Saturday, August 24, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, August 02, 2013
More drones over Hawaii? It’s a good idea for some
By Malia Zimmerman @ 2:49 PM :: 3125 Views :: Law Enforcement

More drones over Hawaii? It’s a good idea for some

  HE LIKES THIS: Think Tech Founder Jay Fidell, who coordinated a program on drones over Hawaii, stands behind attendee Joe Lopez, who got to get a closer look at the drones at the presentation.

by Malia Zimmerman, August 1, 2013

HONOLULU — Hawaii officials have a unique take on aerial drones — bring ‘em on.

“Drones could be a game changer for us,” state Rep. Gene Ward, R-Hawaii Kai, said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to develop testing grounds for domestic drones, and Hawaii is among 37 states hoping to be one of six sites to host the pilot project.

“Hawaii does not want to change anything,” Ward said. “We rely on our good looks. But we also need to rely on our intelligence.”

The lawmaker said there is a market for commercial drone use that could bring millions into the Hawaii economy, especially if companies don’t have to struggle through the state’s notorious government red tape.

Officials in Hawaii say they hope to team up with Alaska and Oregon to test drones in all climates and terrains.

Drones really aren’t new in the island state. The U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Stryker Brigade and its 3rd Infantry Brigade based at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Air Force Base on Oahu use more than 100 drones in their surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The Hawaii Air Guard has another 24 drones that fly over some of Hawaii’s key military bases.

Hawaii Senator Sam Slom Hawaii Senator Sam Slom

Many residents are skeptical of drones flying through Hawaiian skies because of their lethal reputation, and they fear loss of privacy. The eyes in the sky can be outfitted with facial recognition software, thermal imaging cameras, microphones and license plate readers.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Diamond Head, introduced Senate Bill 783 during the 2013 legislative session to limit how gathered data can be used. The proposal also requires the military to annually report the type of data collected and its disposition. After being assigned to the transportation, public safety and judiciary committees, the bill failed to get a hearing.

“Technically this bill, which is still alive in the 2014 legislative session that begins in mid-January, creates a new chapter for unmanned aerial vehicles,” Slom said. “I am not into conspiracy theories or anything else, but because drones are proliferating and there are potentials for wrongdoing, there should be limitations and reporting on their use.”

Sen. Will Espero wants more drones flying over Hawaii Sen. Will Espero wants more drones flying over Hawaii

Senate Public Safety and Military Affairs Chair Will Espero, who recently said he plans to run for the 1st Congressional District seat in 2014, said commercial use of drones will help the state’s economy diversify, bring millions of dollars into Hawaii’s economy and create more high-paying jobs.

Espero said drones can be used for search-and-rescue operations, emergency preparedness, fishing, atmospheric research and more. But officials would have to address how drones could be used in high-population areas, who would be allowed to operate drones and who would be in charge of enforcement.

Ted Ralston, an ex-aerospace industry executive, agrees that Hawaii’s economy could get a boost from a commercial drone industry and investors who believe there is a path to profit.

One important aspect is creating analytical software that can turn data collected into something useable, Ralston said. He stressed the importance of universities training the state’s workforce to be ready to serve the burgeoning industry.

Drones come in all sizes: Nano to the size of a Boeing 737 Drones come in all sizes: Nano to the size of a Boeing 737

The FAA strictly regulates the use of drones in Hawaii airspace, so much so that the state Department of Transportation can’t get approval to fly a drone it purchased in 2010 for $75,000.

DOT wanted to fly the drone over Honolulu Harbor to protect it from potential terrorist activity, but failed to ask permission from the FAA until it received inquiries from Hawaii Reporter in 2010 and again in January 2011. The FAA subsequently denied the request because of heavy air traffic in the area.

The FAA then told the state the drone couldn’t be deployed in the crowded airspace adjacent to Honolulu International Airport and Hickam Air Force Base. The drone had already been built, so the state had to accept it.

Right now, the drone sits in the DOT Harbor headquarters as state officials ponder whether to sell the aging drone or continue to wait for FAA approval that may never come.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii


Affordable Hawaii Coalition


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii