...the voice of pensioners

Drones – the ups and downs….

13 Nov 2019


Dear fellow LPG readers,


I don’t know about you, but I believe I have experienced quite a bit of the world over my nearly eight decades.  I am one of those pensioners who has embraced all that modern technology has offered over the years and got my first computer when I was relatively young. 


But, as with all aspects of life, there comes a time when somehow ones need to be up to date and at the forefront of nearly all aspects of life stops being the priority and the brain decides to stop running that race, content to jump off the fashion merry-go-round.  I think that I jumped off a few years ago now, but while that is the case, I do have a nephew who allows me an insight from time to time.


During an outing not so long ago, he introduced me to his drone.  It was at a time when they were attracting bad publicity as some of the London airports found their intrusions sufficient a reason to delay flights and virtually close.


On a day which featured one of those family gatherings, engineered by one of my daughters, where some 16 family members all met at a local park (well local to some)  for a picnic, a long overdue catch up chat and a photo call.  The cameras came out as did my mobile phone, then my nephew produced a large black reinforced bag from the boot of his car.  When opened it revealed what looked, for all the world, like a remote-controlled flying saucer although all the little bits and bobs that needed adding took sufficient time for most of the younger family members to get back to their Frisbee and ball games. 


Eventually its remote control made an appearance and as it made its horizontal take-off the whole family’s heads tilted backwards and upwards while all eyes and ears focussed on the buzzing noise and little object which was even smaller once airborne. It reminded me of a remote controlled car I had as a boy, but its handler made it hover for ages and rise so high in the sky that we lost sight of it at times. I was also amazed by how accurately controllable it was, in my nephews practised hands it hovered over some of the younger family members just inches above their reach at times. 


I had to ask a few questions and found out that it could fly across stretches of water and had a 4 mile range.  If it gets too far away it will make its way back to where it took off, and the rechargeable battery can calculate how much battery it needs to get back to where it started and will make sure that it can return.  The one I saw in action was about £500 worth of kit, I have to say the cost quite startled me, but not as much as what happened next. 


My nephew was able to show us the pictures and videos it took on his mobile phone, and it was fascinating to see us and our picnic from the air, but I can quite understand what all the fuss is about.  They have the ability to sneak into all sorts of places which are otherwise generally private.  They can potentially bob over garden fences and peek through neighbours’ upstairs windows.  My nephew tells me that there are rules about where you can and cannot fly them and that there is an inevitable app with a map of the country which makes the rules quite clear.


To my mind, the beauty of what I have learned about the pictures you can take with one of these gizmos is that it levels playing fields that many of those with a disability might face, so to speak.  It  takes away many of the limitations that often stop people with limited mobility from being able to take  all sorts of pictures that they would not be able to get even when they were much younger and more mobile. 


Perhaps it is an expensive but fascinating hobby that may take the fancy of a few.  



IB, Bickley




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