The theme of our 2020 holiday seemed to be "the gifts that keeps on giving." We continue to enjoy homemade bread with our bread maker, putting puzzles together, wrapping in blankets and exploring the outdoors from a different viewpoint. By far, the largest but 'smallest in size' gift was a drone for our family.
A drone, in technological terms, is an unmanned aircraft. Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS. Today, drones are used for a wide range of functions, including monitoring climate change, delivering goods, aiding in search and rescue operations, and in filming and photography. Of course, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are also an increasingly important part of the military in many countries. American armed forces alone have a fleet of tens of thousands of drones today, compared to just a few twenty years ago. This is dwarfed, however, by the number of drones in private use. According to the FAA, there were 1.1 million drones registered in the U.S. in 2019 compared to 1000 in 2015.
The nighttime picture is a photograph taken by the drone high above our home with Christmas lights illuminating the perimeter. The other aerial view shows our garage with Chris standing on the sidewalk, the nearby Thornapple River, and our nearest crossroads.
In another still shot, the drone is 'spying' on Cam in our sunroom. In order for us all to 'see' where the drone is, Chris sets up a zoom meeting that we connect to so wherever the drone is heading, we're able to follow.
Over the weekend, the sunshine made a rare appearance and we headed over to Brody's Be Café to see what things looked like from up in the sky. We settled ourselves by the back entrance after the Café closed for the afternoon.
It's amazing how different everything appears from above. The architectural beauty of how our areas are designed is impressive. It's always good to see things from a different perspective.
Since Cam continues to be our rule-following, law-abiding citizen, he insisted that his dad contact the FAA regarding our drone flying times. As his father tried to explain it was not a requirement for every flight path, but Cam was unconvinced.
"Dad, we are really close to the airport. You have to file a report. What if we get in trouble? Don't they need to know? The FAA can find us, you know."
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