Can You Fly a Drone in Maui?

On the Hawaiian archipelago, the island of Maui enchants with its volcanic peaks, stunning waterfalls, pristine beaches, and natural pools.

Most of the island is beaches, the likes of which you’d love to explore with your drone.

Can you fly a drone in Maui?

You can use a drone in Maui, although you’re prohibited from flying over airports and military bases and in national parks. The Hana Coast, Waihee Ridge Trail, and Po’olenalena Beach offer some of the best sights in the area for pilots!

In today’s article, we’ll further break down the rules of Maui drone use, including what’s off-limits.

We’ll also recommend some more must-see drone flight locations, so make sure you keep reading!

Can you fly a drone in Maui?

Hawaii permits drones, including in Maui and elsewhere on this island state. Since you’re still flying within the United States, you’re under the jurisdiction of the FAA.

» MORE: Drone Laws in Hawaii

Admittedly, Hawaii doesn’t have overly strict drone laws. The state has only one state law that doesn’t apply to the average hobbyist or commercial pilot. 

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has a local law, but that’s about it.

As great as this may sound, you can’t use your drone with complete and utter freedom.

As we said in the intro, you’re restricted from using your drone in all the standard places, including military airbases, airports, heliports, and the like.

You should use a drone map when planning your flights around Maui to avoid restricted airspace. Temporary flight restrictions can go up anytime, and you can’t fly through those areas either.

Maui is an incredibly small Hawaiian island, measuring 735 square miles, approximately 26 miles wide and 48 miles long.

The cramped conditions mean that restricted airspace can extend further than you’d think, leaving you having to replan your route.

Can you fly a drone in Haleakala National Park?

Maui gets the lion’s share of attention for its beaches, from Hana to Wailea, Kihei, Kahului, Paia, and so many more.

Situated among all that nature is Haleakala National Park, another trademark of this tiny island.

The park includes over 33,000 acres of space, of which a dormant volcano, Wilderness Area, and a forest called Hosmer’s Grove are packed within.

Can you bring your drone to Haleakala National Park? That’s a hard no.

The National Park Service oversees Haleakala and under Policy Memorandum 14-05, has prohibited drones from entering the park since 2014.

We’ve discussed Policy Memorandum 14-05 elsewhere on the blog, and you can read it in full here.

Policy Memorandum 14-05 outlaws the “launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Haleakala National Park” unless you have written permission from a superintendent.

Superintendents grant permissions very sparingly. The NPS largely wants drones out of the park because they pose a nuisance to visitors, can destroy natural resources, and will upset the wildlife in the area.

Considering that Haleakala National Park also contains a Wilderness Area, a preservation point that strictly prohibits drones, it’s no surprise you can’t access this national park with a UAV.

If you violate the rules, you’ll receive a misdemeanor charge. The NPS says this can result in a fine of $5,000 and possibly six months behind bars.

The best 5 places to fly a drone in Maui

Okay, enough with places you can’t use your drone in Maui. Let’s spotlight five locations where pilots have gone and gotten some stellar shots. We hope you can visit each spot on this list too!

1. Hana Coast

On Maui’s eastern end, Hana Coast features 52 miles of highway and access to the beloved Hana Beach. 

A more isolated part of the state, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rainforests, waterfalls, and beaches with glimmering black sand.

Hana has an airport in the region, so triple-check your drone map that you’re not encroaching on restricted airspace as you visit this tranquil green coastline.

2. Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Point, also known as the Nakalele Blowhole, is up northern Maui on the western side. To reach the blowhole portion of this land mass, venture toward Poelua Bay and head east.

The blowhole produces water spouts that emerge with the intensity of a geyser. The water can crest 100 feet up. All along, you’re surrounded by the ocean with cresting waves up the rocks near the blowhole.

We recommend standing a good distance from the blowhole when it’s in action.

You could get hurt between the strong force of the ocean waves and the blowhole itself. One person has even died because they were pulled into the blowhole.

Fly your drone a good distance over the blowhole so it doesn’t get spritzed with water and break!

3. Pu’upehe Platform

Although it’s affectionately referred to as Sweetheart Rock, the true name is Pu’upehe Platform or Pu’ Pehe. Sweetheart Rock is just the tourist name, but it’s stuck, so we can’t blame you for using it.

This small rock ascends 150 feet over a peninsula between Hulopo’e Bay and Manele Bay. Either way you turn, you’ll enjoy beautiful bay views. You can possibly see Manele Bay Resort and its golf clubhouse too.

Old village remnants abound in the area, such as a fishing shrine, a haeiau (a Hawaiian temple), worksites, a garden terrace, and housing platforms.

You’ll certainly have some unique footage to take here with your drone, that’s for certain!

4. Waihee Ridge Trail

A spot famed for hiking, the Waihee Ridge Trail features forests, gorges, and mountains. 

While you can always take some drone footage from the ground, we suggest walking along the trail to reach some of the dramatic cliffs and breathtaking footage.

It only takes about an hour to hike the entire trail, so you’re not going to spend all day here unless you want to.

As always, respect others who use the trail and give them a wide berth when flying your drone!

5. Po’olenalena Beach

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got Po’olenalena Beach. 

Once a hidden gem that only the locals knew about, the beach’s popularity has grown in recent years. Its long stretch of sand makes it a great place to watch the sunset.

Lots of weddings are held here too!

You must plan your time accordingly. Arriving earlier in the day could allow you to get in and out before the crowds gather. Just don’t hang around later in the day, as the crowds will stick around to see the sunset. 

Maui drone laws to know

As far removed as you may feel from the US when you’re in Hawaii, the island state still follows FAA drone laws, which means you must too.

Here’s an overview of some must-know laws to refresh your memory.

  • You must carry a valid drone license suited to the type of flights you’re doing. Recreational pilots need a TRUST certificate and commercial pilots must have a Remote Pilot Certificate. Double-check that your license is valid, commercial pilots, as the Remote Pilot Certificate only lasts for two years.
  • Register your drone. If you’re a commercial pilot, you have to do this regardless. If you’re a hobbyist, only register drones weighing 0.55 pounds and more.
  • Do not operate your drone over 400 feet, even if you’re trying to avoid a blowhole water spray!
  • You cannot use a drone weighing more than 55 pounds.
  • Do not interrupt search and rescue operations, firefighting efforts, or law enforcement efforts with your drone.
  • Maintain a visual line of sight on your drone at all times or have an observer in the distance who can do so for you.
  • Stay at least five miles from the nearest airport.
  • Never interrupt manned aircraft. Give them the right of way and make a safe landing nearby.
  • Do not exceed speeds of 100 miles per hour with your drone.


Maui is an island at the top of many drone pilots’ bucket lists. Fortunately, you can use your drone throughout this island, but not near airports or national parks.

Have fun and follow FAA rules!

Can You Fly a Drone in Germany?

Germany’s scenery enchants the millions of people who visit this European country each year.

There’s so much to hold dear between the castles, timbered homes, populated villages, Rococo churches, deep forests, and alpine slopes.

Can you fly a drone in Germany commercially and recreationally?

Drones are allowed in Germany according to the German Federal Aviation Office, the governing aircraft authority in the country. You must follow the rules established by the GFAO and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

It’s always a little complex flying a drone in another country, what with a different governing authority, language barriers, and different measurements (like meters or kilometers) that you may not be used to.

This guide will help you navigate using your drone in Germany.

What agency makes the drone rules in Germany?

As a drone pilot, you’ve surely memorized the FAA’s drone laws inside and out. That will only benefit you when operating your drone in the United States though.

In Germany, FAA guidelines no longer apply. Rather, you’re under the jurisdiction of the German Federal Aviation Office or GFAO.

In Germany, you’re a lot likelier to hear this agency referred to as the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt, but it’s the same thing as the GFAO. It’s still the country’s national civil aviation authority.

The GFAO is stationed in Braunschweig and reports to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

Can you fly a drone in Germany?

Europe as a whole is quite drone-friendly, with some parts more so than others. Germany is one country where drones are permitted, but only in approved areas.

Germany is rather dense, especially in its cities, so you won’t have entirely free reign, but you should be able to use your drone freely enough that you’re satisfied. That goes for recreational and commercial pilots alike.

Keep in mind that at all times you’re flying that you must follow GFAO rules. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency may impose drone rules in Germany and the rest of Europe that you’d also have to obey.  

Germany drone rules to know before you go

Okay, so what exactly are the drone rules in Germany, anyway? Without further ado, let’s go over that information.

Drones can only fly if they’re in the “open” category

Commercial or recreational aside, a drone must be in the “open” category to be eligible to fly in the European Union.

What in the world does that mean? Your drone must meet some specific criteria:

  • The drone class must be between 0 and 4.
  • The drone cannot carry “dangerous goods” and will not drop those goods.
  • Your drone must always stay within 120 meters or 400 feet in the air.
  • You must keep a visual line of sight on the drone unless you have a UA observer assisting you.
  • The drone will not fly over people unless it weighs less than 250 grams or 0.55 pounds.
  • The drone will not weigh more than 25 kilograms or 55 pounds at takeoff.
  • You bought your drone before January 1st, 2023.

Special recording drones are prohibited in residential areas

Do you own a high-end drone capable of transferring and/or recording radio, acoustic, or optimal signals?

You’re better off not bringing this drone to Germany, as your usage abilities will be limited.

Drones of this nature must stay out of residential areas unless the property owners are aware of the nature of your drone and permit its flight.

That’s a tall order, especially with issues like language barriers.

Don’t fly over nature conservation areas

In Germany, the Federal Nature Conservation Act went into effect in 2009 to conserve the country’s beauty Today, the act is overseen by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

If you read this blog often enough, you’ll know that drones and nature conservation areas rarely mix. The same opinion prevails in Germany, where any nature conservation area listed in the Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits UAVs.

We recommend researching a nature park and contacting the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection or the GFAO for guidance on whether you can use your drone there.

You must keep a reasonable distance from railway facilities and federal waterways and highways

If you’re taking urban shots of Germany for a personal or professional drone project, know that you can’t fly any closer than 100 meters or 328 feet from railway facilities, federal waterways, and federal highways.

You’re forbidden from flying in sensitive areas

The GFAO and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency can assign parts of Germany as sensitive areas, meaning that drones cannot fly in those areas.

Some examples of areas that may be deemed sensitive include traffic routes, residential areas, prisons, disaster areas, industrial areas, and crowds, either in whole or in part.

Since this information can change on a dime, we can’t stress enough how important it is to travel with a good drone mapping app that you can use to determine if you’re legally allowed to fly.

Heavy drones must have a fireproof badge

Does your drone weigh more than 250 grams or 0.55 pounds? Not only will you find it more laborious legally to get into the skies, but you’ll also have to jump through more hoops.

German drone law requires you to register the drone with a fireproof badge. Stick the badge prominently on your UAV.

The badge must include information such as your full name and your address. If you’re not the drone pilot or owner, then their information must be on the badge.

You must not fly closer than 1.5 kilometers to an airport

German drone law prohibits pilots from flying any closer than 1.5 kilometers or 0.93 miles to any airport throughout the country.

Although you can get very close to airports compared to the drone laws in other parts of the world, we still wouldn’t advise you to do that!

You must have drone insurance

Usually, only commercial pilots have to worry about insuring their drones to protect a country from liabilities. Not in Germany!

It doesn’t matter if you’re flying commercially or recreationally. You must have active insurance before you launch your drone.

You may need a drone license

In Germany, drones must be licensed by their weight. Pilots operating a drone weighing 2 kilograms or 4.4 pounds needn’t worry about a permit.

If your drone weighs or exceeds 5 kilograms or 11 pounds, you must contact the GFAO about obtaining a permit.

Heavier drones must have a permit to fly at night

Speaking of permits, if you’re required to have one because your drone weighs or exceeds 5 kilograms, you also need that permit if you plan to use your drone after dark.

Without a permit, it’s illegal for heavier drones to fly at night.

Your drone must stay within your visual line of sight

You’ll recall from the section on what constitutes an “open” drone that your drone must stay within your visual line of sight when using it.

FPV drone owners may be the exception in Germany. If your drone will remain only 30 meters or 98 feet in the air and doesn’t exceed 250 grams or 0.55 pounds, then you can fly it without a visual line of sight.

Your drone cannot fly higher than 50 meters and sometimes 100 meters

When operating your drone in controlled airspace in Germany, the altitude limit is 50 meters or 164 feet. You can fly up to 100 meters or 328 feet outside controlled airspace if you have a permit.

Without a permit, you’re limited to 50 meters of altitude.

Germany is a spectacular place to visit with your drone, as you can see various rich sights. Drones are permitted in the country if you follow the guidelines of the GFAO and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

Familiarize yourself with the rules, contact the GFAO if you need further clarification, and don’t fly in the country without a drone mapping app.

Germany can restrict airspace as needed, and entering a no-fly zone is not how you want to spend your trip here!