So I got my drone, all keen as a bean, opened it up, got it out the box. I’m sure you can sense my excitement at my new £500 toy.
I’d watched a few YouTube tutorials, got the jist – bit like a remote control helicopter right? Never flown one but it’s kidsplay yeah?
I’d never even actually seen a drone in flight IRL, or touched one, or even spoken to anyone who’d flown one, but I’d seen those ‘straight outta the box’ YouTube videos, I’d be ok.
And so I pulled it out, spun on those propellers, and turned it all on. New toy enthusiasm at a high, knowledge at an all time low. Connected it all up, found the button on the app that said launch, tapped that…
“Are you sure you want to launch?”
“Yeahhhh, why not?”
…and pretty much soiled myself.
IT WAS SO LOUD. AND SCARY. AND I WAS IN MY BEDROOM. Which, despite being rented as a ‘large double’ all of a sudden seemed as small as the box room I used to have to stay in at my nan’s.
“Vrroom, VROOOM” – have you ever heard one of those things launch? Think ‘racing track’. Then think ‘racing track in your bedroom’.
The vibrations deafened my enthusiasm and the drone, which was flying up to line up with my eye sight seemed to be challenging me to a fight. I was conscious that my housemates would wonder what the hell I was doing, having given no pre warning, and I was also wondering the same. Who sets off a drone indoors?
WHO DOESN’T EVEN LOOK AT HOW TO LAND THE BLUMMIN THING?
So I did what any insane person would do when a drone is mid-flight, with propellers spinning at a quadrillion miles an hour, I reached out and grabbed it. Yes, like a claw on one of those crappy toy things at an arcade I attempted to skilfully pluck it out of the air to calm it down without touching a propeller.
Except of course I did. I was shaking so badly by this point there was no way it was going to be a smooth in and out. And so it severed my finger, and my thumb, and then my arm, and then there was blood spattering out in my newly shrunken room all over the box, the walls, the skirting boards, and the expensive bag I’d bought for my new career as a drone pilot. When for some reason, and maybe the last time in my life, I’d decided I had money to burn.
I felt sick. All this had happened in about ten seconds and the adrenaline rush was too much. Somehow though, I had actually managed to turn it off. As I write this I realise I don’t even know how I did it. Maybe I flicked the switch on the controller? I mean, that would’ve been the sensible thing to do. Or maybe the drone had decided that since it had the top of my thumb, a good chunk out my finger, and a bit of my arm, its work here was done?
Who knows, but it had stopped droning. The relief was nauseating. I had to sit down and think about what I’d just done.
I honestly thought I was actually going to spew. I’ve never had a rush like it, and I jumped out of a plane that time. Basically, in those few seconds, if I’m honest, I’d thought the drone was going to kill me. My bloodied hands were shaking, I had to deep breathe, and my bedroom was a bloodbath.
“What the F&*K were you just doing?” – Irish housemate.
And that’s the story of why me and my drone are not friends.
Soooo, I didn’t want to give up on it, but I was most definitely scared of it. I signed up for a drone flying class with Darren from Phantom Flight School to try and work through our issues together. They were great. They went through all the basics, the rules, the laws, how to fly, and they took me our for a flight in Winchester’s Great Outdoors.
Why didn’t I think of doing that?
Darren made me feel a lot more confident, and showed me some tips and tricks to get me started.
He was great.
But then, I still didn’t make the time to take it out, to get to know it and bond. Big mistake.
It sounds pathetic, but I worry I’m going to get told off, or invade someone’s privacy. Someone had flown a drone over my mum’s garden and she was livid. I didn’t want anyone to be angry at me. And so £500 worth of plastic and some other stuff, just sat in the cupboard.
I did take it to Antigua though, and flew it once. I’d gone out early so the rest of the resort would be sleeping, and chosen a spot away from the hotel.
I successfully launched it. But then I could see someone on my iPhone screen looking at me. Just watching what I was doing. I was on a press trip and didn’t want to annoy any of the guests – still with the whole invading people’s privacy thing at the back of my mind. I felt bad, and so after a few snaps bought it down.
And then as I bought it down I realised the person who’d been watching my every move was actually me. Oh, how I laughed. To myself.
I gave up.
I had have a quick a dalliance in Greece…
And then decided to sell it on eBay. But no one wanted it, even though I went down to £300, with said mega expensive bag. Decided I might as well keep it if no one wanted it for that. Y’see there are a lot of second hand drones out there. People like me who for some reason think that because they can take a half decent picture on a fancy camera think they’ll be able to master the art of aerial photography just by handing over some cash.
And so round, what are we up to, four? Round four began in Boracay, in the Philippines. Where, instead of enjoying the quiet place I thought I’d found, I had to fly and land it in among three kids, some nosy tourists and a few curious dogs.
But I did it.
I’ve now watched a few more videos. Understand a bit more. And decided to take it out as much as possible while I’m here (bloody weather ruining my good intentions right now though).
You’ve seen the results throughout this post – the only way is up!
(drone joke, except, always know how to come down too).