Amidst growing concern that recreational drones may pose a danger to manned aircraft, Kiwi drone and RC model enthusiast Bruce Simpson has come up with a valuable new piece of technology to ensure that this risk is minimised.
The small hand-held device uses the ADSB transmissions from manned aircraft to alert drone and model fliers to the approach of aircraft, long before they can be seen or heard.
“As an avid proponent of safety within the drone and RC communities, I decided to put my background in electronics engineering and computer software to good use by developing a device that has the potential to ensure the skies remain safe,” said Simpson.
“The alarm I’ve developed is not a silver bullet but it is an extremely valuable tool for improving safety”.
Through his very popular YouTube channels, Simpson has generated a huge level of interest in the ADSB alarm and says that there is already a massive demand for the device.
“I looked at the viability of manufacturing the alarm here in New Zealand and exporting to the rest of the world but unfortunately the numbers don’t add up” he said.
“Instead, I will be publishing some DIY videos showing people how they can build their own from readily available parts. This will ensure it remains cheap enough to be used by everyone. Since the goal is safety, it makes no sense to produce something that is unaffordable. Once the project is published, anyone will be able to build one for under NZ$100 (US$70)”.
Simpson adds that “I am aware that a lot of people will not be able to or do not want to
build their own so I am sure someone will start making and selling them to cater to this
“Few people realise that in the decade or so since they became readily available, there
has not been a single death attributed to the recreational use of multirotor drones, making them the safest form of aviation we’ve ever seen” says Simpson, “Through my work educating drone users and developing new technology, I’m doing my best to ensure that perfect safety record remains intact”
Drone users now call on the manned aviation community to ensure that they play their part by equipping their aircraft with the ADSB technology that has become such an important part of safety in the 21 st century. New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority clearly agree that ADSB is important and have already given over NZ$1 million in grants to assist aircraft owners with the installation of such technology in their aircraft.
“Keeping our skies safe in the era of the drone requires both manned and unmanned aviators to make changes and be aware of their responsibilities,” says Simpson. “We’re
doing our bit and it’s now up to the manned aviation community to ensure they have ADSB technology in their aircraft if they want to be seen”.