With Christmas rapidly approaching I expect quite a few drones/quadcopters/UAVs have been purchased (or will be purchased shortly) to be found under Christmas trees the next few days (depending on where you live).
At the same time there’s still a lot of scaremongering going on in the popular press about them bringing down planes and causing all kinds of other havoc. This has recently brought the FAA in the US to introduce mandatory registration for all drones heavier than half a pound (and heavy fines for failing to register a drone). To many this smells of overkill (pun intended) with some interesting reactions:
Indeed, you can buy a gun (designed to kill things) without much hassle (and no registration) in many states in the US, but even a fairly small toy drone requires registration. Somehow doesn’t seem proportional.
Slightly tongue in cheek, but also with a serious background about how humans perceive risks, Popular Science titles:
Nevertheless, should you find a drone (or better a quadcopter or UAV, drone is frequently associated with the military type) under your Christmas tree I would urge you to not just take it out of the box, charge it and fly the same day. Instead, read up on it as much as you can. Study the manual. Learn about the weather. Think about getting insurance in case something goes wrong. Visit the forums of the manufacturer and read about the mistakes others made in order to avoid them (e.g. try the DJI Forums if it’s a Phantom or Inspire and read posts like TOP 10 common pilot errors). While I’m against the overregulation I think we’re beginning to see I’m also of the opinion they are not a toy and need to be handled with great care and responsibility. Think before you fly.
If you actually know a place in the news it makes it much more real than if it’s a place you’ve never even heard of. I’ve been to Pooley Bridge twice, among other things to go on an Ullswater Steamer cruise. While there I crossed the bridge giving the village its name a couple of times, both in the car and on foot.
Out of curiosity just looked at one of the spam comments I received in one of my blogs. Copied it into Notepad++ for an easier look. It contained approximately 500 (yes, five-hundred) URLs, there was no other content, just URLs. When I saved it as a simple txt file it was over 30kb in size.