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Advice Needed, Flying Offshore of the Big Island

rmcpherson

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Hi all,

I'm planning to do some offshore flying from the Big Island in 2020 and I'm looking for some local knowledge so I can better plan my trip.

1. Are there times of the year that I should avoid flying because of weather/wind?
2. I've read some threads about taking off/landing from boats, what is the feasibility of doing this off of the Big Island (I've got a Mavic 2 Pro)?
3. Any other useful tips for flying around the Big Island? I know the national parks and such are off limits, but I'm curious as to the difficulty of gaining approval to fly in airport airspace.

Thanks for the help!
 
Hi all,

I'm planning to do some offshore flying from the Big Island in 2020 and I'm looking for some local knowledge so I can better plan my trip.

1. Are there times of the year that I should avoid flying because of weather/wind?
2. I've read some threads about taking off/landing from boats, what is the feasibility of doing this off of the Big Island (I've got a Mavic 2 Pro)?
3. Any other useful tips for flying around the Big Island? I know the national parks and such are off limits, but I'm curious as to the difficulty of gaining approval to fly in airport airspace.

Thanks for the help!

Hawai’i is drone is a friendly state. Use common courtesy, there are drone operators that has flown within the national parks in Hawai’i, but do ask the local LEO, rangers and even the locals and you will find that the state of Hawai’i is all about ALOHA.
 
Hi @rmcpherson - here's some information that will hopefully be useful:

I took a trip to Hawaii in April 2018 and came away with some awesome drone photos and videos - I've included a few samples below. Although I didn't go to the Big Island (went to Oahu and Kauai), much of what I learned through research should apply on that island as well.

Legal Locations
-- On the Big Island, all of the larger airports are LAANC-enabled so if you fly near one of those, you should be able to get immediate authorizations using LAANC. Here's the FAA LAANC map for the Big Island:
Big_Island_LAANC.png

-- You are right in that you can't take off and land in national parks and the same applies to Hawaii state parks, I understand. There are a number of regional and local parks, however. Through my research in 2018 I couldn't find any restrictions for drones taking off and landing in those. You can of course fly over most parks if you take off and land outside of them and obey all the other rules. There were a few locations on Oahu and Kauai where a public road had a scenic overlook right next to a state or national park that allowed take off & landing, so that you could fly over valleys and get some amazing views.

-- By using Google Maps, I found many beaches or cliff areas that were public land that allowed for not only good take off and landing areas, but stunning scenery as well. As has already been said, just be courteous, respectful, and friendly and you should be okay in most places.

Wind
One word of caution: be wary of the wind! Most coastlines and beaches can get pretty windy even at lower altitudes. And of course the higher you go, you'll probably get stiffer winds.

If you have a larger drone like a Phantom or Mavic/Mavic 2 you should be good - my Phantom 4 Pro was rock solid even in 30mph winds! But I've seen too many reports of drones like the Mavic Mini that are getting blown away by higher winds.

What kind of drone do you have?

Examples
Here are a couple of videos I shot while there. Islands of Oahu and Kauai. Phantom 4 Pro. Both videos are about 3 minutes long.

Hawaii-Happy-Poster.jpg Hawaii-Majestic-Poster.png

Have a great trip and let us see what you shoot when you return!
 
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If you get on MavicPilots forums the member jboyd23 lives on Oahu and has a surfing video posted in THIS thread. He may be able to give you some current info.
 
Hi @rmcpherson - here's some information that will hopefully be useful:

Here are a couple of videos I shot while there. Islands of Oahu and Kauai. Phantom 4 Pro. Both videos are about 3 minutes long.

View attachment 1995 View attachment 1996

Thanks for the thorough reply! Remarkable videos...did you always launch from shore or did you ever launch from the ocean? Does the wind seem to change the farther out from the coast you get? About how far could you fly from the shore could you get?
 
Thanks for the thorough reply! Remarkable videos...did you always launch from shore or did you ever launch from the ocean? Does the wind seem to change the farther out from the coast you get? About how far could you fly from the shore could you get?
I always launched from the shore - either cliffs or beach. The wind did change, but was inconsistent. It usually blows towards the shore, so if you are near cliffs, it may be stronger as it hits the cliffs and rolls upward - know what I mean? I don't exactly recall the maximum distance I flew out, but I usually kept the Phantom within 1/2 mile, mainly to keep it within sight. Hope that helps!
 
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