Whackos. So many whackos. A friend of mine sent me to a link of a new story. A woman took exception to a quadcopter owner taking aerial photos of a beach she was visiting. Assured that her privacy had been invaded, she followed the drone back to its owner and physically attacked him, complaining that he had violated her privacy. The police were called in to arbitrate the fracas, and the woman declared that the quad pilot has assaulted her as she approached him about his violation of her “rights.” The police sided with the copter pilot after he showed them the video from his aircraft, which clearly showed the woman attacking him without provocation. She now faces a one year jail sentence. Good! In other mutirotor news, a couple of anti-drone hunters went so far as to shoot down a quadcopter they saw flying over the national forest land they were poaching on. They were doubly surprised when the video from the drone showed them firing on out of season game in a hunting prohibited area. It was doubly painful for the hunters to discover the drone was being operated by game wardens as a measurement tool. They were rather displeased with the turn of events and the hunters are facing felony charges. If convicted, even without jail time, as convicted felons it will be against the law for them to possess, transport or fire weapons. Yell Second Amendment all you like, a felony conviction is instant Kryptonite for gun owners. It’s funny how so many people have such (powerful) negative feelings about these little helicopters. No one thinks twice about the millions of photos taken every day by phone cameras, never mind other photo and video tools. The most vocal of these people, it turns out, have absolutely no idea what the tiny aircraft are really capable of, where they’re flown, and the rather low percentage of pilots who operate their aircraft in risk intensive areas. Some of the super fancy drones are able to fly an hour or so and can be allowed to use an internal autopilot to direct their movements. These are frightfully expensive and are operated most often by government and professional aerial photographers on specific missions. They have been an inexpensive Godsend for property surveys, herd monitoring, law enforcement surveillance and evidence gathering, and by the scientific community for any number of missions. While expensive, they reduce costs in personnel, transportation and the size of carbon footprint or environmental invasion in the areas they’re deployed. Those of us who fly them for hobby fly less expensive, and ergo less capable aircraft. Most of my ships will not have the battery to stay airborne for more than 6-8 minutes. Long enough to gain the needed altitude and get positioned for a shot, and then return themselves to the pilot for landing. The idea of using them for serious surveillance work is ludicrous. The reaction to drones (although they aren’t really drones but radio controlled aircraft) seems to be wholly emotional, which is why, I suppose, most of the complaints seem off the wall and often have the complainers making false statements. A man on the east coast reported that a drone followed him for seven hours before he finally pulled his car into his garage to get out of sight. Only then did the little white quadcopter fly away -most likely to report his activities to …someone. He wasn’t sure who was checking up on him. There were so many things wrong with the man’s report that the police dismissed him with a warning about making false reports to law enforcement. Many of the negative reports we see focus on confined and unusual incidents where the pilot acted foolishly. Extrapolation of these stories spread like wildfire, rejected only by those with mere passing knowledge of the little aircraft. The biggest problem is the media which in an effort to gain attention and thereby more money, seem to always talk about drones in a negative light, always try to sensationalize non-incidents. At a flying club demo I overheard a reporter recorded the event of a simple take-off as the owners ‘releasing the deadly instrument to wreck havoc.’ Seriously? Really? I would think that people would find this overstating exaggeration as something to be rejected, yet people pass the story on, adding even more fictitious elements to the tale. We are a gullible nation. Don’t believe it? Then please explain our consistent reelection of representatives who spend the majority of their time betraying their constituents. Explain why we consider elected representatives consider them, and so do most people, as leaders. They aren’t leaders by a long shot. The Constitution of or nation isn’t very long. We should all read it from time to time to remind ourselves of those foundations that led us to become the most powerful nation on earth, and to note that the violations of those fine words or the ignoring of them has left us in a less than popular and credible country in contrast to a decade or so ago.