There are old pilots. And there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots.

Last Sunday, I had about two hours of time where I figured I could get some flight time in. The netball courts near home seemed to be a good place to get some more minutes in – about 4 netball courts of space, and should be pretty quiet. Was I ever wrong! After about ten minutes of doing some circuits around a court, and landing practice into the centre circle, I had accumulated a group of about four or five school kids. All the while, these kids were shooting questions at me about the drone – how do you fly it? how much was it? blah blah blah.

I’ll admit it – I got way ahead of myself. I put the drone up higher than I had planned to. I looked away for a moment to look at who was talking at me, and then when I looked back I’d forgotten which way the drone was pointing (its orientation) and its height and distance away from me made it difficult to determine which way it was headed. By the time I’d figured out where the drone was going, it was headed towards a small body of water so I made the decision to bring it down as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the quickest path down was up a tree.

There was a group of teenagers kicking a ball around, who had been watching me from a distance. If it wasn’t for their generosity, I’m sure the Syma XC5 would still be hanging in a tree, trapped by the rotor shields. One of the guys even climbed the tree to the highest safe point to help shake it down, while his mate was lobbing the soccer ball from underneath. Their combined actions recovered the drone. I sheepishly walked the XC5 out of the park and slunk home.

Lessons:

  • Aviate, Navigate, Communicate – Chatter is last in the list.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize – Focus.
  • There are old pilots. And there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots.” Boldness will get you up a tree, or in the ground. Know your limits!

Flight logbook is here: The IT Juggler Drone Flight Logbook