Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

First! (again)

29 June 2018

I had to laugh this week when I read a news story claiming that the first ever trans-Atlantic drone flight was about to take place.

Many news agencies and websites were carrying a story about the upcoming flight of a General Atomics MQ_9B SkyGuardian "remotely piloted aircraft" (aka "drone") and claiming that it would be a "first".

Seriously?

I have to say that I get rather annoyed when I read press releases coming out of an industry making bogus claims about "world first" and "cutting edge" activities when the reality is that many of these things were already done by hobbyists more than a decade ago.

First drone to cross the Atlantic?

Sorry... read about what Myanard Hill did back in 2003, a decade and a half ago.

So is it simply that hobbyists are so far ahead of the game that the industry has forgotten what they've done already?

But trans-Atlantic flights aren't the only example.

One of the big issues within the drone industry right now is something called BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flights.

The desk-pilots who make up the regulations have decided, in their infinite wisdom and with ZERO experience, that flying a drone/model further than you can see represents an unacceptable risk to other airspace users.

Here in New Zealand I cringed and moaned when I read this story claiming "It was New Zealand's first 'beyond line of sight' flight".

Bullshirt!

Hell, I was flying BVLOS nearly a decade ago and there are *plenty* of examples of people in NZ flying "drones" BVLOS right here in NZ, long before the company in the Stuff story claimed their "first".

So what can we draw from this?

Well firstly, the drone "industry", ie: those seeking to make money out of these things, is miles behind the expert recreational users of the technology. In the case of trans-Atlantic flights, the gap is 15 years in favour of the hobbyist and in the case of BVLOS the gap is over a decade.

Secondly, the fact that so many people have been engaging in BVLOS flying of drones (aka "model aircraft") for over a decade without a single reported instance of any damage to property, injury or death goes to show that the risk analysis performed by regulators (if they even bothered to do one) and on which the BVLOS ban is based, has been wildly inaccurate.

What is most concerning is that the "desk pilots" who are the regulators are coming out and making all sorts of claims as to the risks and dangers of this kind of activity without any consultation with those who have actually been doing it for a decade or more, and with clear ignorance of the 100% safety record associated with such activities to date.

The likes of CAA, the FAA, CASA and other regulatory authorities simply ignore the huge wealth of accumulated knowledge, experience and data that has been gathered by recreational fliers and instead pretend that this sort of thing never happens -- or worse, that if it were to happen, someone should be fined or imprisoned for doing it without the guidance and oversight of the very army of deskpilots who know nothing.

What a sad world we live in.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

Recent Columns

There is no centre to the universe
In the beginning there was nothing. No matter, no time, no universe...

When less is more?
It used to be that being an electronics hobbyist was easy...

Why time flies
As older folk like myself are very much aware, time seems to pass more quickly as you age...

Oh the irony
YouTube has made a lot of noise about enforcing its community standards of late...

The end of live streaming?
The events of last Friday continue to have deep repercussions on the shape and form that the internet may take from this point forwards...

More internet restrictions
It really does look as if the internet is dying -- from the perspective of being an open, free and somewhat anonymous method of accessing and disseminating information...

The future looks bleak
Today's column was going to be about the tragedy of the Christchurch mosque attacks which happened on Friday of last week...

No longer plane simple
Just about every country in the developed world has now grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, after two crashes that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people...

When the sun shines
We all know where clouds live... in the sky...

Actions speak louder than words
I've written a few columns about the (apparent) decline in geekiness and the sad way people seem to be uninterested in the technology that powers the world around us...

A black-box society?
A few days ago I made a video (as you do) about how there seems to be a lack of interest in "making stuff" these days...