I’m a Drone Fanboy, and You Should Be, Too

There is much to love about our new, propeller-powered overlords.

byMichael Frank|
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Here’s the nuanced argument for why I’m a fan of drones, and you should be, too: They’re fast, they’re cool and, like cars, they’re a little bit dangerous.

O.K., that’s not at all nuanced. But it’s post-Black Friday, Santa and Hanukkah Harry are cruising around, and people want their flying toys because this is America, and we believe that fast, fun and, yes, dangerous, are all aspects of the big dream that makes this country great.

{If you think that’s specious logic, consider the reason you’re on this site in the first place: cars. Cars didn’t used to have airbags or seat belts. There weren’t even stop signs when America popularized the automobile. And yes, it was this country that “made” the car, even if that Benz character from Germany might’ve invented it.

The Feds now want to regulate drones, and you know what? That’s a good idea, and smart manufacturers like DJI, whose drones I’ve been testing lately, are on board with geofencing so that morons don’t ruin the fun for the rest of us.

As with cars, you should maybe go to school to learn to fly a drone safely, and maybe, just maybe, there should be laws to prevent you from taking down your fellow citizen while out joyriding (er, joy flying). The thing is, drones are here to stay. If you’ve seen a single car ad in the past year, or any action flick recently, you’ve seen and likely appreciated drone footage.

Yes, there’s also Jeremy Clarkson spokes-pitching Amazon’s new delivery drone, but that’s more noise than substance. Delivery drones are about as sexy as UPS vans.

What is sexy about drones isn’t just flying them, but the photos and video they can capture. The two shots of the McLaren 650S on this page, and other images, would be impossible for a private citizen to snap lacking either access to a crane or a helicopter. You might argue that the tech is invasive, and like any form of technology, misuse and abuse are likely because humans are stupid. But car crashes haven’t brought about the outlawing of cars, and for the same reason, UAVs/drones/quadcopters shouldn’t be banned, either.

The creative potential is too strong, the technology too compelling and the upside too steep. Morons who peep on their neighbors or fly too close to airports are idiots who will go to jail. But the rest of us? We just want to fly, and fly we will.