Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong agency responsible for drone safety, HKCAD, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in Hong Kong?
According to HKCAD, drone use is allowed in Hong Kong, subject to HKCAD regulations. Read on for more details.
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Hong Kong:
- If you are flying for commercial purposes and/or if your drone weighs more than 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds), you must apply to the HKCAD. However, no application is required if flying a drone weighing less than 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds) for recreational purposes.
- If the drone pilot is flying for commercial purposes, they must keep records of each flight per the permission granted and make them available to HKCAD upon request.
- If the UAS is being used commercially, the operator must maintain and submit an operations manual outlining the procedures to be followed when operating the UAS. This document is a critical requirement for HKCAD to conduct an accurate assessment of the application and the safety case before granting permission.
- Drones are not permitted to be flown within a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) radius of an airport.
- Except during takeoff and landing, drones may not be flown within 50 meters (164 feet) of a person (other than those involved in the flight), vessel, vehicle, or structure.
- While the drone is in flight, the pilot must maintain visual contact with it at all times.
- You must get permission from the land/property owner on whose land/property the UAS will takeoff and operate.
- Drones are not permitted to fly above a height of 90 meters (295 feet).
- Drones are not permitted to be flown at night.
Prohibited areas of operation
- Areas that are densely populated and congested.
- Over or near any object, installation, or facility that poses a risk to safety in the event of damage caused by a model aircraft impact or in such a manner that the model aircraft’s good order, discipline, and control are jeopardized or are likely to be jeopardized.
- Near an airport and flight paths for aircraft. These areas include the Hong Kong International Airport, the North Lantau coastal area, the coastal areas from Tai Lam Chung to Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi Island, Victoria Harbour and its surrounding areas, and the Shek Kong area.
Registration and Permission
The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department has established an online registration portal (in Chinese and English) to register your drone directly.
To complete the registration process, you will need your basic personal information (you may need a Chinese phone number) as well as all the technical specifications for your drone. To complete it, you will require the following:
- Your personal information
- the technical specifications of your drone
- the details of your planned flight
- a copy of your insurance
- You’ll need an Operations Manual to safeguard your drone and team from unusual events and to fly as safely as possible for everyone.
When requesting permission to fly in a restricted zone, you must complete an online form with your personal information and detailed information about your flight zone/area. You may return it to firstname.lastname@example.org once completed. In addition, you will be required to submit a copy of your insurance policy.
On the day of departure and before takeoff, you should also notify and coordinate your flight details with the nearest Air Traffic Supervisor. Ensure that you include a Hong Kong phone number.
Although insurance is not required for drone operations in Hong Kong, it is strongly recommended to avoid costly damage to your/another person’s property due to a loss of control while operating a drone.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Hong Kong
See General Rules above.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Hong Kong
Regardless of the weight of the UAV used, commercial pilots are required to report planned maneuvers to CAD. When reporting, you must demonstrate your pilot abilities. Additionally, you must submit an operations manual containing emergency procedures.
Useful published information on flying drones in Hong Kong
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Hong Kong…
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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