Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Drones a-crashing

Marathon, FL

It's Christmas, which means people are crashing brand new drones.

So read the headline on December 26. Well, count me among them.  Sigh.

Christmas Day was far too windy for drones.  Up to 25 knot gusts.  But who can resist trying out a new drone on Christmas?  Not me.

Together with Brian from Windchaser, we went to the nearby park in search of a sheltered spot to test fly the drone.  It was still too windy.  Even at only 1 foot altitude, the wind pushed it away uncrollably.  We gave up.

Later in the day, after a great Christmas Pot Luck with 120 people participating, Libby and I went for a walk.  The wind had died down a lot, so I said, "Let me try again."  We found a place sheltered by trees.  I lifted off, but it blew downwind.  I pushed joystick 2 down to try to back it up, but in my haste and beginner's lack of skill, I inadvertently pushed joystick 1 (the throttle) all the way up.  The drone surged into the air, and disappeared over the top of a tree across the street.  Since then, we have not been able to find it.

Libby and I searched and searched the area, with no results. I tried to rev the drone's motor; no result. At one point, Libby used a long stick to beat the fronds of a palm tree.  Some strangers were perplexed, so they asked Libby, "What are you doing."  In a flash of humor, I replied, "We're from Utah."  That satisfied them and they walked away.

The next day another man asked me what I was doing as I searched again.  I explained.  He said, "I have two drones, and they have gotten stuck in trees a dozen times.   Eventually, they  come down."  So that's my hope.  Every day and night for the coming weeks, I'll search that area.

Boys and their toys.  I'm not ashamed to say I'm one of them.

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