Alden Boon

Warnings No One Ever Gave Me About Owning a Drone

10/06/2016

Drones are all the rage right now. There is nothing quite like activating your drone and seeing it fly after countless of insurmountable calibration or IMU errors. But flying a drone is not for the fainthearted. Let this be a cautionary tale.

Hello, uneven tan lines

To drone pilots, a gentle breeze is like Hurricane Rita. Nightfall is paralysing blindness. Sunshine on the other hand is Gaia’s gift, as it means optimal flying condition. Flying a drone forces even us agoraphobics to spend time outdoors and in the blazing sun. You can always spot a drone pilot in the crowd by his very ugly tan lines.

You will become a Geography geek

A drone pilot’s biggest enemy? No-fly zones. Like a trained terrorist, you acquire esoteric knowledge on where your country’s military camps are. You become very aware of your surroundings, and the neck of your woods, as you go on a dogged hunt for idyllic landscapes to take envious aerial photography.

It’s a slippery slope and bankruptcy is the end point

Drone flying is an expensive hobby. It’s not just the price tag of a DJI Phantom 4. It’s the investments that come after. First, you justify purchasing an extra battery — or 10 — because “travelling three hours just to fly 20 minutes is downright foolish.” And then you’d need ND filters for awesome long exposure shots, and those set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

You return home a happy camper, but that happy cloud quickly gets ripped apart when you realise your computer cannot handle the rigors of 4K video editing.  And so you shell out thousands of dollars on a computer rig, complete with 128GB ram and Skylake processors. But 4K visuals are nothing without a 65” ultra-high-definition monitor and so you splurge. Before you know it, your hobby has devolved into a ten-thousand-dollar obsession.

Your personal space will get invaded

Introverts mustn’t get a drone. When your drone takes off and soars sky high, you’re suddenly Mr or Ms Congeniality. You’re the most popular person in the world. Curious onlookers sidle up to you and start showering you with compliments. To see the live feed, they inch so close they breathe into your ear and get you all hot and bothered. They flirt with you and want to get their dirty greasy hands on your disco stick controller.

“Excuse me, I don’t let anyone touch my drone, not even me.”

And they call us harassers who encroach on privacy and want to shoot our flying steeds down. Savages.

Your health will debilitate

Oh, the thrill of flying a drone. I still remember my first test flight. I almost died of a heart attack. On my third flight I flew so high and far that I lost sight of my drone and I almost died of a heart attack. And on my fifth flight, a bird nearly intercepted my drone and I almost died of a heart attack. When a TSA stopped me at the airport and demanded that I open my DJI backpack, interrogating me as if I were a drug mule or suicide bomber, my blood pressure shot up and I almost died of a heart attack.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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