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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



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Drying up the talent pool

18 February 2019

I hate to mention drones in the first column of the week but I'm afraid it has to be done.

Governments around the world have fallen for the media hysteria in respect to drones and we're seeing some awful knee-jerk reactions to a *perceived* threat of recreational drone use that has extracted the enormous toll of exactly ZERO deaths -- anywhere -- ever!

Most countries are now treating drones like firearms and requiring owners or craft to be registered for "safety" purposes. In fact, in the USA you have to register as a drone owner but don't always have to register as a firearms owner.

From this, we can deduce that the USA considers drones to be a greater threat to public safety than guns -- even though firearms result in around 30,000 deaths annually in America while (as mentioned above) the recreational use of multirotor drones has never killed anyone, at any time, anywhere in the world.

Yes, I think "hysteria" is the correct term to apply to the issue of recreational drone use.

And now it's just gotten even worse (if that's possible) in the UK.

Drones really have been given "threat" parity with guns, drugs and explosives in good old blighty.

The UK parliament is about to pass laws that will empower police to stop and search anyone they suspect of carrying a drone within 5Km of an airport.

I'm not kidding!

Here's a video I made yesterday about this announcement and I urge you to read the hundreds of comments it has already attracted:

If you watched the video you will have seen the very worrying side-effect of this vilification process regarding drones and RC model aircraft.

The world now runs a very real risk that we're going to lose the pool of "enthusiasts" from which so many of the world's real aviation and aerospace inventors and innovators have previously come.

If we're not very careful, we're going to find that in five or 10 years' time, there are no "keen as beans" young people coming up through the ranks with a passion for and a good understanding of "things aviation". No more Sir Frank Whittles, no more Neil Armstrong's... nobody with fire in their belly and a burning desire to turn their hobby and interest into a career in aviation.

What will this do to the advancement of aviation and aerospace technology?

Sure,there'll still be graduate engineers and folk who choose aerospace engineering as a career option -- but they won't be the ones who have already spent years gaining practical experience, knowledge and understanding. They'll be the "clock in at 8 and clock out at 5" bunch who follow instructions well but simply lack the wherewithal to dream about the future in the way that those with passion can.

Parents won't be buying their kids model aircraft or drones because it's just too risky, what with all the rules and regulations. Even if they do get their hands on an RC plane or drone, kids in many countries can no longer legally fly them without the supervision of someone who has the necessary license and who is at least 16 years old.

Red tape and hysteria-driven regulation is about to kill a hobby to which the world owes so very much.

How do we deal with this lunatic situation?

As I said in my video... if drones were bringing down airliners, if they were regularly resulting in deaths or serious injuries then I could understand the need for *some* regulation. However, they have proven to be one of the safest pastimes in the world -- yet have become one of the most regulated ones -- all because some people, who have no understanding of the issues, keep saying "what if?" and "it's only a matter of time".

Sadly, our politicians are so stupid, they listen to this drivel.

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