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Fireworks could fizzle out as drones rise in popularity for new year

  • 2 wk ago

As new year approaches, crowds around the world may be expecting whizzes and bangs to light up the sky. But the appeal of fireworks could fizzle out with the growing use of drones for light shows.

One notable example was the opening ceremony of this year’s Tokyo Olympics, while the Over the Top NYE event at Reunion Tower in Dallas is among those planning to combine fireworks and drones to welcome 2022.

They are also being embraced at a local level: more than 1,000 people watched a drone display at Mercia Marina in Derbyshire to celebrate Bonfire Night this year.

Ollie Howitt, the creative coordinator at SkyMagic, which used a fleet of 300 drones to create a display for the mayor of London’s new year celebration last year, said demand had increased substantially, something the pandemic has helped accelerate. She added that drones were increasingly able to fly in greater density and for longer.

“We do think it’s going to be something that’s ever evolving, as opposed to it being a short-lived sort of fad that people have suddenly got interested in,” she said.

Robert Neff, a partner and general manager at Mercia Marina, also believes drone displays will become more common. “There’s a big movement against fireworks,” he said.

Neff said the decision to use a drone display at the marina was down to a number of factors, including the impact of fireworks on animals – from wildlife and waterfowl to the cats and dogs of boat owners.

“They’ve often commented on how much distress is caused to their pets by the fireworks,” he said.

Howitt said there were benefits to drones: “They’re no emission, they’re reusable, there’s no fallout or any debris or that kind of thing. So in that sense they are a very good, sustainable option.”

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