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The unthinkable debate on (private) life in aviation.

Foreword: It's not in our DNA to gripe or critique. Our project is rooted in boundless positivity and constructive action. But when excellent aviation initiatives are unfairly sidelined, we feel the need to bring some things back into perspective.


"I'll pass on being tracked."

In a world where technological advancements redefine human boundaries, a peculiar debate emerges shaking the very foundations of aviation security. Pilots — sky enthusiasts and guardians — reject a service offering visibility and safety, citing privacy as the crux: "SafeSky? No thanks, I'll pass on being tracked.

< Who would've thought that concern for privacy would surpass concern for life itself? >

You might wonder why pilots, entrusted with flight integrity and often lives from their passengers, shy from air traffic information? The answer lies within the delicate dance between privacy and common good.

The Common Good

Enters the stage, SafeSky: a real-time air traffic awareness service to thwart collisions and ensure safer skies. Sounds like every pilot's dream, doesn't it? This service isn't just user-friendly and free —it also alerts us when other aircraft approach. A digital guardian angel scanning trajectories, bridging human intuition and technology, complementing pilots' golden rule: 'See and Avoid.’

The Individual Good

And yet, intriguingly, some hesitate to use SafeSky and other tracking systems: with the promise of heightened security, comments arise suggesting a compromise is at play – a perceived loss of privacy and freedom. “We want to fly freely like a bird, that’s the ultralight spirit” or even '"I turn off my transponder to avoid being tracked'", preferably heard at the bar. Some take an even more paradoxical stance: they strive to maintain inconspicuousness while benefiting from the conspicuousness of others!

Wait a second, isn’t the "ultralight spirit" about mutual assistance among pilots, group travels, sharing experiences, or simply a common passion - just like the general aviation spirit, after all?

This spirit isn't restricted to solo flights. Many clubs and organisations strive to create an atmosphere where flying becomes a thrilling and secure escapade, perfectly capturing the essence of light aviation: blending enjoyment with security.

The urge for freedom can never dismiss the fact that we traverse shared, tightly regulated, often intricate complexe spaces at high speeds.

Admittedly, in the digital era, controlling what we share is crucial. The value of our personal space is evident.

< Yet the sky isn't a personal space — it's a shared expanse teeming with many, many players. >

We shouldn't mistake freedom for visibility.

So, as some argue, does SafeSky inadvertently expose pilots to a new realm of surveillance, to a feeling of being 'controlled' in an area they've always considered their own, as some argue?

That’s curious, because SafeSky anticipates these concerns. Privacy is guaranteed through a 'private' profile option — only positional data is shared, without personal markers. Pilots, much like how we drive with our headlights on, make their presence known without revealing their identity – a balance between visibility and confidentiality. The analogy with aviation is unmistakable – being seen is both a responsibility and protection.

< So, what's the catch here? Because it seems that SafeSky honours both privacy and freedom. >

Maybe the real question is: “Why would we refuse to be visible?”

Perhaps we should even contemplate the obligation to be visible?

Certainly a debate topic, especially in life-or-death situations like search and rescue. Knowing 'who' and 'where' is pivotal, elevating the efficiency of rescue efforts, often a life-saving time gain. Privacy concerns pale in comparison to aiding or rescuing pilots and passengers.

Moreover, the sky is already a grand stage where visibility is real, thanks to existing technologies like Mode-S transponders, TCAS, ADS-B – all of which contribute to pilots' safety. Visibility to controllers is a given, aided by primary, secondary radars, not to mention military scans.

At the heart of the debate, some pilots contend their eyes are enough to 'See and Avoid.' While this basic principle stands, tech assistance is priceless in identifying conflicting air traffic. Let's not leave it all to chance; let's leverage existing systems to scan the skies in the right direction. A visual alert, an audible cue, and we'll know where to look for that fellow pilot sharing our slice of heaven.

Final Thoughts

As SafeSky receives praise for securing organ transport, it's ironic to witness absurd debates arise when the same solution is contemplated to accompany a human being in their entirety...

While it's frustrating to confront unfounded rejection, it's heartening to observe that this perspective seems to emanate from a limited minority of scopophobic individuals who strive to convince others, acting somewhat like an insistent voice. Thankfully, most pilots are perceptive enough to rely on facts, figures, and their own experience, which often eludes the detractors...

SafeSky offers pilots the choice of visibility, whether anonymous or public, favoring proactive engagement over a passive attitude. Moreover, SafeSky isn't the sole option for becoming visible. Any tool promoting visibility holds significant advantages.

We commend event organisers who seek our support to enhance safety, yet are unfortunately sometimes disregarded by those who refuse to be seen, even by their fellow pilots.

We extend genuine gratitude to pilots embracing the collective ethos, understanding every bright point contributes to a constellation of security and trust.

Happy and safe flights to all.

Tristan FILY, CEO SafeSky


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