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Mirragin and partners deliver drone sky show

Written by Andrew Crowe

Andrew Crowe is Skyshows' Managing Director. Andrew has significant experience with uncrewed systesm across more than 20 years within the Australian Army. Andrew was one of Army's first uncrewed system Platoon Commanders and led Australian operators within the Middle East. Andrew has a strong background in uncrewed systems and emerging technologies consulting across government and private enterprise clients.

This article was originally published by Australian Defence Magazine here.

Veteran owned and independent Australian SME, Mirragin, partnered with AGB Events and Intel to deliver the largest drone sky show ever produced in the Southern Hemisphere.

In an Australian first, 500 choreographed drones – each individually registered with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) – lit up the night sky as part of the new Elevate Sydney festival across five nights in early January. 

Global technology innovation company Intel engaged Mirragin to assist with a complicated air approval process, based on Mirragin’s industry experience and strong local relationships.

“This project was so complex because we’re nestled right between the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney’s busiest and largest ferry terminal. It’s a complex airspace,” Mirragin Director Defence and National Security, Andrew Crowe, said. 

“The approvals process was significant. We had to engage with CASA and a number of other stakeholders to make sure safety was paramount and all key stakeholders were happy.”

Intel, who were responsible for the drone display at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony, deployed specialist pilots to Australia from all over the world for the much-anticipated shows.

In order to operate drones commercially in Australia, individuals must obtain a remote pilot license via a five-day training course, which Mirragin was able to achieve for Intel’s pilots with the support of Aviassist. 

This process was led by Mirragin Head of Flight Operations, Sue Osborn, who was appointed as Chief Remote Pilot for the drone sky show to ensure all regulations were being met each night of Elevate Sydney.

Osborn, who joined Mirragin with over 27 years’ experience in the Australian Defence Force, is excited for the future of drone shows and the opportunity for Mirragin to showcase its expertise and capability at future events across Australia. 

“There are so many opportunities to use this technology. You paint a picture and you tell a story through animation,” said Osborn. 

“A lot of people said this couldn’t be done, yet here we are. Now that Mirragin has done something as complex as this, nothing would be too great. Mirragin made it happen and we look forward to future challenges.”

Drone shows are gaining in popularity across the globe, and are becoming a replacement for fireworks due to concerns about environmental damage, air pollution and the impact on local wildlife and pets.

“In years ahead, the future of large scale public entertainment is going to include drone shows. It’s going to get more sophisticated, more creative and a lot more complex,” said AGB Events Producer – Elevate Sydney SkyShow, Olivia Bradley.

“Having somebody like Mirragin that we can partner with, it will mean it will happen.”

View more on the Skyshows blog

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