Flying Model Aircraft

Safety in Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Flying

Beware of the Danger

Flying radio-controlled model aircraft can be a rewarding and enjoyable pastime. However, such aircraft can also pose a serious safety problem to operational aircraft.

There are incidents in which flying model aircraft in the vicinity of main flight paths have endangered the safety of helicopters operating there.

Operator of radio-controlled model aircraft should appreciate that the limited airspace over Hong Kong is shared by all aircraft. Helicopters, for operational reasons, may fly close to the tops of hills and mountains, at low level and at high speed.

It is difficult for a pilot to see and identify a model aircraft until he is at close quarters, when it may be too late for evasive action. The result of a collision can be disastrous.

It is therefore imperative that model aircraft operator flies his model at a height not exceeding 300 feet above ground level, keep a watch for any aircraft flying in the vicinity and ensure that he lands his model immediately when he sees one approaching.

It is your responsibility to avoid collision. A pilot of a helicopter or light aircraft may not see a small model in time to avoid it.  

It is also of paramount importance that model aircraft operator keep a safe distance between his model and people and property on ground as the model may cause serious injuries or even fatalities and serious damage on impact.

Recklessly or negligently causing or permitting a model aircraft to endanger any person or property is liable to prosecution.

Operating a model aircraft over a public event involving a large crowd may be considered as recklessly or negligently causing or permitting an aircraft to endanger other person or property.

Where you cannot fly

a) Model aircraft shall not be flown over populated and congested areas.

b) Model aircraft shall not be flown over, or close to, any object, installation or facility that would present a risk to safety in the event of damage due to any impact by the model aircraft, or in such a manner that the good order and discipline and control thereof may be or may likely be jeopardized.

c) Model aircraft shall not be flown in the vicinity of an airport and aircraft approach and take-off paths. These areas include:

(i) Hong Kong International Airport;

(ii) North Lantau coastal area;

(iii) coastal areas from Tai Lam Chung to Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi Island;

(iv) Victoria Harbour and its coastal areas; and

(v) Shek Kong area.

Altitude of Operations

The altitude of operations shall not exceed 300 feet above ground level.

Time of Operations

The operations of model aircraft shall be conducted during daylight hours only.

Choice of flying sites

A good choice of flying site not only minimises the possibility of an accident but also enhances the pleasure of the flying experience. Here are some tips to help you choose a good site. A good site should be:

(i) clear of persons, vessels, vehicles or structures;

(ii) away from helicopter landing pads;

(iii) clear of any power sources such as power lines, transformer stations, pylons, and transmitter towers, etc which might cause radio interference;

(iv) flat enough to enable safe take-off and landing; and

(v) free from visual obstruction, so that the operator can see the model aircraft in flight at all times.

Heavy model aircraft  

Except with Civil Aviation Department's endorsement, heavy model aircraft weighing more than 7 kg (without its fuel) are not allowed to fly in Hong Kong.

Learning to fly  

One of the best ways to learn to fly is to join a model flying club or to get help from an experienced model aircraft operator.

Remember to:

Exercise good airmanship,

Be considerate, and

Keep your hobby safe.

A collision can kill