Industry veteran lauds potential benefits of drones

Potential benefits to humankind of drones is what drives industry veterans

Defence Connect caught up with Ron Bartsch, president of the Asia-Pacific RPAS Consortium, to discuss all matters drone-related.

Bartsch, who said he’d been active in the aviation industry for 35 years as a pilot and also as head of safety for Qantas, explained how some commentators cast the advent of the drone as exceedingly significant to aviation – comparable in fact to the introduction of the jet engine.

While he said it was impressive that "every aircraft flying today could be flown without a pilot onboard [and delivering] beers and pizzas may be one aspect … what drew me into this sector of aviation are the benefits to society, humankind, that can occur through the use of drones".

Bartsch said the benefits could only be truly realised by full integration of drones into unsegregated airspace, arguing also that this needed to happen at an international level as well as domestically.

"There’s no reason why Australia couldn't be the leader in this," said Bartsch.

"Forget about the limitations because [those] are only limited by our imagination. If you think about drones 10 years ago, you were thinking they just only had a military context, but the fact is they can do tasks now so much cheaper, so much more effectively and so much safer."

Bartsch emphasised that the benefits of the technology were currently materialising.

"The benefits, they're out there now, it's just a matter of us being able to realise [them] by getting everybody together round the table, not only at a domestic level," he said.

To hear more from Ron Bartsch, tune in to the Defence Connect podcast here.

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