General Safety Guidelines for Flying SUA

Any person who operates a small unmanned aircraft (SUA) shall observe the regulatory requirements and operating requirements elaborated in the Safety Requirements Document PDF(PDF: 818KB). He or she should also take note of the following general safety guidelines when operating an SUA.

1. Where you cannot fly

  1. SUA shall not be flown in the Restricted Flying Zone (RFZ) as illustrated in the Drone Map except it is wholly within an enclosed area. Remote pilot should check on the Drone Map prior to each flight for the latest RFZ designation.
  2. SUA shall not be flown over the Prohibition Area established under the Air Navigation (Flight Prohibition) Order (i.e. area in the proximity of Penny’s Bay).
  3. SUA shall not be flown over any person who is not involved in the flight, or any vehicles, vessels or structures that is not under the control of the remote pilot during the flight.
  4. SUA shall not be flown over, or close to, any object, installation or facility that would present a risk to safety in the event of any impact or interference caused by the SUA.

Should there be any extraordinary circumstances requiring operations in the above area, a prior permission from the Civil Aviation Department and/or relevant authorities, as the case requires, should be obtained. The permission might be granted on a case-by-case basis on the condition that full justification of the operational needs and relevant safety mitigation measures are in place.

2. Good 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:

  1. free from visual obstruction, so that the operator can see the SUA in flight at all times;
  2. flat enough to enable safe take-off and landing;
  3. away from people and major outdoor events;
  4. away from vehicles/vessels/structures;
  5. away from helipads;
  6. away from paragliding areas; and
  7. clear of any power sources such as power lines, transformer stations, pylons, and transmitter towers etc., which might cause radio interference.

3. Time of Operations

The operations of SUA shall be conducted during daylight hours only.

4. Altitude

The altitude of operations shall not exceed 300 feet above ground level for Category A2 and Category B SUA. The altitude of operations shall not exceed 100 feet above ground level for Category A1 SUA (except for Category A1 SUA under exemption). Please refer to the Safety Requirements Document PDF(PDF: 818KB) for details.

Note: "Above Ground Level (AGL)" means the altitude at which an aircraft flies from a point on the ground (earth’s surface or water surface), where the "altitude" of the SUA is referenced from the closest point of the ground.

5. Weather Criteria

  1. SUA shall only be operated under good visibility and weather conditions.
  2. SUA shall not be operated when Rainstorm Warning, Tropical Cyclone Warning or Strong Monsoon Signal is in force.

6. Heavy SUA

The operation of Category B SUA (weighing more than 7 kg but less than 25 kg) requires a prior permission from the Civil Aviation Department. Please refer to Advisory Circular AC-007 for details.

7. Control of SUA

The remote pilot and/or a visual observer s/he chooses should maintain visual line of sight with the SUA and observe applicable speed and altitude limits at all times during the flight. Carriage of dangerous goods, person or animals, and dropping things from the SUA are prohibited unless with a prior permission from CAD.

8. Preparation Prior to Flight

Before conducting any SUA operation, remote pilots should take into account various factors and make necessary preparation to ensure the flight can be carried out safely, which includes but not limited to physical site assessment, updates on drone map and weather conditions, check on SUA’s condition and functionality, and familiarisation with the manufacturer’s instructions. The permission of the land/property owner/manager on whose land/property the SUA is intended to perform take-off / landing should be sought if deemed necessary. Remote pilots should also ensure that SUA operations are in compliance with other applicable legislation, by-laws, requirements and guidelines (e.g. Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and Telecommunications Ordinance).


For further enquiries, please contact the Unmanned Aircraft Office of CAD at