Opinion: Airing positive views about drone photography

What is all this fuss about drones? What is a drone? Should I stay indoors and never venture over the swing bridge again?.

Monday, 26th March 2018, 3:00 pm
Paul Thomas' drone picture of Robin Hood's Bay.

Drones are incredibly useful and entertaining small-scale flying machines that are a regular feature of the news.

Far from knocking aircraft from the skies on a regular basis, drones have repeatedly shown their utility, whether in life-saving searches or in providing spectacular imagery.

Paul Thomas' drone picture of Whitby piers.

Chances are, if you like TV, a great deal of the footage you’re watching will be captured from a drone.

Drones are good.

Can people stop viewing them with hostility? 

Last year I flew my drone over Robin Hood’s Bay beach.

Paul Thomas' drone picture of Whitby piers.

I took care to stay at least 50 metres away from other humans and didn’t overfly any buildings or the village. Still I was concerned I may offend someone, and apologised to people for the low buzzing sound.

During my drone flight, a chartered helicopter appeared on the scene and hovered lowly over the town taking photos before darting off. Strangely that was more normal for people on the beach, despite its thunderous engines and the dispersion of calm, than my small piece of buzzing plastic that was treated like a 1940’s doodlebug. I’m perplexed.

Despite an operator’s licence, drone insurance, operating in remote areas and even when offering free images and media, I get treated with narrow-eyed contempt.

Flying legally near Whitby viaduct I was tracked down and threatened.

Working in the military, senior officers have shouted down the mere mention of drones, refusing even to talk about their employment. These are probably the same Ruperts that didn’t like swapping horses for tanks.

Change is inevitable, and resistance to change is embarrassing! The Government could ban drones if they wanted to, but the benefits of innovative technological progress and the removal of putting humans in risk outweigh costs. After all, RC petrol-driven model aircraft and birds are just as much of a ‘threat’ to aircraft as drone.

And the privacy issues of a camera drone are mitigated by legislation not allowing flight within 50 metres or over property not owned by the drone operator. So surely drones are friendly robot pals?

I acknowledge it will take years, but can people chill when they see a drone causing no harm?

If they are within 50 metres of you or overflying the town, yes go tell the pilot off or call the drone police, but otherwise why not ask the hobbyist to see what they are doing? More often than not, they will show you images or even offer to give you some for free.

We do live in a beautiful area, and it’s even more so from the air.

Do some Googling!