The Wide Angle: Take that Navy recruiter who didn’t think I could fly … oh, nevermind

Published 6:30 am Saturday, December 19, 2020

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There are those of us in the world who feel video games are a waste of time.

However, it’s because of video games that I crashed a drone into the side of our building.

Let me explain.

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Not long ago, we came into possession of our very own drone at the Herald that we hope to make use of for news items when warranted. Never fear, we will not be looking into your windows.

This has excited me greatly because even though I’ve poo pooed drones in the past, I’ve become more interested in them in recent years as a tool for news gathering and laughing giddly.

So now I have access to one and like the genius level fool I am, I immediately thought that years of playing video games should help with this.

The controller looks like a bigger version of the controller I use with my PlayStation 4, with a couple more buttons for good measure.

However, things have been ridiculously busy these past couple weeks and I’ve had a hard time breaking away and learning how to crash it.

I’ve read through the owner’s manual, which conveniently tells me how not to crash it into things, as well as read through the set up guide.

So when Thursday came around and I had my chance, I took it out to the big door of our garage, opened it and began the flight check.

Controller power? Roger.

Drone power? Roger.

Coffee? Roger, CONTACT.

Pushing a certain button on my phone that is my camera lifted the drone four feet off the ground to hover before me. The feeling I got was like the first time I turned on my first video game system as a child. Giddy and enthusiastic, I rotated the drone carefully so it could look at me with its camera.

Floating on air, its propellers whirring like a swarm of mosquitos, the drone considered me standing before it, waiting to control it further.

I moved it tentatively to the right and then the left. Slowly up and then down and back up again, higher and higher. I was thrilled to see what the camera was seeing as I rotated it 360 degrees to peak above our building.

I guided it back down, performed a few minor maneuvers and began to feel comfortable with it. My first mistake

I guided it slowly through the garage door and back out again.

The drone wavered some until I made up my mind what to do next when suddenly, it decided to make a move of its own. I’m not entirely sure what my fingers may have done, but I thought they were clear of the sticks. The drone suddenly veered to its right, flying hard core into the building.

At the last minute I tried to direct it elsewhere, but it was too late. It drilled the side with a crunch, pieces of propeller spinning off in every direction.

It fell to the ground, where I quickly gathered it up and turned it off.

We don’t have any replacements, so we’re waiting on more propellers to replace the broken ones, so for the time being, it’s sitting in it’s case, leaving me hoping I haven’t destroyed it.

A number of years back, when I was about to make major life decisions in terms of the post high school direction, I contemplated going into the US Navy — strongly. Naturally, “Top Gun” had left an impression, but a quick peek at my math scores told me this was not an option.

As I talked to the recruiter, a very nice woman who was very patient with my dreams of of performing inverted G dives, going into the action packed world of explosive ordnance disposal and hunting the Red October. But it was the pilot thing she seemed eager to steer me away from.

Now I know why.