Benin celebrates Drone Day

It may have taken them five years to arrive at the party, but the drone community in Benin was very proud to join the rest of the world in celebrating International Drone Day this year.

Founded in 2015 by David and Sarah Oneal, the day of the drone is celebrated on the first Saturday of May every year now; ever since it got off to a great start on Day 1, attracting the participation of at least 40,000 drone enthusiasts from 150 countries.

Among other issues, the main aim of the celebrations is to dispel the myths and controversy surrounding drone technology, which unfortunately has been taken to heart by aviation authorities in many countries; who have used these accusations to ban the use of drones in their countries.

So, in a way, drone day is a kind of response to this, and on the day, drone enthusiasts will hold events in their respective countries educate those outside of the drone community about the many positive ways in which drones are used to better society.

The war cry for Drone Day is simple: “Drones are Good!”

“International Drone Day is hosted by the drone community for the public,” David and Sarah say. “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!”

And that is exactly what 75 drone lovers in Benin tried to do at the end of May, when they gathered at a hotel in Cotonou promote autonomous aerial technologies in the country. Pitting professionals and amateurs alike, the first ever drone day event in Benin was organised by Benin Flying Labs, ABePA-drone, and Atlas-Gis.

The celebrations were also blessed by the presence of the director of drone safety at the country’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), who emphasised the importance of knowledge and application of the rules governing the overflight and possession of drones in the Republic of Benin.

The organisers also distributed pamphlets with information about drone rules; and the contact details for drone registration and the request for overflight authorisation.

Said Benin Flying Labs in their report; “The festival also brought together citizens and leaders to demonstrate the opportunities drone technology offers for agricultural development, disaster management, environmental protection, security for goods and people, delivery services, and aerial survey and mapping.”

There was an exchange of ideas about drone technology in general, which also attracted the attention of curious passer-by, who stopped to watch, and get their hands briefly on the remote controls.

After these niceties, it was then time for fun.

“Participants were treated to a visual feast of drones during this two-hour show through skilfully orchestrated demonstrations by the Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire from DJI; eBee X from SenseFly as well as platforms from Parrot to name a few. Locally-built FPV (First Person View) drones also represented Beninese innovation.”

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