Drones Vs. Safety

Years ago my son and I flew radio controlled airplanes (yesterday’s drones). I had one particular bi-plane I liked a lot and one day I took it to the remote-controlled flying field at Buder Park. Take off was uneventful so I maneuvered the radio controlled aircraft to about 300 feed and began some “lazy circles” because as I remember there were other radio controlled planes using the lower altitudes close to the field. For some unexplained reason my hand-held transmitter lost radio contact with the plane and I could no longer control it. Since it was trimmed out to fly in “lazy circles at 300 feet” it continued to do so but began drifting east towards the old Chrysler plant which was later leveled. I jumped in my car and tracked it visually as it continued the circles. Soon I could see it no more so I presumed it crashed into the Chrysler parking lot. The gate was open (prior 9/11) so I drove onto the lot. A security card caught up with me and wanted to know my intentions so I gave him the story. He said he didn’t care and told me to get off the lot which I did.

I often placed a small sign inside my radio controlled planes that read something like: “reward if found call xxx-xxxx”. I thought all was lost and was distraught over the loss of the radio equipment inside the plane and the plane which took quite a bit of money and effort to build. I returned home and behold a caller said he had my plane and radio equipment. He also said he would meet me at a local Denny’s to exchange it for the reward money ( I remember $25). At Denny’s he gave me the story. He was fishing along the banks of the Meramec river and was almost asleep with boredom ( a hot July day I think). All of a sudden he heard an awful crashing noise and tree branches were flying everywhere; it was my beloved bi-plane creating the ruckus. Since the trees cushioned its “landing” I was able to patch it up and it flew again for quite a while. I have not flown radio controlled planes for many years but have talked to some current pilots and the current radios have some improved safety features. One is quite remarkable: If radio contact is lost between the pilot and plane it uses its GPS memory to retrace its route to return to its pilot and theoretically “land” (good luck with that landing)

To see what the future holds for the modern-day radio controlled airplanes (drones) click below:

Click  here

Below is not my bi-plane but is a rocket firing and bomb (filled with baby powder) dropping fighter I built. My son still has it hanging on his garage wall:

Rocket firing Cougar

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