My shortcut through our community college, revealed 6 people standing on the baseball field 10 feet apart. They flew drones to the outfield, then back. This was a class in Wilderness Firefighting. Here in Oregon, aerial surveillance can be a safer way to view a burning landscape.
It seems Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are infiltrating jobs done by dogs, horses, men, and heavy equipment. I hooted at what my crochety family would yap about using drones to work on the farm and ranch.
And…a story was born. Actually, an entire novel,. Hardly Any Shooting Stars Left came to life with a lot of cranky community members in mind, and a little murder to keep it twisting. (Coming April 2022).
So … how does a beginner learn to fly?
First, let me say that if you’re like me, and have barely held a controller, then you’ve got a STEEP learning curve, familiarizing yourself with button and sticks. AAAAAwk! I’m terrible at video games. What was I thinking? My instructors make it look so easy. I suppose it’s like riding a bike or brain surgery—the more you do it—the better you get at it.
Second, consider starting with a flight simulation program. Crashes can get expensive.
A sissy like me can muddle through with minimal damage to the drone by keeping it LOW to the GROUND and going slowly. I was told ….crashes for a beginner are inevitable—sigh…but I have no idea why my drone is attracted to the one and only tree in the open field, over and over. Crashing the drone doesn’t hurt like falling off a horse, but it can maim your wallet…and that’s how the 3D printing (replaceable parts) was added to the storyline. I suppose I’d get better at flying if I could learn how to make a drone dump moss-remover on my pointy roof—OR chase the bone-buying, crap-depositing stray dogs out of my garden. But then I read about…
Drones that Bark Like Dogs…
My cheap drone doesn’t have this feature and the drones fly quietly in my small-town-mystery. But let me tell you, it would be really satisfying to use this technology to curse that drone-eating tree.
Enjoy this short New Zealand video for a quick taste of ranching and barking drones.
Credits: Video:RNZ News; Photo: Rebecca Niver
B.K. Froman is an award-winning writer, story-teller, radio/TV talent, and university educator.