Drones falling from the sky spells bad news for hobbyists
The advent of multirotor aircraft has ushered in a new age for hobbyists. I can recall spending countless hours with my big brother building airplanes out of balsa wood in the mid 80’s just to watch it auger in as we learned to fly! Now things are so much different. Helicopters exist that you don’t need a PhD to fly, you can 3D print spare parts and multirotors more commonly referred to as “Drones” have emerged en masse changing the landscape.
When we flew as kids in South Texas it was over onion fields outside of Mercedes. Now, folks are flying their aircraft into the Whitehouse. Unfortunately, the lack of supervision we had as kids being part of an RC Club where some of the older, and wiser, folks would help guide us is gone. If you are in South Texas, check them out and see what a group of great folks committed to the hobby can teach you. Now you simply head to Amazon and purchase factory direct from China. Don’t know how to fly a DJI Inspire? No worries, we’ll sell you one anyway. And that is where the real fun begins.
Simply because you have an aircraft that is equipped with GPS and an “oh crap” button that will send it to a safe place, or that you have uploaded flight coordinates and plans doesn’t mean you don’t need to know what you’re doing. Keep in mind that these can be extremely dangerous if not used properly and will cause bodily injury. Recently one crashed at a sold out University of Kentucky game, while another crashed at the US Open. Both incidents were without injury; but it is only a matter of time. Some Mensa candidates in Southern California flew their drones over wildfires to get some video footage. The folks piloting the helicopters with water used to fight the blaze refused to fly in there with all of the drones around. Can you blame them?
The bottom line is that we have a responsibility as hobbyists to protect our hobby and not destroy it for future generations. If you are an experienced pilot, help train someone looking to get into the hobby. If you’re interested in learning, seek out someone to mentor you. If drones continue to grab headlines in negative ways, the regulations imposed on those folks that fly safely will become onerous. It will damage the integrity of the hobby. Keep your thinking caps on folks, stay safe and help protect our skies from morons.