Some drones are a nuisance, but they’re changing the world

So, last week, I was droning on about drones and the fact I had to go to flight school to learn how to crash properly.

This week, I thought I’d drone on a little more.

You see, several events around the world of dronage passed through my radar in the past while. There was the infamous incident in the U.K. last December, whereupon “idiots with drones” managed to shut down Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, for more than 24 hours.

This was not funny at all, in that according to reports, drones were spotted more than 50 times in that period. Planes had to be diverted to other droneless airports, and exactly 1.2 gajillion people were stuck in the airport for, quote, “a really long time.”

And we all know how much fun it is to be stuck in an airport.

Thing is, the Sussex police and the army rushed in, and in spite of the manpower and fancy night-vision goggles and armoured vehicles, etc., they couldn’t find a single person responsible.

They didn’t even get a chance to shoot down a few drones with assault rifles, which was, no doubt what they were hoping for. I know I would be.

For sure, one of things we learned at drone flight school was never, ever fly your drone over any kind of armed forces.

Also, airports are a definite no-no. In fact, a dumb drone dude can face a significant jail term and large fine for messing around in somebody else’s air space.

But recently, there was a happier drone story, if you call delivering blood happy. It turns out that several large hospitals in the United Stress of America are using the little helicoptery machines to transport blood samples from one building to another.

And to think people used to have to walk those samples from one building to another. Isn’t technology grand?

But still, I think that’s kind of cool, and probably a good time-saving measure, except when your blood sample is brought crashing to the ground and splattered by some really peeved attack pigeon, who doesn’t like her territory being buzzed by some loud, ugly, featherless bird-thing.

And just this week, I noticed search and rescue folks used a drone in their efforts to find a lost hunter out in the West Country. Now that’s one drone nobody wants to shoot down, especially the lost hunter.

This, of course, is only the beginning. Amazon and other similar companies out to conquer the world have been testing drone delivery for a while now.

In fact, in 2013, Amazon boldly announced drones would be dropping off your orders on your front step “in five years.”

If my math is correct, and it seldom is, that would have been, like, last year, and I know for a fact that inflatable kayak I ordered for my Rotten Kid’s birthday present last month was delivered by a guy in a truck.

But the drones are coming, there’s no doubt about it. Boy, won’t it be just lovely when the skies in our nice, peaceful neighbourhoods are literally droning with drones dropping off pizzas, groceries, mail, lost children, etc.

And speaking of kids, how much fun are kids going to have hiding in bushes and target practising on drones with their pea shooters, slingshots and BB guns? I know I would.

Have no fear, however. Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos assured everyone by saying: “This thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighbourhood.”

Sure, Jeff, and you’re going to make a killing selling those Kevlar umbrellas.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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