Hay: It’s best to drone alone

So last week I droned on about the sad and sordid tale of my attempt to get a drone to fly. One of those remote controlled little helicopter units with the attached camera and 117 pages of instructions. As I mentioned, it flew like a brick.

Maybe it’s me, I thought. Admittedly, I’ve never been very good with remote control hardware. Or software for that matter, even though I’m never sure what “software” actually is.

For example, when I was a kid I got a car race set for Christmas one year. This was back when “software” meant a nice cashmere sweater, and “computers” were a group of people who added things up. My race car set was the way-back version of “remote control” in that each of the two cars had a controller with a trigger and a big wire that attached to the figure eight track. I could hardly ever get all the way around the track with my race car before spinning out. Everyone, including my dog Bim could beat me.

Much later, when my friend Jim and I built a little remote controlled airplane from a cheap Revell Model Kit, guess who crashed it. It could have been on account of we spent three days gluing the kit together in a closed room and before we left the house we were already flying. There’s a reason they call that airplane fabric glue “dope.”

And later still, as non-grownup adults, some of my buddies had those super cool actual remote controlled cars. Those cars were about the size of a breadbox with tiny powerful engines and big knobby wheels and the operator held a wireless controller about the size of a smaller breadbox. They would take these cars out to safe, open spaces like fields or parking lots or busy neighborhood streets and zoom around at about 100 miles an hour. Guess who always crashed.

Whenever one of my friends had a temporary lapse in judgment and handed me the controls to his outrageously expensive and powerful remote controlled model car, I would very carefully thumb the sticks and press the buttons and immediately roar off at full speed in exactly the wrong direction, running smack into the nearest tree, parked car or the neighbor’s cat.

And of course, I’ve mentioned before how TV remotes, car door clickers and other wireless devices of “control” basically take on a mind of their own or refuse to work at all as soon as I pick them up. I’m thinking I have some sort of counter-operative force field emanating from my extremities. Come to think of it, that might also explain why my desktop computer is always on the fritz.

So it was with some significant trepidation that I went out recently to unsuccessfully fly that drone. After another week or so of downloading new programs, drone operating instructions and the latest version of Pac-Man I finally did something right. I took the whole kit and kaboodle back to the store.

The drone manufacturer, however, wasn’t keen on replacing the faulty flying machine. “Pack it up and send it 10,000 kms across the world and we’ll “troubleshoot it,” they said. “Pack this,” I said. The new drone worked perfectly.

Yes, it’s true. One clear windless morning the other day, I ventured out on my own to a safe place and launched that quadcopter into the big Alberta skies. Very impressive flying if I do say so myself. And it will be even better when I figure how to land the bloody thing.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

Just Posted

Single vehicle crash in Penhold sends youth to hospital

A youth is in hospital after a car hit a light standard… Continue reading

Local haunted house offers a chilling Halloween experience

Chad and Jarita Carlson’s annual venture also supports the Lacombe Food Bank

WATCH: Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off 2018 dancers revealed

In partnership with 2019 Canada Winter Games

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

Jason Kenney will be in Red Deer on Monday

The UCP candidate is hosting a series of town hall

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month