By Ralph Hood

I have now been droned!

It was at Gail’s Arrington family reunion (her dad’s side), and it didn’t hurt at all! Having once been droned, I now am, of course, an expert on the subject

After a superb lunch of family-favorite recipes, all of us went outside, stood in one huge group, and watched as the drone rose majestically into the air before us. It sounded like a thousand buzzing bees.

We oohed and aahed, the picture was taken, the drone dipped to us, did a little dance in the air, then gently settled, and we oohed and aahed some more.

The droner, Randall Hash, (or should I call him the pilot or photographer?) is a licensed professional drone operator. What with Walmart et al selling drones to the unwashed hobbyist masses, it is still somewhat rare to meet a licensed drone professional.

(Some people suspect that hobbyists buy drones so they can skulk through the air taking pictures of nudes through bedroom windows. Can you imagine how many skyscraper-apartment dwellers—high on the 32nd floor—do not close their window shades? The opportunities for drone drivers must be awesome. I wouldn’t do that, of course, but some might!)

Randall Hash and I met and talked—well, I talked, mostly. Talking about drones was fun after a morning of listening to other people trying to explain how they must be kin to each other (“Now, your uncle Cecil married my third cousin, once removed. They had three children, two of them were normal, the other one married my great aunt, and…..”).

Agriculture is a huge industry that will benefit greatly from drones. Today, a farmer, worried about his huge grain fields, may decide to put fertilizer over all of the fields. The cost would be substantial.

The drone-equipped farmer, however, could send out a drone to photograph all of the fields. He might find the one field that has a problem, and then he could fertilize only that one area, thus saving big bucks.

It would work on insect infestations also. If there are crop-eating insects in one spot, the drone could pinpoint that area and quickly send insecticides to wipe out the infestation before it spread.

There is no doubt that these methods work. Japan, for example, uses drones to a great extent right now. Our guvmint—it seems to me—tried at first to keep tight control on drones. But I doubt that was ever possible. Sometimes things do take over. When GPS navigation first came out, our guvmint tried to control it. Pilots bought a GPS and used it anyway, because it was, frankly, flat-out wonderful for aviation navigation.

The same—I believe—will happen with drones.

Another big market for drones will be—in fact, already is—the military, which is currently using drones. Just think how many lives that could save. Instead of sending a piloted bomber or fighter, we send a drone. If it is shot down, no pilot dies.

Drone war planes would not need space and controls for humans. They would not need windows, for example, and this could save a lot of weight and thus save fuel, carry more equipment, ammunition, and/or more weaponry.

Come to think of it, perhaps I shouldn’t say any more about military drone use. I don’t want to be shot and killed by a military drone in the dark of the night!

BTW, email me at ralph@ralphhood.com for contact info for Randall Hash—but be warned—he doesn’t do pictures through bedroom windows!