The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone and also referred to as an unpiloted aerial vehicle and a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard.

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The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by zander » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:58 pm

Regulation stifles lift-off of drones in SA
Drone entrepreneurs complain that regulation procedures in SA take far too long and are needlessly prohibitive
21 February 2019 - 05:00 Kate Ferreira

It was a story that captured the world’s imagination — emergency blood supplies delivered to remote locations in Rwanda by drone. A joint initiative between the government and a technology company called Zipline used drones to overcome delivery problems and save lives.

The 2018 story prompted renewed interest in the application of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or drones. SA operators say this particular success story relies on a specific set of conditions which wouldn’t apply here, but the consensus seems to be that red tape is holding the industry back, limiting experimentation towards innovative uses.

In this country, drones are used commercially for surveying and data collection in mining, agriculture, property and construction — plus image and video processing. This is managed by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which requires commercial operators to have a remote operator certificate (ROC) and a licence for each pilot and each drone.

To qualify for the ROC, companies must also produce a comprehensive technical manual on operational compliance.

Gary Mortimer, the editor of sUAS News, a popular digital publication on unmanned aviation, says: "The issue with SA regulation is twofold. It takes too long to get anything done, and the cost is stopping people coming in at an entry level." Mortimer believes Australia provides an excellent example of simpler regulation. "There, if your craft weighs less than 2kg you just need to tell the authority that you are operating commercially. This allows people to start cheaply and see if their drone business idea is feasible."

Warren Witte is a co-founder of Integrated Aerial Systems (IAS), an ROC holder that works in mining, mapping, agriculture and film. He says: "It took us 21 months to get fully licensed, and that was doing everything according to the CAA spec. We expected this to be a six-month process but we think there is a capacity issue."

Mortimer and Witte are pro-regulation in principle, and Witte says IAS has a good relationship with CAA staff it has dealt with. "But ... to get a single aircraft licensed [is time-consuming]. Some [licensed operators] are waiting eight to 12 months to get a standard drone approved and added to their licence. If we want to scale up our business for two months’ time, we literally cannot do it," he adds.

According to Witte, pursuing IAS’s full licensing cost it two years without income. "This meant starting off financially on the back foot." Witte argues that as a result "there is absolutely no transformation in the drone sector. I don’t think there is one fully licensed, black-owned drone company in SA today. Many existing operators were already entrenched in the manned aviation space. Someone coming from a disadvantaged background, without aviation experience or the resources to throw at this for months, is going to face an unbelievable challenge to become a legal operator."

The CAA provides an open list of all ROC holders. Currently 37 companies are listed. Realistically, then, there is an untold number of commercial users operating illegally. Spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba says limited private use — such as using a drone on your own property — doesn’t require a pilot’s licence or registration. On the commercial side, he says: "Any notion or suggestion that … the amount the CAA charges for its approval processes is exorbitant is simply flawed. The CAA was not designed to be a profit-making entity. The amount ... for processing licence/approval applications is negligible and barely covers administrative and related costs."

The CAA’s list of fees includes: adding an aircraft to the ROC at R790; initial issuing of the ROC at R3,960; and certificates of approval for the operations manual at R3,990. Several hourly costs are listed, including evaluation of the manual at R750 an hour.

"The crux of the matter," says Ledwaba, "is that the quality of the documentation submitted has a bearing on how quickly the approval process is finalised. The fact that some owners may not have [a] background in aviation could also be one factor that contributes to submission of documentation that does not meet the set standards."

Some sources the FM spoke to talk about paying R200,000-R300,000 to get everything submitted, approved and certified, including third-party costs.

After registration, there are limitations based on privacy and safety concerns, such as not flying near an airport and written permission from municipalities, traffic departments or harbour masters.

Flying over private homes requires permission from every homeowner. This can limit the cost-effectiveness of smaller jobs, reduce the time-saving aspect of using drones, and in some cases put legal use out of the reach of smaller operators.

Johnny Miller is the founder of africanDrone, a nonprofit organisation that helps "African drone pioneers" with skills development, seed funding and advocacy. Miller says: "Drones are becoming so safe with improved sensors, geofencing and better batteries; they simply don’t fall out of the sky any more. In the past two to three years, drones have come a long way.

"There has been no recorded downing of any aircraft with a drone strike anywhere in the world. Private and public entities are managing air traffic and drones in the air in real time. So there are multiple reasons why you could agitate for deregulation and still keep manned aviation safe."
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by snoopy » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:16 pm

So many people breaking existing regulations and laws with them as it is...so that just makes it worse for everyone.

With self regulation falling short, the state will just clamp down more on this sector.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by ACE MAN » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:21 pm

snoopy wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:16 pm
So many people breaking existing regulations and laws with them as it is...so that just makes it worse for everyone.

With self regulation falling short, the state will just clamp down more on this sector.
It is a pity our "rocket scientists" could not adopt practices that are widely used in many countries around the world, but hey "we did not invent aviation, we just perfected it"
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by tansg » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:24 am

I am sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want operate an aircraft commercially then you need comply with the regulations. Just because your aircraft doesn't have a pilot onboard doesn't mean it is not an aircraft. Regulators are conservative by design initially until a level of trust and maturity is shown by a sector where a level of self-regulation can be delegated down to the industry. However at this stage of development on the industry, as is obvious by the number of regulation busts, this cannot occur without the regulator being considered negligent. So how can the industry start to drive its own maturity? Why not start a professional association to which responsible operators can be a member and which can start to create professional standards for members to then voluntarily comply and of which compliance can be verified by industry peer audits. This would give credibility and a mandate to lobby the regulator to relax oversight on the industry.

PS The SA regs are considered to be some of the better regs at the moment
PPS All regulators in the world are under resourced with respect to UA operations.
PPPS Do not look to some of the traditional leaders of aviation regulation (i.e. FAA. EASA, etc) for guidance as they have a record of dithering, other social iossues and political interference in their UA regs at present. Some of the best regs out their at the moment are from developing states who have a big need for the services provided by UA and thus are further down the road on the development of these operations. Some of these 1st world countries are only now instituting registration of UAs. The organisation I work for has been doing that for 5 years already.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Trevor Duane » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:22 am

tansg wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:24 am
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want operate an aircraft commercially then you need comply with the regulations. Just because your aircraft doesn't have a pilot onboard doesn't mean it is not an aircraft. Regulators are conservative by design initially until a level of trust and maturity is shown by a sector where a level of self-regulation can be delegated down to the industry. However at this stage of development on the industry, as is obvious by the number of regulation busts, this cannot occur without the regulator being considered negligent. So how can the industry start to drive its own maturity? Why not start a professional association to which responsible operators can be a member and which can start to create professional standards for members to then voluntarily comply and of which compliance can be verified by industry peer audits. This would give credibility and a mandate to lobby the regulator to relax oversight on the industry.

PS The SA regs are considered to be some of the better regs at the moment
PPS All regulators in the world are under resourced with respect to UA operations.
PPPS Do not look to some of the traditional leaders of aviation regulation (i.e. FAA. EASA, etc) for guidance as they have a record of dithering, other social iossues and political interference in their UA regs at present. Some of the best regs out their at the moment are from developing states who have a big need for the services provided by UA and thus are further down the road on the development of these operations. <<moderated - language>> some of these 1st world countries are only now instituting registration of UAs. <<moderated - language>> the organisation I work for has been doing that for 5 years already.

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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by ACE MAN » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:01 am

Meanwhile in Hong Kong
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Triaan » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:38 pm

I have heard countless of times the saying that "SA drone regulations is some of the best" i wholeheartedly disagree.

How can you make an industry safer if you are not allowed some sort of freedom to consistently test and perfect a new idea on a larger scale that cannot be tested by single test projects.

The industry in SA is Ingrown to its fullest and seemingly getting worse.

Overseas delivery drones are going to take off on a mass scale soon, at least within the next 3 to 5 years, it will be a big thing, how did our ingrown regulations assist in it's development ? Absolutely Zero.

How does it promote the industry from maturing ? It doesn't it does the exact opposite.

And don't come with the idea that overseas the regulations are "unsafe" or the industry is still very "immature" because let me tell you that is a load of horse manure, there has not been ONE drone belonging to a civilian that has taken out an aircraft around the world ever.

There has not been ONE civilian drone involved in any fatal accident.

And this all with drones being flown by the 10s thousands each day for almost a decade now.

Furthermore SA's air congestion and population is a needle in a haystack compared to overseas congestion.

If ever a fatal drone accident should happen, it could happen anywhere, not because of the regulations, but because if the intend is to cause an accident, the person instigating it, would have no regard for any regulation anyway.

There is NO room for any sort of advanced and new concepts to be implemented in SA drone regulations, and when there is a notion that there might be some wiggle room, it's a Pie in the sky, red tape, slow progress, resistance to comply, in short your typical corporate monopoly stagnating tactics are being implemented.

Sa regulations are only there to benefit the Select Few, with greasy palms keeping things stifled and only the top monopolies raking in what should be equally distributed umongst Operators.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Shepherd » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:36 am

tansg wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:24 am
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want operate an aircraft commercially then you need comply with the regulations. Just because your aircraft doesn't have a pilot onboard doesn't mean it is not an aircraft. Regulators are conservative by design initially until a level of trust and maturity is shown by a sector where a level of self-regulation can be delegated down to the industry. However at this stage of development on the industry, as is obvious by the number of regulation busts, this cannot occur without the regulator being considered negligent. So how can the industry start to drive its own maturity? Why not start a professional association to which responsible operators can be a member and which can start to create professional standards for members to then voluntarily comply and of which compliance can be verified by industry peer audits. This would give credibility and a mandate to lobby the regulator to relax oversight on the industry.

PS The SA regs are considered to be some of the better regs at the moment
PPS All regulators in the world are under resourced with respect to UA operations.
PPPS Do not look to some of the traditional leaders of aviation regulation (i.e. FAA. EASA, etc) for guidance as they have a record of dithering, other social iossues and political interference in their UA regs at present. Some of the best regs out their at the moment are from developing states who have a big need for the services provided by UA and thus are further down the road on the development of these operations. Some of these 1st world countries are only now instituting registration of UAs. The organisation I work for has been doing that for 5 years already.
I am tired of manned aviation in SA because of these types of mindsets. period.

Let me explain to you where everything SACAA and their laws drops off the radar for me...

Manned aviation hold themselves in such high regards and double standards that it is not even funny anymore.

Earlier this year a piece of a Mango airplane falls off during flight, narrowly missing houses and people. For a few weeks even the very well-connected Avcom community was confused about if it was fake news or a real incident. Why was this not reported right away, why did they even take off before checking it out OR telling the other airplane at least. Where was the Airmanship that was drilled into you throughout your flight training. This whole, we are proud flying gentleman and will always do the best even if we were wrong, is just something everyone apparently speaks about as a defense of sorts when they are on the other side of the fence to a situation.

End of last year, a commercial plane clips another at Lanseria, does not report it until midway back to their destination and does it like... "oops, we think we clipped another plane, maybe they should check it out or something... (said in a cheeky manner).

Thats just been in the last 5-6 months, and only focusing on commercial examples, which I am sure there are many more cases if we had to dig a little bit. If we got stuck into GA and all the silly things pilots do while absolutely taking chances, some do not work out so well, then we would be here for years discussing it.
Like the photo being debated in the Safety forum about the plane that did a low pass at the Vaal river, it instantly got mocked and defended as to why its acceptable and you wouldn't know unless you have ever done a low pass... I get it, must feel amazing... But pretty sure there are laws about that, and if not it's pretty clear and well understood that, that type of flying and location is not airmanship-like... But yet pilots defend this action, nice double standards hey...

You are right though, we do have great laws, some of the best in fact. But just like our road laws they are useless unless they are governed by the proper authority.

AHHHH... but there is it, SACAA cannot even keep up with manned aviation, but they thought it to be a good idea to have this tedious laboursome manual process to onboard 10,000's of drones every year. <-- Mark my words, this will be the reason SACAA go backwards further and faster than ever before.
Their attention will get taking up in this space and less on manned aviation. It will be manned aviation losing out here because standards and safety will fall drastically with no one looking after it anymore.
Lets also not play the card, well they are hiring and training more people. You know as well as I do they were short staffed before drones came to SA, now they are catastrophically short staffed and not making it any easier on themselves by lacking the adoption of innovation.

Go buy the latest aviation mag with the published registry changes... There are almost as many NEW drones being added monthly than OLD airplanes changing hands yearly.... Exaggerating here a bit to emphasize a point. But monthly the registry is quite easily split 60/40 in favor of drones. This is one of the problems since that 60% every month did not even exist a few years back, now every month we are adding 60% more load on a system that could not even handle the 40% there previously. Not to mention drones change hands far quicker than airplanes do, so this workload is not going to decrease in the future at all.

Lets me be very clear, I dont have an issue with the laws, they are pretty legit and you can go read my earlier posts advocating them heavily!
But I have an issue with how technology is being governed manually and the cost of entry to play is excessive and extreme. Everything about technology is there to speed things up, make it more accurate and accountable as well as bring new possibility that was never there before without it.

NO other country has a system where it requires you to have 2 full time employees on a payroll, which costs money, plus own a "hanger" to house your drone in and take 18-36 months and some 100's of 1,000's in costs before you get a licensed company.
Even then! The red tape is astonishing as there is a disconnect whereby SA aviation does not want drones in the sky at all costs.

And my best... my absolute best. I have been sending evidence to SACAA for sometime now about illegal operators without a single reply or acknowledgement, ever! Even better, a lot of my examples of social media accounts I have sent to them are government sponsored Tourism accounts promoting drone footage which are very clearly using illegally obtained drone footage.

Then what is the plan of SACAA to stop all these travel influencers that come to SA and make movies and leave. A lot of them get paid by companies to come here and film a promo video for them. They just use drones because everywhere else they do. By the time its posted they are out of the country... Oh and of course if they were here, SACAA wouldn't do anything about it anyways so whose really giving a darn.... [-(

Its really sad that 5 years on from Part 101 there has been nothing to advance this industry in the least bit.

What saddens me ever more is how un-airmanship aviation in SA really is. Commercial pilots hold themselves in higher regards to GA pilots, which hold themselves higher than gliders or ultra lights, etc...

Where does this hierarchy come from?
We are all in it for the love of flying no matter what you fly. I acknowledge someone with 10,000's of hours flying commercial plane has more experience than someone else with fewer hours or just in GA, but that does not make him a better person OR give them more rights to the sky than anyone else. But on that same breath... "Young and new" entrepreneurs in their early twenties have built companies more valuable than most countries GDP yearly, all while the "old guard" was appearing legit on the surface protecting legacy while completely being criminals... The US housing market and many big players, Enron, Bell Pottinger's, etc.
So dont discredit the potential of someone or something because it's younger and less experienced than you. Its a fact, things younger and less experienced than you IS the future, so you can nurture it and mentor it into a space while proving your experience to be valuable, not this arrogant approach of, "this is how its always been done and we will keep doing it that way because its actually the only way we know how to do it without any empathy to learn something new and potentially better ways..."

Or you can do what aviation in SA is doing to drones and stifle it completely...

We all LOVE aviation and anything flying in the skies. We should be encouraging and helping various disciplines of flying so that we can make aviation better and something we can all be proud of.... but instead its this cattiness, arrogance and egos that rule this roost.


LAST THING... PLEASE, if you read nothing else... read the below...

This is the drone section.. Its here for drone pilots and future drone pilots to come together, communicate and share knowledge.
Dont jump in on a post unless you have something positive OR constructive to add to the conversation.

There is too many people jumping in here (from manned aviation) and adding nothing more than negativity and same old defensive criticism in the mix for anti-drones. Have some empathy that most of us that frequent this section as actually passionate or professionals in this industry and come to Avcom much like you do to be past of the aviation community in SA. So stop treating us like we are a 13year old in Makro asking you which drone I can fly the farthest next to the airport.

Imagine all the drone guys had to go and lambast the manned aviation sections for some of the questionable topics and air safety breaches that are discussed all the time.

So please add something valuable, or simply just smile and wave as you pass on by....

Tuesdays rant done.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by tansg » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:33 am

Shepherd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:36 am
tansg wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:24 am
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want operate an aircraft commercially then you need comply with the regulations. Just because your aircraft doesn't have a pilot onboard doesn't mean it is not an aircraft. Regulators are conservative by design initially until a level of trust and maturity is shown by a sector where a level of self-regulation can be delegated down to the industry. However at this stage of development on the industry, as is obvious by the number of regulation busts, this cannot occur without the regulator being considered negligent. So how can the industry start to drive its own maturity? Why not start a professional association to which responsible operators can be a member and which can start to create professional standards for members to then voluntarily comply and of which compliance can be verified by industry peer audits. This would give credibility and a mandate to lobby the regulator to relax oversight on the industry.

PS The SA regs are considered to be some of the better regs at the moment
PPS All regulators in the world are under resourced with respect to UA operations.
PPPS Do not look to some of the traditional leaders of aviation regulation (i.e. FAA. EASA, etc) for guidance as they have a record of dithering, other social iossues and political interference in their UA regs at present. Some of the best regs out their at the moment are from developing states who have a big need for the services provided by UA and thus are further down the road on the development of these operations. Some of these 1st world countries are only now instituting registration of UAs. The organisation I work for has been doing that for 5 years already.
I am tired of manned aviation in SA because of these types of mindsets. period.

Let me explain to you where everything SACAA and their laws drops off the radar for me...

Manned aviation hold themselves in such high regards and double standards that it is not even funny anymore.

Earlier this year a piece of a Mango airplane falls off during flight, narrowly missing houses and people. For a few weeks even the very well-connected Avcom community was confused about if it was fake news or a real incident. Why was this not reported right away, why did they even take off before checking it out OR telling the other airplane at least. Where was the Airmanship that was drilled into you throughout your flight training. This whole, we are proud flying gentleman and will always do the best even if we were wrong, is just something everyone apparently speaks about as a defense of sorts when they are on the other side of the fence to a situation.

End of last year, a commercial plane clips another at Lanseria, does not report it until midway back to their destination and does it like... "oops, we think we clipped another plane, maybe they should check it out or something... (said in a cheeky manner).

Thats just been in the last 5-6 months, and only focusing on commercial examples, which I am sure there are many more cases if we had to dig a little bit. If we got stuck into GA and all the silly things pilots do while absolutely taking chances, some do not work out so well, then we would be here for years discussing it.
Like the photo being debated in the Safety forum about the plane that did a low pass at the Vaal river, it instantly got mocked and defended as to why its acceptable and you wouldn't know unless you have ever done a low pass... I get it, must feel amazing... But pretty sure there are laws about that, and if not it's pretty clear and well understood that, that type of flying and location is not airmanship-like... But yet pilots defend this action, nice double standards hey...

You are right though, we do have great laws, some of the best in fact. But just like our road laws they are useless unless they are governed by the proper authority.

AHHHH... but there is it, SACAA cannot even keep up with manned aviation, but they thought it to be a good idea to have this tedious laboursome manual process to onboard 10,000's of drones every year. <-- Mark my words, this will be the reason SACAA go backwards further and faster than ever before.
Their attention will get taking up in this space and less on manned aviation. It will be manned aviation losing out here because standards and safety will fall drastically with no one looking after it anymore.
Lets also not play the card, well they are hiring and training more people. You know as well as I do they were short staffed before drones came to SA, now they are catastrophically short staffed and not making it any easier on themselves by lacking the adoption of innovation.

Go buy the latest aviation mag with the published registry changes... There are almost as many NEW drones being added monthly than OLD airplanes changing hands yearly.... Exaggerating here a bit to emphasize a point. But monthly the registry is quite easily split 60/40 in favor of drones. This is one of the problems since that 60% every month did not even exist a few years back, now every month we are adding 60% more load on a system that could not even handle the 40% there previously. Not to mention drones change hands far quicker than airplanes do, so this workload is not going to decrease in the future at all.

Lets me be very clear, I dont have an issue with the laws, they are pretty legit and you can go read my earlier posts advocating them heavily!
But I have an issue with how technology is being governed manually and the cost of entry to play is excessive and extreme. Everything about technology is there to speed things up, make it more accurate and accountable as well as bring new possibility that was never there before without it.

NO other country has a system where it requires you to have 2 full time employees on a payroll, which costs money, plus own a "hanger" to house your drone in and take 18-36 months and some 100's of 1,000's in costs before you get a licensed company.
Even then! The red tape is astonishing as there is a disconnect whereby SA aviation does not want drones in the sky at all costs.

And my best... my absolute best. I have been sending evidence to SACAA for sometime now about illegal operators without a single reply or acknowledgement, ever! Even better, a lot of my examples of social media accounts I have sent to them are government sponsored Tourism accounts promoting drone footage which are very clearly using illegally obtained drone footage.

Then what is the plan of SACAA to stop all these travel influencers that come to SA and make movies and leave. A lot of them get paid by companies to come here and film a promo video for them. They just use drones because everywhere else they do. By the time its posted they are out of the country... Oh and of course if they were here, SACAA wouldn't do anything about it anyways so whose really giving a darn.... [-(

Its really sad that 5 years on from Part 101 there has been nothing to advance this industry in the least bit.

What saddens me ever more is how un-airmanship aviation in SA really is. Commercial pilots hold themselves in higher regards to GA pilots, which hold themselves higher than gliders or ultra lights, etc...

Where does this hierarchy come from?
We are all in it for the love of flying no matter what you fly. I acknowledge someone with 10,000's of hours flying commercial plane has more experience than someone else with fewer hours or just in GA, but that does not make him a better person OR give them more rights to the sky than anyone else. But on that same breath... "Young and new" entrepreneurs in their early twenties have built companies more valuable than most countries GDP yearly, all while the "old guard" was appearing legit on the surface protecting legacy while completely being criminals... The US housing market and many big players, Enron, Bell Pottinger's, etc.
So dont discredit the potential of someone or something because it's younger and less experienced than you. Its a fact, things younger and less experienced than you IS the future, so you can nurture it and mentor it into a space while proving your experience to be valuable, not this arrogant approach of, "this is how its always been done and we will keep doing it that way because its actually the only way we know how to do it without any empathy to learn something new and potentially better ways..."

Or you can do what aviation in SA is doing to drones and stifle it completely...

We all LOVE aviation and anything flying in the skies. We should be encouraging and helping various disciplines of flying so that we can make aviation better and something we can all be proud of.... but instead its this cattiness, arrogance and egos that rule this roost.


LAST THING... PLEASE, if you read nothing else... read the below...

This is the drone section.. Its here for drone pilots and future drone pilots to come together, communicate and share knowledge.
Dont jump in on a post unless you have something positive OR constructive to add to the conversation.

There is too many people jumping in here (from manned aviation) and adding nothing more than negativity and same old defensive criticism in the mix for anti-drones. Have some empathy that most of us that frequent this section as actually passionate or professionals in this industry and come to Avcom much like you do to be past of the aviation community in SA. So stop treating us like we are a 13year old in Makro asking you which drone I can fly the farthest next to the airport.

Imagine all the drone guys had to go and lambast the manned aviation sections for some of the questionable topics and air safety breaches that are discussed all the time.

So please add something valuable, or simply just smile and wave as you pass on by....

Tuesdays rant done.
Sorry just to many assumptions to address in a reply. I would seriously advise you to address your frustrations and not project them onto other parts of the industry. The us versus them attitude is going to get you nowhere. Both manned and unmanned are aircraft by definition aircraft and as such are held to the same standard in the end. Virtually everything you have said here shows a lack of understanding of how the commercial aviation industry works. This is not your fault as I have been in the industry for 30+ years and learn something new everyday, and as a newcomer I can imagine how challenging it must be to try and understand some of these concepts. I would suggest maybe befriending a retired person who was part of the commercial aviation industry who can give you a bit insight as to the processes in play because as the unmanned industry develops a lot of these principles will be required to enable the future technologies.

And by the way some of us have large a amount of experience in both the manned and unmanned industries so just as you complain about generalisation from the manned industry, you are doing exactly the same thing in this post.

A last comment, always be aware of your attitude in this industry as it can make or break you. a smile and an engaging approach does a lot to putting you ahead. Rants and and bad attitude have just the opposite effect. This I have seen occur too many times to some very nice people in the past.

Good luck. I hope you make millions.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Shepherd » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:48 am

tansg wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:33 am
Shepherd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:36 am
tansg wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:24 am
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but if you want operate an aircraft commercially then you need comply with the regulations. Just because your aircraft doesn't have a pilot onboard doesn't mean it is not an aircraft. Regulators are conservative by design initially until a level of trust and maturity is shown by a sector where a level of self-regulation can be delegated down to the industry. However at this stage of development on the industry, as is obvious by the number of regulation busts, this cannot occur without the regulator being considered negligent. So how can the industry start to drive its own maturity? Why not start a professional association to which responsible operators can be a member and which can start to create professional standards for members to then voluntarily comply and of which compliance can be verified by industry peer audits. This would give credibility and a mandate to lobby the regulator to relax oversight on the industry.

PS The SA regs are considered to be some of the better regs at the moment
PPS All regulators in the world are under resourced with respect to UA operations.
PPPS Do not look to some of the traditional leaders of aviation regulation (i.e. FAA. EASA, etc) for guidance as they have a record of dithering, other social iossues and political interference in their UA regs at present. Some of the best regs out their at the moment are from developing states who have a big need for the services provided by UA and thus are further down the road on the development of these operations. Some of these 1st world countries are only now instituting registration of UAs. The organisation I work for has been doing that for 5 years already.
I am tired of manned aviation in SA because of these types of mindsets. period.

Let me explain to you where everything SACAA and their laws drops off the radar for me...

Manned aviation hold themselves in such high regards and double standards that it is not even funny anymore.

Earlier this year a piece of a Mango airplane falls off during flight, narrowly missing houses and people. For a few weeks even the very well-connected Avcom community was confused about if it was fake news or a real incident. Why was this not reported right away, why did they even take off before checking it out OR telling the other airplane at least. Where was the Airmanship that was drilled into you throughout your flight training. This whole, we are proud flying gentleman and will always do the best even if we were wrong, is just something everyone apparently speaks about as a defense of sorts when they are on the other side of the fence to a situation.

End of last year, a commercial plane clips another at Lanseria, does not report it until midway back to their destination and does it like... "oops, we think we clipped another plane, maybe they should check it out or something... (said in a cheeky manner).

Thats just been in the last 5-6 months, and only focusing on commercial examples, which I am sure there are many more cases if we had to dig a little bit. If we got stuck into GA and all the silly things pilots do while absolutely taking chances, some do not work out so well, then we would be here for years discussing it.
Like the photo being debated in the Safety forum about the plane that did a low pass at the Vaal river, it instantly got mocked and defended as to why its acceptable and you wouldn't know unless you have ever done a low pass... I get it, must feel amazing... But pretty sure there are laws about that, and if not it's pretty clear and well understood that, that type of flying and location is not airmanship-like... But yet pilots defend this action, nice double standards hey...

You are right though, we do have great laws, some of the best in fact. But just like our road laws they are useless unless they are governed by the proper authority.

AHHHH... but there is it, SACAA cannot even keep up with manned aviation, but they thought it to be a good idea to have this tedious laboursome manual process to onboard 10,000's of drones every year. <-- Mark my words, this will be the reason SACAA go backwards further and faster than ever before.
Their attention will get taking up in this space and less on manned aviation. It will be manned aviation losing out here because standards and safety will fall drastically with no one looking after it anymore.
Lets also not play the card, well they are hiring and training more people. You know as well as I do they were short staffed before drones came to SA, now they are catastrophically short staffed and not making it any easier on themselves by lacking the adoption of innovation.

Go buy the latest aviation mag with the published registry changes... There are almost as many NEW drones being added monthly than OLD airplanes changing hands yearly.... Exaggerating here a bit to emphasize a point. But monthly the registry is quite easily split 60/40 in favor of drones. This is one of the problems since that 60% every month did not even exist a few years back, now every month we are adding 60% more load on a system that could not even handle the 40% there previously. Not to mention drones change hands far quicker than airplanes do, so this workload is not going to decrease in the future at all.

Lets me be very clear, I dont have an issue with the laws, they are pretty legit and you can go read my earlier posts advocating them heavily!
But I have an issue with how technology is being governed manually and the cost of entry to play is excessive and extreme. Everything about technology is there to speed things up, make it more accurate and accountable as well as bring new possibility that was never there before without it.

NO other country has a system where it requires you to have 2 full time employees on a payroll, which costs money, plus own a "hanger" to house your drone in and take 18-36 months and some 100's of 1,000's in costs before you get a licensed company.
Even then! The red tape is astonishing as there is a disconnect whereby SA aviation does not want drones in the sky at all costs.

And my best... my absolute best. I have been sending evidence to SACAA for sometime now about illegal operators without a single reply or acknowledgement, ever! Even better, a lot of my examples of social media accounts I have sent to them are government sponsored Tourism accounts promoting drone footage which are very clearly using illegally obtained drone footage.

Then what is the plan of SACAA to stop all these travel influencers that come to SA and make movies and leave. A lot of them get paid by companies to come here and film a promo video for them. They just use drones because everywhere else they do. By the time its posted they are out of the country... Oh and of course if they were here, SACAA wouldn't do anything about it anyways so whose really giving a darn.... [-(

Its really sad that 5 years on from Part 101 there has been nothing to advance this industry in the least bit.

What saddens me ever more is how un-airmanship aviation in SA really is. Commercial pilots hold themselves in higher regards to GA pilots, which hold themselves higher than gliders or ultra lights, etc...

Where does this hierarchy come from?
We are all in it for the love of flying no matter what you fly. I acknowledge someone with 10,000's of hours flying commercial plane has more experience than someone else with fewer hours or just in GA, but that does not make him a better person OR give them more rights to the sky than anyone else. But on that same breath... "Young and new" entrepreneurs in their early twenties have built companies more valuable than most countries GDP yearly, all while the "old guard" was appearing legit on the surface protecting legacy while completely being criminals... The US housing market and many big players, Enron, Bell Pottinger's, etc.
So dont discredit the potential of someone or something because it's younger and less experienced than you. Its a fact, things younger and less experienced than you IS the future, so you can nurture it and mentor it into a space while proving your experience to be valuable, not this arrogant approach of, "this is how its always been done and we will keep doing it that way because its actually the only way we know how to do it without any empathy to learn something new and potentially better ways..."

Or you can do what aviation in SA is doing to drones and stifle it completely...

We all LOVE aviation and anything flying in the skies. We should be encouraging and helping various disciplines of flying so that we can make aviation better and something we can all be proud of.... but instead its this cattiness, arrogance and egos that rule this roost.


LAST THING... PLEASE, if you read nothing else... read the below...

This is the drone section.. Its here for drone pilots and future drone pilots to come together, communicate and share knowledge.
Dont jump in on a post unless you have something positive OR constructive to add to the conversation.

There is too many people jumping in here (from manned aviation) and adding nothing more than negativity and same old defensive criticism in the mix for anti-drones. Have some empathy that most of us that frequent this section as actually passionate or professionals in this industry and come to Avcom much like you do to be past of the aviation community in SA. So stop treating us like we are a 13year old in Makro asking you which drone I can fly the farthest next to the airport.

Imagine all the drone guys had to go and lambast the manned aviation sections for some of the questionable topics and air safety breaches that are discussed all the time.

So please add something valuable, or simply just smile and wave as you pass on by....

Tuesdays rant done.
Sorry just to many assumptions to address in a reply. I would seriously advise you to address your frustrations and not project them onto other parts of the industry. The us versus them attitude is going to get you nowhere. Both manned and unmanned are aircraft by definition aircraft and as such are held to the same standard in the end. Virtually everything you have said here shows a lack of understanding of how the commercial aviation industry works. This is not your fault as I have been in the industry for 30+ years and learn something new everyday, and as a newcomer I can imagine how challenging it must be to try and understand some of these concepts. I would suggest maybe befriending a retired person who was part of the commercial aviation industry who can give you a bit insight as to the processes in play because as the unmanned industry develops a lot of these principles will be required to enable the future technologies.

And by the way some of us have large a amount of experience in both the manned and unmanned industries so just as you complain about generalisation from the manned industry, you are doing exactly the same thing in this post.

A last comment, always be aware of your attitude in this industry as it can make or break you. a smile and an engaging approach does a lot to putting you ahead. Rants and and bad attitude have just the opposite effect. This I have seen occur too many times to some very nice people in the past.

Good luck. I hope you make millions.


Thank you for your reply.

I am going to ignore the first paragraph because it's only worded to elevate yourself here and large parts of it are rather condescending to say the least.

When a pimple faced Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook all the publishing houses around the world told him the same thing, it wont work and he is not an agency with 30+ years of experience, etc. Look at them today.

When Sara Blakely started Spanx, fresh out of varsity, all the big names in that industry told her it would not work and that she did not understand customers or their needs. She is presently a billionaire and successfully shut down many of those business that wheeled her away as a result of her innovation.

Like me, I bet you use a smartphone today. Thank goodness Steve Jobs did not listen to the "old guards" of the world who told him that is a silly idea and would not work.

I acknowledge your experience and the existence, as well as importance of the commercial aviation industry. But despite the vast number of tools available for commercial aviation to properly adopt drones in a way everyone is happy and all concerns are addressed, they just fail to do so.

But you did not address any hard facts pointed out, rather deflecting that by putting it down as a lack of commercial aviation industry experience and "venting in the wrong place," saying how we should be more conforming to the commercial aviation industry and its old legacy standards which are not even being up held by that industry nor innovated for that existing industry.

Commercial aviation industry cannot even get accident reports correct with their own term and definitions, but we are supposed to believe they can integrate drones successfully? (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=226931☆t=315) <-- just one top of mind example)

You are 100% correct, despite offering it as advise, it is an "us" against "them" scenario and it always has been and will be until the first casualties from the success of drones are felt by the commercial aviation industry at large. Even your own reply, by suggestion, position commercial aviation industry separate from drones.

And I do apologise because I did not make this exceptionally clear before, so I will now.

I did do my RPL for my own educational purposes and to learn more about the industry and speak from a point of experience and not opinion. I have also been extremely passionate about aviation since I was very young and always read up and learn as much as I can about all sorts of flying things, processes, experience, safey, etc but I do not have a dog in this race and have no intent of making millions from drones in a commercial aviation industry.

I have been an active member for 8 years and engaged with various sections of Avcom that represented areas of aviation I was active in. What I am here for to learn and share knowledge amongst other passionate drone/UAV enthusiasts or professionals, but this section of the forum is riddled with negativity and naysayers, whom generally speaking are representatives from manned aviation.

And for that I am tired of this combative "support" from the manned aviation persons on the forum.

If you don't agree with something here or the whole thing for that matter, then you don't need to say anything. Yet most choose to say something and its making the ones that are here for good reason actually just grow a further divide of "us" versus "them."

The entire way commercial aviation industry has approached drones and continue to engage with drones is erroneous and is pushing more people away to the dark side of "doing it anyways." If you know anything about marketing at all, once you chased a client away it is exceptionally hard to get them back, if at all and usually you end up spending away more to get them back than you did in the first place to get them there.

But hey please understand Tansg in no way whatsoever is any of this directed at you personally, so please don't take it like that.
I do understand when someone appears to merely wonder into your yard and comment on the condition of your lawn, its offensive and one takes it personally. But I have often found when people are extremely close to something they neglect to see around it and hate having people tell them what's on the other side.

I am absolutely certain you and I could engross in an extended frugal conversation and many laughs along the way. Heck if you were to ever feel like extending a jump seat on an empty flight I would seize the opportunity any day to experience and learn even more than what I have.

But this topic is exceptionally generalised from both sides, as you pointed out already, and everyone is trying to solve the micro details with a macro discussion. We are repeatedly trying to force two sides of the industry to conform to the other like parents to their kids in a bad divorce and I believe that is the flawed approach. They should absolutely have the same governing body laying out regulations and policing them, but both should be managed separately and completely differently from each other. What applies to all airplanes merely does not apply to all drones.

Hope you have a lekka day ahead and may every landing be a safe one.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Trevor Duane » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 am

Come on Shepherd understand what Tsang is trying to say here. He is appealing to the way you are responding to the topic just as much, perhaps more than the information. This is something you have direct control over but seems unwilling to consider.

I really wonder sometimes, often why it is that so many drone ( multirotor ) enthusiasts present some very strange behavior on the forums. Aggressive, defensive, over emotional to list a few. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to engage and assist, correction it is impossible. There are some people around who have bucket loads of knowledge and even more experience to share but shy away because of the abusive flavor of these threads. I put myself into this group, until there is some change in the way business is conducted in the online space with regards to this industry I refuse to engage in any assistance other than via PM's as the same folk will just latch on and push there agenda again and again, this is terribly sad as this space has so much potential. I'm almost convinced that 1 person is managing 3 profiles here to add weight to this crusade.

Sure things could be better but I promise you that the industry is not in any way doomed at all.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by tansg » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:46 am

Trevor Duane wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 am
Come on Shepherd understand what Tsang is trying to say here. He is appealing to the way you are responding to the topic just as much, perhaps more than the information. This is something you have direct control over but seems unwilling to consider.

I really wonder sometimes, often why it is that so many drone ( multirotor ) enthusiasts present some very strange behavior on the forums. Aggressive, defensive, over emotional to list a few. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to engage and assist, correction it is impossible. There are some people around who have bucket loads of knowledge and even more experience to share but shy away because of the abusive flavor of these threads. I put myself into this group, until there is some change in the way business is conducted in the online space with regards to this industry I refuse to engage in any assistance other than via PM's as the same folk will just latch on and push there agenda again and again, this is terribly sad as this space has so much potential. I'm almost convinced that 1 person is managing 3 profiles here to add weight to this crusade.

Sure things could be better but I promise you that the industry is not in any way doomed at all.
Thanks Trevor that's about what I was trying to get across. I didn't want to do this but maybe if you know a bit about what I do you will possibly understand why I am saying what I am. I am the regulator of possibly the leading country in the world in regards the enabling of UA technology (not South Africa). I have been largely the behind scenes driver for the creation of an environment for the implementation of many new UA and associated technologies. We are definitely leading the world in respect of Urban Mobility (physical trials having taken place and infrastructure being built if only the battery technology could catch-up), commercial use of UA, creation of greatly increased areas of UA freeflight up to 400ft AGL, development of tactical risk management procedures for unauthorised airspace penetrations (so we no longer Gatwick style shutdowns but that the threat is managed more appropriately), the increased integration of approved UA operations to previously closed controlled airspace and the development of working UA technologies (welding and manipulator arms being at the forefront thereof). So as you can see I am one of the advocates of UA technology and even today was dealing with hypersonic transport UA and a UA urban traffic routing system. So I do know a bit about the commercial use of UAs as well as the challenges faced by the industry. I would actually rate the 5 biggest problems I experience with the UA industry being, Political and public perceptions and acceptance, immature technologies, lack of infrastructure funding, operators lack of safety orientation and lastly irresponsible operators who do not follow regulations and create a negative perception of the industry. The challenges for the industry will remain Safety and Security, as is exactly the same for all other commercial aircraft operations.

So you can use or lose my comments but I can guarantee you this is going to be one of the defining technologies along with all the supporting technologies of communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management which will enable smart cities of the future.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Shepherd » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:04 pm

tansg wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:46 am
Trevor Duane wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 am

Sure things could be better but I promise you that the industry is not in any way doomed at all.
Thanks Trevor that's about what I was trying to get across. I didn't want to do this but maybe if you know a bit about what I do you will possibly understand why I am saying what I am.

Tansg, I really appreciate you taking the time and elaborating further despite not needing to.

I found a lot of value in this post of yours and now more than before feel I can relate empathetically to your point of view, so again appreciate you helping me understand your perspective a bit better.

Some time ago a friend of my asked me to help him understand the "drone" thing better as he has been very involved at the top level with a very large private security company. They were looking to get involved and innovate their business with this as a leading technology, among other technologies.

I never engaged directly, but the top management team including "the big cheese" went to DroneCon in Durban with specific interest in smart city panels that were discussed. They apparently walked out of that saying they would not invest because the rules and regulation would be stifling to their business with too much red tape.

I don't obviously fully know you business as yet, but if you feel you could make a difference in their business I am happy to put you guys in contact as it would be a very good piece of business should there be anything you feel you can help them in this space to develop it further.

The last thing is... stop teasing us, where can we read up more about the good work you are doing?
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Shepherd » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:00 pm

Trevor Duane wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 am
Come on Shepherd understand what Tsang is trying to say here. He is appealing to the way you are responding to the topic just as much, perhaps more than the information. This is something you have direct control over but seems unwilling to consider.

I really wonder sometimes, often why it is that so many drone ( multirotor ) enthusiasts present some very strange behavior on the forums. Aggressive, defensive, over emotional to list a few. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to engage and assist, correction it is impossible. There are some people around who have bucket loads of knowledge and even more experience to share but shy away because of the abusive flavor of these threads. I put myself into this group, until there is some change in the way business is conducted in the online space with regards to this industry I refuse to engage in any assistance other than via PM's as the same folk will just latch on and push there agenda again and again, this is terribly sad as this space has so much potential. I'm almost convinced that 1 person is managing 3 profiles here to add weight to this crusade.

Sure things could be better but I promise you that the industry is not in any way doomed at all.

Thanks Trevor for keeping the thread going.

For the sake of full transparency, my name is Timothy James Shepherd Baker and I am based in Durban.

For my sins I spent a long time in the enterprise IT industry as a solutions architect, working with leading edge technologies specifically. So yes I don't understand the intimacies of the commercial aviation industry, despite my lifelong passion for aviation, only watching from the sidelines with slight involvement. But I do understand technology exceptionally well and have done things with it, years ago already, that people today still think only exist in sci-fi movies, if at all.

Everything about drones were born out of technology and not aviation, but its regulated by aviation. Which I TOTALLY understand and FULLY agree with from the side of safety and security. However I don't agree with that from a side of industry because I don't believe there is enough technology expertise in the commercial aviation regulatory bodies to write through and all encompassing laws.

That's just my opinion and clearly does not hold much weight with the commercial aviation industry.

Both Tansg and myself were rather glib with each other about our replies. My initial reply most certainly did come out the gates and subsequently had resulted in friendly fire with both you and Tansg. My interpretation of his initial reply was boxing him into the manned side versus what it actually was and I do apologise for that.

That reply was projecting towards other facets of the aviation industry, as initially suggested by Tansg, to start putting a line in the sand for how those areas of aviation have been engaging in this section of the forum.

Nothing has been more frugal (for me anyways) in this section of the forum than these last couple of threads / replies and I hope we can keep that up and build on it.

I do believe this is a fantastic place to engage at to share that knowledge and experience which exists. Which is why it saddens me to see "those others" bring their pessimistic views or adding negativity that has been driving people like yourself away from getting more involved here. Because you are right, there are so many amazing people here that COULD be sharing more but choose not to.

I appreciate yourself and Tansg positively engaging with this section of the thread, looking forward in seeing more from you guys here.

Have a lekka weekend.
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Re: The Doomed drone industry of Southern Africa

Unread post by Trevor Duane » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:44 am

Shepherd wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:00 pm
Trevor Duane wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:50 am
Come on Shepherd understand what Tsang is trying to say here. He is appealing to the way you are responding to the topic just as much, perhaps more than the information. This is something you have direct control over but seems unwilling to consider.

I really wonder sometimes, often why it is that so many drone ( multirotor ) enthusiasts present some very strange behavior on the forums. Aggressive, defensive, over emotional to list a few. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to engage and assist, correction it is impossible. There are some people around who have bucket loads of knowledge and even more experience to share but shy away because of the abusive flavor of these threads. I put myself into this group, until there is some change in the way business is conducted in the online space with regards to this industry I refuse to engage in any assistance other than via PM's as the same folk will just latch on and push there agenda again and again, this is terribly sad as this space has so much potential. I'm almost convinced that 1 person is managing 3 profiles here to add weight to this crusade.

Sure things could be better but I promise you that the industry is not in any way doomed at all.

Thanks Trevor for keeping the thread going.

For the sake of full transparency, my name is Timothy James Shepherd Baker and I am based in Durban.

For my sins I spent a long time in the enterprise IT industry as a solutions architect, working with leading edge technologies specifically. So yes I don't understand the intimacies of the commercial aviation industry, despite my lifelong passion for aviation, only watching from the sidelines with slight involvement. But I do understand technology exceptionally well and have done things with it, years ago already, that people today still think only exist in sci-fi movies, if at all.

Everything about drones were born out of technology and not aviation, but its regulated by aviation. Which I TOTALLY understand and FULLY agree with from the side of safety and security. However I don't agree with that from a side of industry because I don't believe there is enough technology expertise in the commercial aviation regulatory bodies to write through and all encompassing laws.

That's just my opinion and clearly does not hold much weight with the commercial aviation industry.

Both Tansg and myself were rather glib with each other about our replies. My initial reply most certainly did come out the gates and subsequently had resulted in friendly fire with both you and Tansg. My interpretation of his initial reply was boxing him into the manned side versus what it actually was and I do apologise for that.

That reply was projecting towards other facets of the aviation industry, as initially suggested by Tansg, to start putting a line in the sand for how those areas of aviation have been engaging in this section of the forum.

Nothing has been more frugal (for me anyways) in this section of the forum than these last couple of threads / replies and I hope we can keep that up and build on it.

I do believe this is a fantastic place to engage at to share that knowledge and experience which exists. Which is why it saddens me to see "those others" bring their pessimistic views or adding negativity that has been driving people like yourself away from getting more involved here. Because you are right, there are so many amazing people here that COULD be sharing more but choose not to.

I appreciate yourself and Tansg positively engaging with this section of the thread, looking forward in seeing more from you guys here.

Have a lekka weekend.
Hi Timothy, nice to meet you.

Cheers
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