Music and voice recordings could be heard from one of Seabird Aviation’s planes flying around the Bay yesterday. Peter Adams says the sounds came from an MP3 player hooked up to the plane’s external speakers.
Music and voice recordings could be heard from one of Seabird Aviation’s planes flying around the Bay yesterday. Peter Adams says the sounds came from an MP3 player hooked up to the plane’s external speakers. Alistair Brightman

Aircraft tests voice system

SEABIRD Aviation got Bay residents in a flap yesterday when the company tested its new voice projection system from the skies.

Confused residents called police when they heard the Seeker 2 light aircraft blaring sirens, warning messages and TV theme songs as it circled overhead.

Seabird’s managing director Peter Adams said the company had experimental approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to test the “Aero Voice” system, which can play pre-recoded messages through an MP3 player or can allow a pilot to speak to those on the ground.

The technology will be used to warn people about bushfires, floods and alert beachgoers to rips and sharks.

But projecting the Jaws theme as the plane flew over the Bay’s beaches yesterday may have got some locals concerned.

Other people heard the message: “This is a test of Seabird Aviation’s voice projection system,” or songs Ride of the Valkyries and the Benny Hill theme song.

Seabird system integration manager Francois van Teijlingen said the company received many phone calls after testing the speakers from 1500 feet

“We’ve been inundated with phone calls, so it is working.

“With all the recent disasters with bushfires and floods, the infrastructure breaks down and people can’t communicate with one another.”

Mr Adams said there were people positioned around the Bay who were asked to report back to the company about the clarity of the sounds.

The system could soon be used on Gold Coast beaches after local company Marine Watch began full-time lifeguard patrols from a Seabird-built plane in December.



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