If you’re following hallowed Northeastern custom by launching a homemade “Bang Fai” rocket, you can now use an app.
Not to launch the rocket, but to get permission from the authorities to do so.
Would-be launchers are encouraged to save time and stay legal by using Bampen, an Android app developed by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gisda).
Launchers simply download Bampen and type in the details of their projected bang fai launch, including the location and the size and number of rockets. The information will then be transmitted to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) for approval or rejection.
Somnuk Rongthong, president of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai), said in a recent meeting in Phuket that Bampen will help bang fai celebrants save time and track the status of their request.
Until now, a launcher has had to fill out a request form at the district or provincial offices before the launch, with the request then forwarded to CAAT. The form can be downloaded from the CAAT website.
CAAT then notifies all agencies involved with air traffic control, including Aerothai, airlines and airports, about the time and location of the launch.
Bang fai rockets can pose a danger to planes. About 19,000 bang fai were fired in 2017 according to Gisda, which designed the app to streamline the registration procedure.
The northeastern “bun bang fai” festival is held during the early days of the rainy season.
So far about 1,000 users have downloaded the app. The developer plans to launch an iOS version of Bampen in the future.