The Drones – Part One – Hovering For All

I noted a passing reference on Facebook to laws restricting drone operation here in Australia for private operators. I’m not going to say the Facebook posting was sensational and inaccurate – because that sort of thing would be hard to believe of Facebook… but it certainly did stir up a conversation about drone flying. The conversation went on to include other uses of surveillance cameras in our lives.

I have only encountered drones on two or three occasions – in all cases being used for recreational purposes and seemingly being operated in a safe and responsible manner. They seemed harmless enough, and the users kept them away from people as they hovered in the air. One was just a chap playing with it to see if he could fly it, and the other two were utilising onboard cameras to film a crowd at a hot rod show and the Perth skyline at dusk.

The only intrusive part of them was a constant buzz or whir, and even that was much less than a motorbike or lawn mower. I was impressed with the ability of the drone to return unaided to the point from which it was launched. I felt no sense of menace from any of the machines.

But then, I was not sunbaking nude on the Perth foreshore, growing drugs in my back garden, or erecting an illegal shed in defiance of the local council, so I had no undercurrent of guilt to worry me. I also had no sense of political grievance or jealousy in operation. There was more a sense of wonder at the sophistication of the R/C flying – in particular as much of it seemed to be automatic.

But there is a darker side – which I’ll canvass tomorrow. Charge your LiPo cells and stay tuned.

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Nuthin’ to do…

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Didn’t have nuthin’ to do on Sunday so me mate Warren and me went to places where they gotĀ trucks and we looked at them trucks. Then we went and got a feed at a pub and then we went home. It was a good day.

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The Grim Reaper Just Smiled…

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I have not built a radio-controlled boat since 1981 nor a train layout since 1987. I have never made a radio-controlled tank or truck. But I could not help but admire a vehicle I saw on the floor at the Model Train Exhibition. I noted that a lot of other people were crowded around the driving space too – these trucks are an ideal modelling genre for a number of reasons:

a. They are on dry land. No need to build them waterproof or spend hours drying out a moment’s ducking. They must last better.

b. They do not fly – thus they do not need to be lightweight. They can be made of sturdy materials. They do not come home in bags of bits.

c. They do not go fast or drift around corners in races. No fracturing the expensive machinery.

d. They do not pretend to fire off guns. No need to flout local “firearms” regulations to shoot BBs or foam bullets.

e. They do not need a permanent layout to run on. A concrete parking lot is fine.

f. Structures to suit them are seen everywhere and are easy to make up. As they are large models they can be scratch built satisfactorily from materials you get at Bunnings Hardware or Jacksons Art Supply.

g. They do things at a slow pace. Old guys can control them without crashing them into the crowds. The crowds do not expect crashes.

h. They do things that people recognise. Drive, turn, park, load up, get stuck in traffic, etc.

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Now we need to see more small vehicles doing more big vehicle stuff. The combine harvester is a commercial model, no doubt, and is probably an advertisement for John Deere. No matter..it would be a terrifically satisfying thing to see in operation over a small grassy patch or a carpet that could be “reaped” . I wouldn’t dare to try it because all the old farmers in the crowd would laugh at me. But I’ll bet I could pass an entire day with a toy dragline or steam shovel loading sand onto R/C dump trucks.

Now to win Lotto and go looking at the hobby shop…

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PS: If I had that John Deere I would send it out on the front lawn for the mushrooms. This year they are brown instead of white.