higher than 400 feet above sea level
Are Drones Allowed In Hawaii?
Drones Are Prohibited In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
At the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, drones are prohibited for safety reasons. This is because they could inadvertently affect the behavior of wildlife, either by hitting or scaring animals and causing injury or death.
They can also disturb other visitors who travel to this park as a place of solitude and serenity away from voices and machines.
On the other hand, at Haleakala National Park, drones are allowed if they meet certain requirements:
- The drone must weigh less than 55 pounds including payload (battery, camera, etc.).
- The drone must be used only by the person who registers it with the park when obtaining a permit.
- The unmanned aircraft cannot be flown in wilderness areas within national parks.
When you’re in the park, you can fly your drone in certain areas between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
You cannot fly your drone at the summit of Haleakala because that area is designated as wilderness; if you want to fly your drone, you will have to do so on parts of the volcano that aren’t considered wilderness area by the National Park Service.
In addition to drone rules about not being able to fly your drone at the summit of Haleakala, here are some other rules:
- You must keep your drone under 400 feet above ground level
- You must always keep your drone within visual line-of-sight and be able to monitor it directly (no remote controls; you have to actually watch it)
- You aren’t allowed to fly over or near people who were visiting before you arrived
Drones Are Prohibited In All Wilderness Areas
Drone flights are prohibited in all Wilderness areas of the National Park Service to protect native species and cultural sites, provide for visitor safety, ensure the NPS can carry out its mission, and prevent accidents or injuries.
The NPS is aware that visitors may own or acquire unmanned aircraft with an interest in flying them at parks. The use of these devices will be managed through the Wilderness Act and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Drones Are Allowed In Developed Areas
Some parks allow drones to be flown in developed areas, but not in the backcountry. This is because drones pose a danger to wildlife and other park visitors, especially when they are being flown over or near people. The best way to know where it’s safe to fly is by checking with the park rangers.
Enjoy Drones At These Beautiful Locations.
Hawaii and the national parks there have put rules in place to make sure visitors can safely use and enjoy drones at these beautiful locations.
If you are planning to travel with your drone, here are some things you should know:
- Drones are allowed in developed areas but not in backcountry
- They are prohibited in all Wilderness areas of the National Park Service
- They are prohibited in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- There are special, designated areas where drones can fly at Haleakala National Park.
How To Register Drones In Hawaii?
Register With The State Department Of Transportation.
Hawaii law requires anyone flying a drone in restricted airspace in this state to register with the State Department of Transportation. The law applies regardless of whether you’re flying recreationally or commercially, and it applies to all drones.
Here’s what you need to know about registering your drone in the Aloha State:
Hawaii Drone Registration Requirements:
- Age of the owner: If you’re under 16 years old, you must have at least one parent or guardian register your drone for you.
- Your certificate number: You’ll receive a certificate number once you’ve registered your drone with HDOT. This is an easy way for law enforcement to identify you as the owner if there are any questions about who’s operating a particular unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
You Must Do So Even If You’re Not A Resident Of Hawaii
You must register a drone even if you’re not a resident of Hawaii and even if you’re only flying in the state temporarily. You must be at least 13 years of age to register as recreational drone pilots.
You may register multiple drones at the same time, but each drone must have its own registration number when applicable.
You need to have your payment method available when registering your drone(s), as you’ll be asked to pay immediately after filling out all required sections.
Drones with a weight greater than 250 grams are eligible for registration, unless they’ve already been registered by someone else (or yourself).
The registration fee is $5 per drone.
This fee is to help maintain the registration system.
The fee is not waived for minors, multiple drones, or non-residents of Hawaii.
- The fee is not refundable.
To Register Your Drone
- You can find out more about registering at https://hawaii.gov/
- Click on “register a drone” and then fill in the registration form online
- Once you complete the online form, they will send an email back to you with instructions on how to pay for your registration
Provide Your Name, Street Address
- When registering, you must provide your name, street address, email address and telephone number.
- You don’t need a credit card to register a drone.
- You don’t need to provide the serial number of your drone when you register.
- You don’t need to provide the make and model of your drone when you register.
All Registered Drones Will Be Assigned A Unique Number
All registered drones will be assigned a unique registration number from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This number is known as your drone’s N-Number. The N-Number needs to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 3/8 of an inch high
- Be affixed in a manner that it won’t be lost, damaged or altered
- Be placed on the drone in a place that is not easily removed
Registration Number Must Be Affixed On Each Drone
You must place the registration number on your drone. You must also ensure that the registration number is:
- in letters and numbers at least three inches tall
- in a color that contrasts with the background
- placed on the exterior of the drone
Frequently Asked Question (drone Laws Hawaii)
What Is The Rule Regarding Drone Operation In Hawaii?
Drones are airplanes, just like any other aircraft. You must adhere to the same rules and regulations that apply to all manned aircraft, including:
- FAA regulations (Federal Aviation Administration)
- Hawai’i State laws regulating drone operation and use
- Local ordinances governing drone operation in your community
Can I Use A Drone For My Wedding Video In Hawaii?
If you’re planning a wedding and want to use drones for your video, then you’ll need to get permission from the FAA in order to fly over people. You can’t just fly them wherever without permission. If it’s just one person and then the crowd after that, well that’s allowed.
However if those people are within a crowd of other people then it would be illegal because there are too many people around. Just like if someone were to say “no I won’t let you do this because my mom is here.” It would be illegal because there are too many humans around (or something equally ridiculous).
Can I Fly My Commercial Drone Over People Or Humans In Hawaii?
You can fly over crowds if you are flying under 400 feet, but not over people or humans. You also need to stay at least 25 feet away from any person, vehicle or structure.
The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA makes drone flying legal. You must follow the rules and restrictions on your drone usage. You can operate a toy or a hobby drone as long as it doesn’t go higher than 400 feet and gives you the line of sight with the control while operating it.
If you are planning to operate a drone in Hawaii, we wish you the best of luck. As you now know, there are a few things to take into consideration, and the state has high hopes that its new laws will be able to keep up with advancing drone technology. Safe flying!