International Drone Day 2017 – Sydney, Australia
When it comes to drones, your knowledge could be that of a novice, intermediate or advanced pilot. You could also have no interest whatsoever but have a curious mind as to what the fuss is all about and how this ground-breaking technology will affect us in the years to come.
One way or the other, you might seriously want to consider attending your nearest and upcoming International Drone Day festival. Although it was generally created to educate people about the positive use of drones – I came to a realisation that its evolved into a far bigger spectacle when on 6th May 2017, I was lucky enough to be invited to capture the events of this year’s Sydney event which was hosted by Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions in Camden, New South Wales.
International Drone Day took place on 6th of May 2017. It followed the success of the first one in 2015, which saw over 40,000 people in 150 countries take part. Hundreds of teams throughout the world held events to educate those outside of the drone community about the many positive ways in which drones are used to better society. The mantra of those taking part was “Drones are Good!”
International Drone Day was founded by Sarah and David O’Neal, of “That Drone Show”. They comment: “International Drone Day is hosted by the drone community for the public. It’s an opportunity for people that have heard of drones to find out more about them. As a result of International Drone Day 2015, vast numbers of people now understand that drones are used in good ways – from being used to save lives in search and rescue, to providing more efficient ways to monitor crops, to producing beautiful photographs. International Drone Day also highlights the much needed economic boost provided by drones, and shows that drones are fun!”
International Drone Day is supported by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, AirVuz, MultiGP and Interdrone – and in partnership with these organisations, International Drone Day event activities vary by team and include drone racing, aerial photography and videography instruction, and search and rescue demonstrations.
1. The Presentations
Starting with a warm welcome and general introduction, the presentations involved industry experts showcasing slides and hands-on demonstrations about current and new drones in the marketplace. It covered everything from racing drones, to commercial drone applications in agriculture, surveying, photograph and videography. They also provided advice on local aviation rules and tips on safe flying as well as licensing for drones.
In order to encourage a more seminar or workshop type environment – the presenters welcomed attendees to ask just about any question they had in mind.
2. The Simulators
The simulation station was a hit amongst the public. If you’re looking for the cheapest and most convenient way to experience the thrill of piloting a drone (without actually flying one) – then you must try these out. They were basically laptops uploaded with drone simulator software. The simulator on display was called ‘Liftoff’ available at http://www.liftoff-game.com.
The Liftoff game also translates the rush of first-person view drone racing into the digital world. It’s got the potential to become an ideal gateway into the quad copter racing scene, offering a platform both for pilots with real-life experience and for gamers who are still unfamiliar with the new sport.
3. The Demonstrations
On the field they demonstrated everything from the smallest micro drones to some of the largest and most powerful commercial drones on the market. This was definitely the most jaw-dropping aspect of the festival. One couldn’t argue against the Chinese juggernaut – DJI having totally dominated this session with their drones, and it came as no surprise that a lot of interest was around the revolutionary and affordable new DJI Mavic Pro.
A big crowd-pleaser was when Kian Garcia from Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions demonstrated racing drones. Along with the pilot’s skills, the sheer velocity and dynamic flight ability of these had the public absolutely mesmerized.
And amongst the crowd I noticed a mixture of people – ranging from the just plain curious to hobbyists, surveyors, farmers, racers, photographers and videographers.
4. The Stalls
They aren’t just tables with catalogues and products piled on top of each other. Drones are out on display in the open, and DJI products were hooked up to large monitors to more graphically and intricately demonstrate to you the technology of how precisely a video feed is transmitted from a drone’s camera into a display.
And if you’re ready to make a purchase of some sort – the representatives are industry experts offering you tailored advice and suggesting the most appropriate products available to suit your needs.
5. Networking & Social Ties
Our hosts were kind enough to organise a barbeque around the drone demonstration field. I noticed this presented a chance to not only put some food into a hungry stomach but we had interactions at every level too. A lot of drone owners were exchanging ideas and information amongst each other – and so were the racers and commercial industry specialists. The potential here was limitless, whether you make a friend for social reasons or a professional contact for business – you potentially gain as much from this as you wish to put in.
After experiencing this event, I’m even more confident that drones are coming into our lives in more ways than I’d expected. They are definitely here to stay. The technology is evolving rapidly making them even more intuitive and safer to fly.
Organisers of these events – such as Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions are working closely with drone manufacturers, local aviation authorities and the public in constructing these events which are rapidly increasing in popularity. They play a significant role in social acceptance and educating the public towards the positive attributes that drones can bring into society.
A big thank you to the entire team at Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions for their warm hospitality. Particular thanks to Vick Janoian, Kian Garcia, Jacob Hogan and Ben Grear for their feedback and advice.