A Work-in-Progress compiled by Claude Walker for the Skies Are For Everyone (SAFE) Initiative, Updated Sept 2017
Armed unmanned vehicles have flown in hostile skies since 1849, when Austrians pelted Venice with incendiary balloons. Alas, the world’s first-known drone attack blew up in the Austrians’ faces when the wind shifted; still, an awestruck Venice surrendered.
In WWI, the U.S. Navy tried “flying torpedoes”. Secret tests resulted in one launch (from an 80 mph race-car), then failure. In 1918, the new Norden Catapult thrust the “N-9 Flying Bomb” from a Washington Navy Yard track. It rose 4,000’, soaring for miles before disappearing forever (a metaphor for the Navy project).
Since then, drones are smaller, faster and more lethal (and not just for soldiers anymore). My greatest hits by domestic drones:
September 2017 - Cleveland. On the anniversary of his slicing his finger with a drone to help the Chicago Cubs win the World Series (see below), pitcher Trevor Bauer “loses” his drone over a suburban park. Cub Nation is eager for him to resume his wonderful hobby ASAP.
September 2017 - Oregon. 75th anniversary of the Fu-Go campaign, in which Japan sent 9,000 “flying jellyfish” firebombs on the Jet Stream to the U.S. West Coast. Only 10% made it; one was fatal (six Oregonians died when a boy yanked a Fu-Go from a tree).
May 2017 - California. A “rogue” drone crashes into San Diego’s Petco Park during a Padres game. We’re reminded that during the 2016 All-Star game at Petco, a drone’s shadow buzzed the Tony Gwynn statue.
Bakersfield's Fire Department unveils “LOIS” (Low-Orbiting Incident Satellite) to monitor illegal fireworks. The drone cost $1,000, which will be recovered when the first offender is fined ($1,000-$1,500).
Meanwhile, Disney and Intel have been working on pyrotechnic drones which can discharge fireworks or use LED lights to ignite the sky.
March 2017 - Chicago. The first of two “mule-drones” fly into notorious Cook County Jail, as reported by Michael Sneed in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The earliest reported “mule-drone” was the 2009 Emley Prison incident in England, followed by prison delivery drones in Quebec, Sao Paolo, Melbourne, Dublin, South Carolina and Ohio. In 2016, a Maryland jury found Thad Shortz guilty of droning drugs & porn into a prison; he did it to buy a new Ford pick-up.
February 2017 - Lithia, FLA. UPS unveils a van-top delivery drone to better serve rural areas. Imagine an electric truck with a roof-top drone-pad. The driver loads the cargo and off it goes. The drone would then rendezvous with the driver down the road for a recharge and more payload. The prototype is wearing cute little brown shorts.
December 2016 - Seattle. After making a scenic video of the iconic Space Needle, a drone smashes into the top, narrowly missing workers preparing for the New Year’s Eve celebration and observation deck visitors.
November 2016 - Cleveland. The Cubs Curse of the Billy Goat ends thanks to a drone. The demise of the Curse began on October 13, when Cleveland Indian starter Trevor Bauer - an accomplished droner - turned on his drone. The props “…spun at max throttle,” he said, inflicting a nasty cut on his pinky, requiring a cab ride to ER and stitches, and delaying his Game 2 ALCS start; when he threw in Game 3, TV audiences worldwide were nauseated by the bloody digit.
The Curse ended on October 26, World Series Game 2. Bauer on the mound. His curve isn’t working and the Cubs aren’t fooled by his heat. In 3 innings he’s tagged by Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Zobrist, Schwarber, and gets the hook. Cubs win. How close the series was! What if Bauer’s drone wasn’t at “max throttle”? Maybe he was psyched by the gift he got from a Cubs fan, Mr. Jason Mollett: a shiny new mini-drone just before the World Series?
In a related story, one of 6 people arrested at the massive Cubs victory rally was a drone operator.
Further related, the DuPage Drones baseball team, who play in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, had a good season, 2nd place in the Prospect League. Lots of buzz.
August 2016 - Amsterdam. Dutch artist Bart Jansen - who mixes taxidermy with droning - will soon unveil his latest creation: the Bovine Personnel Carrier (BPC). The cow is still at the tannery but will soon take to the skies in the same fashion of Jansen’s “”Sharkjet”, “Flying Ostrich” and of course his “Orvillecopter”, in which he stuffed and mounted his cat (recently hit by a car) on a quadcopter. (A Tip o’ the Hat to the Daily Herald’s Kerry Lester for this scoop.)
August 2016 - Rio. Despite Brazil’s best efforts, three drones were spotted hovering over Maracana Stadium during the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. The drones triggered a security alert making the bodyguards of many heads-of-state scramble faster than Ryan Lochte’s and Hope Solo’s spin-doctors.
July 2016 - Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Afghan refugee brothers - Massoud and Mahmud Hassani - seek Kickstarter funding for production of their drone minesweeper invention. The $1,100 drone does 3-D mapping of a site, locates landmines and carefully explodes them. (“20 times safer and faster!”)
July 2016 - Camano Island, WA. Boat thieves were tracked by 14-year old droner Chris Harris as they sped off with his Zodiac in tow. Flying his Phantom (a graduation gift) at 50 mph and 20’ above the dim-wits, the vacationing teen was able to inform police exactly where the bad-guys were headed. They were arrested upon docking.
July 2016 - San Diego. During All-Star pre-game coverage, the shadow of a drone was buzzing Tony Gwynn's statue by Petco Field. I half-expected “Mr. Padre” to come alive and swat it down the right-field line.
July 2016 - State Capitals. In 2016, 12 states enacted drone laws, bringing the total to 31 states with drone laws on the books, according to Stateline. Most new laws restricted droning in certain areas (power plants, police or firefighter activity). Kansas passed a drone-stalking law. (Tip ‘o the hat to Jen Fifield at Pew Charitable Trusts.)
May 2016 - Lisle IL. On May 16, 2016, Drones triumphed in a life-or-death battle over Emojis, Dalmations, Encased Meats and Fighting Arbors as the name of the newest entry in baseball’s Prospect League. Some 200 names were submitted; supposedly President Obama and Taylor Swift helped get out the vote.
The DuPage Drones play at the Lisle Sports Complex at Benedictine University, west of Chicago. Foes include the Hannibal Cavemen, Chillicothe Paints and Kokomo Jackrabbits (who may run away with it all.) On http://dronesbaseball.com/ they note the N.Y. Jets were named for an emerging technology, and that they “…anticipate a future where drones are ubiquitous”. During a skid, their blog said, “Drones Need Recharge.” I love these guys! Their manager’s named Lincoln! I need to get out to Lisle for a game; the Springfield Sliders are coming. Go Drones!
May 2016 - New Orleans. A Pentagon official outlines the “Gremlins” project, swarms of drones dropped from a C-130 for use as jammers, kamikazes or decoys. In explaining the work of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, Col. Travis “Flare” Burdine says, “You (the bad guys) have maybe 100 or 1,000 SAMs, but we’re going to hit you with 10,000 smalls, not 10,000 MQ-9s. That’s why we want smalls.”
April 2016 - Boston. DroneShield will again bring its wicked drone-fighters to the Boston Marathon, says Beantown’s Top Cop. Drone detectors placed along the route can spot a drone buzz and identify the drone’s acoustic signature. In 2015, DroneShield brought net-guns and other drone-snatchers to the race. One if by land, two if by sea, three if by drone…
April 2016 - London. The pilot of a British Airways jet with 137 souls aboard reports a head-on collision with a drone as he’s landing at Heathrow. The jet suffers only “superficial damage”; no word on the drone. In September 2015, pilots landing at Heathrow had two drone near-misses. ABC News reports on a study showing that a drone sucked into a jet’s engine would “destroy the engine in seconds”.
March 2016 - TV Land. A spoofy GE ad features “Braindrone” (“a drone you control with your BRAIN!”) This comes on the heels of a Lisbon firm's new drone you control with brain waves while wearing a dorky shower-cap. And the “AR.Drone 2.0”, controllable by facial expressions. Old hat compared to Professor Bin He, who used brain waves to fly a drone through a hoop in a University of Minnesota gym in June 2013.
March 2016 - Bloomington IL. State Farm is first insurer to win FAA OK to use drones to inspect roofs and hard-to-reach spots, especially post-disaster. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…buzzing overhead.
March 2016 - Dubai. Sports Illustrated reports on the first World Drone Prix. The winner - a 15-year old Brit - takes home a $250,000 prize from the W.O.R.D. (World Organization of Racing Drones).
March 2016 - Hartford CT. The Connecticut House hears from the teen who created the “Flying Gun” and “Flame-thrower Drone Roasting a Turkey” videos; he opposes a bipartisan bill to ban armed drones.
March 2016 - Hollywood. Eye in the Sky is released, the second film to explore the ethics of drone warfare (following 2014’s The Good Kill). Rave reviews, boffo cast (Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul (aka Jesse Pinkman) and the Somali pirate guy from Capt. Phillips (“Look at me!”) An ad for the film airs during an episode of Shameless, in which a Chicago cop tells Carl Gallagher he’ll be watching him “like a drone”.
March 2016 - Los Angeles. A Lufthansa pilot spots a drone flying 200’ above his jumbo jet as he tries to land at LAX. It’s the 42nd report to the FAA of drones flying unsafely near LAX.
February 2016 - Santa Clara CA. Super Bowl 50 is a No-Drone Zone, as decreed by the FAA and Santa Clara City Council. The only buzz at this Roman Numeral-free game is over Cam Newton’s pants, Beyonce’s show and Manning’s Bud.
January 2016 - Amsterdam. A “raptor training firm” unveils its drone-killing eagle service. Perhaps inspired by the GRASP Lab Eagle-claw Drone, Guards From Above will work with the Dutch National Police to disable and retrieve threatening drones with raptors. The trainers claim raptors can see the spinning rotors, so they avoid injuring their talons.
January 2016 - Santa Fe NM. Political droning has new meaning as a drone buzzes New Mexico’s House chamber during floor debate. And in what must be a first, Rep. Larry Larrañaga dons FPGs (“First Person Goggles”) to see what the drone sees. (Tip o’ the Hat to Popular Science’s always-entertaining Kelsey D. Atherton for this item.)
January 2016 - Las Vegas. The Ehang 184 - a human-carrying drone - is unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. It can fly 62 mph for 23 minutes while toting up to 220 lbs. Cool design (I want one!). Watch the video. And watch for Uber acquisition of Ehang.
January 2016 - Drones in the Courts! All Rise!
- Jury finds Thad Shortz guilty of droning drugs, guns and porn into a Maryland prison. He confessed to “5 or 6 drops at $4K each”, which were snatched by cons in the dog-walker training program. Shortz - facing 50 years - needed the cash for a new Ford pick-up.
- The University of Kentucky law student who crashed his drone into a packed football stadium (narrowly missing military skydivers) pleads guilty and pays $100 fine. He plans to pursue a career in drone photography.
January 2016 - Houghton MI. Michigan Tech researchers unveil “dronecatcher-drone” with a net to trap and retrieve drones with evil payloads. Japan develops similar “drone net” following a radioactive drone landing on the PM’s home. (Tip o’ the Hat to Engadget’s Daniel Cooper for this item.)
January 2016 - YouTubeLand. While “Drone Tows Skateboarder” has been done, a video is posted of an apparently Russian lad on a snowboard being towed (verrry slowly) by a drone.
December 2015 - Oahu. Presidential motorcade is buzzed by drone flying “car-high”, according to Secret Service (who quickly nab the pilot). The stoner-droner is unaware POTUS is in town. He just enjoys flying over crowded areas. And bristling black motorcades.
December 2015 - Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. TV drone crashes near 4-time champ Marcel Hirscher as he tears down a slope in the World Cup Ski Slalom. The ski federation promptly bans drones from World Cup events.
December 2015 - I take my new Quad for a test-flight in our living room. It shears off the top of a houseplant and spooks the pooch, but looks really cool (especially at night).
December 2015 - Birmingham AL. “Flame-thrower Drone Roasts Holiday Turkey”, another fun drone-vid posted by SkyBama.com, the folks who gave us “Bikini Babes Firing Machineguns at Drones” and a bouncy sorority recruitment ad. Actually, their USS Alabama and Peach Water Tower vids are why drones were invented. The Flame-thrower vid will later become an issue in the Connecticut Legislature.
December 2015 - Ontario. In the world’s first-reported drone-car collision, a drone wrecks the grill of an oncoming sedan. “It may be the first,” says a Sheriff, “But not the last.” Meanwhile, a California Highway Patrol chopper tailing a stolen car has near-miss with a drone at 800’ over Contra Costa. The car thief escapes.
December 2015 - Worcestershire, England. A baby’s eye is sliced in half by a drone flown by a family friend. The eye cannot be saved. It’s real funny ‘til someone loses an eye (as our moms told us).
November 2015 - Residents of women’s dorm at an Istanbul college report drone-peeping. Months earlier, residents of women’s dorm at Arkansas State University report drone-peeping.
October 2015 - Las Vegas. Anti-drone Death Ray unveiled at UAV Expo. The Liteye Drone-killer can flip the OFF switch on a drone up to a mile away, forcing a crash.
October 2015 - Fresno CA. Drone comes within 15’ of SkyLife helicopter at 1,000’ up and just two miles from the airport. Patient is safely transported to hospital despite close-call.
October 2015 - Raleigh NC. Registered sex offender buzzes crowded State Fair with drone equipped with high-rez camera.
September 2015 - Lexington KY. Drone slams into University of Kentucky football stadium during pre-game. The inspired ‘Cats beat the Rajin’ Cajuns 40-33. Two weeks earlier, a drone clips the antenna on Lexington’s tallest building.
September 2015 - Drone slams Grand Slam tennis match (2nd time), again at the U.S. Open. And again during a Flavia Pennetta match! The drone hits Louis Armstrong Stadium. Satchmo: “I see skies of blue and clouds of white, and I think to myself…What a Wonderful World.”
September 2015 - Robbinsville NJ. New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association bans drones at sports events. In addition to safety and liability concerns, one reporter notes drones would give coaches a “competitive advantage” by watching opponents’ practices, could be used to break the momentum of the opponents, and - this being Jersey - might impact sports betting.
September 2015 - Hyogo, Japan. Drone hits Japan’s oldest castle. Fresh from a 5-year renovation, the revered 17th Century Himeji Castle - known for You Only Live Twice and Shogun - sustains damage to a window frame. A businessman confesses, saying he “…just lost control.” Dozens of drones have buzzed this landmark known - ironically - as the White Heron Castle (for its resemblance to a bird taking flight).
September 2015 - Drone-peeping in Upstate New York! Mid-Hudson Hospital patients are startled to see a drone buzzing out their window. The busted droner says he’s not a peeping-tom and couldn’t see through the tinted windows anyhow. In western New York, Sunday breakfast for a couple of loft-dwellers is interrupted by a drone, “…just staring at us. I had on my boxers. My wife only had a robe.”
September 2015 - Burning Man Fest, Nevada. One drone hits a campsite and another drone’s camera slams a Burning Man dance pit. A Burning Man “touchstone” is “Immediacy”, a need to “overcome barriers that come between us”. Nothing says “immediacy” like renegade drones.
August 2015 - Cumberland MD. Officials bust up scheme to fly heroin, K2, porn and guns over prison walls. This follows an Ohio prison riot after “drone-mule” lands in the prison yard with heroin, pot and smokes.
August 2015 - Melbourne. Eagle Punches Out Drone video is posted. The droner complains that now his drone needs $100 in repairs. A spate of Drone-Versus-Animal vids: Tushy the Chimp kills a $2,000 drone in the Netherlands; New Zealand’s Rambo the Ram butts a drone then the droner. Lunging Florida gator, pissed cheetah, confused moose, dozing lion, taunted dogs.
August 2015 - San Mateo CA. 15-year old drone-fighting prodigy Kyle Ettinger dominates 2015 Game of Drones combat. He and his fierce homemade Carbon Crusher go undefeated.
July 2015 - Phelan CA. Drones delay water-bucket choppers for 20 minutes as wildfire rips across I-15, incinerating 20 cars. This follows a 25,000-acre blaze in the drought-stricken San Bernardino Mountains which “grew substantially” when a drone flew into the path of water tankers; a $75,000 reward is issued for that droner.
July 2015 - Clifton CT. 18-year old attaches a handgun to a drone and shoots-up Dad’s wooded property. His scary “Flying Gun” video goes viral.
July 2015 - Santiago, Chile. Drone rocks Lollapalooza stage in Parque del O’Higgins, just missing a guitarist. In August 2014, a drone buzzes 90,000 fans in Chicago’s Grant Park at Lollapalooza (during a Skrillex set), drawing an FAA wrist-slap.
July 2015 - Hillview KY. William Merideth, seeing a drone above his sunbathing teen daughter, grabs a shotgun and blows the drone-peeper from the sky. He’s arrested, but Bullitt County Judge Rebecca Ward drops charges. Drones are also shot down in California and New Jersey. One shooter is eager for drones to deliver pizzas: “It’ll be like skeet-shooting with benefits!”
June 2015 - Annapolis MD. “Maryland: Hoverbike Heaven”. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford inks deal with Pentagon and U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics for Hoverbike R&D in Maryland. The prototype’s props are made of Tasmanian Oak. The Tron-ish Hoverbike can hit 170 mph, soar to 10,000’, and blow STOP signs with impunity.
June 2015 - San Francisco. A big month for Drone Dentistry, as a man yanks his nephew’s loose front tooth with dental floss tied to a drone in Ghiradelli Square. It is the third such drone extraction this month! The technique was first used in March 2014 by a Dublin man on his 8-year old son.
May 2015 - Tijuana. Singer Enrique Iglesias grabs at a drone during a concert to give his 12,000 fans a POV shot. The drone slices two fingers. The show goes on with Enrique’s arm wrapped in a bloody shirt. He faces reconstructive surgery.
May 2015 - Oklahoma and Texas flood-zones. BNSF Railroad uses drone to spot washed-out track and rail bridges whose supports are debris-clogged. The effort is part of “Pathfinder”, a drone safety private/public partnership led by the FAA. BNSF will use drones for rail inspection in snowy terrain, too.
May 2015 - Drones on Parade! Drone crashes Memorial Day parade in Marblehead, MA, hurting two and narrowly missing a baby. Another drone hits a building during Seattle’s Pride Parade; falling debris knocks a 25-year old woman unconscious.
April 2015 - Tokyo. To protest a restarting of two nukes, activists land drone on the roof of the home of Japan’s Prime Minister. The quad - which carries flares and a plastic bottle containing traces of radioactive cesium - sits undetected for days.
April 2015 - Indianapolis. Final Four fans freak when drone buzzes March Madness events and outdoor Rihanna concert.
March 2015 - French firm unveils EC180, a tracker-drone which can tail a rogue drone to its operator and snap a photo for facial recognition. The company boasts this baby "…makes it impossible for malicious operators to disappear."
February 2015 - South Carolina woman hears buzzing outside bedroom window at 2:00 a.m. A drone with flashing lights hovers a second, knows he’s busted, then flies back to a utility plant.
January 2015 - Washington D.C. Drunk federal contractor lands pal’s quad on the White House lawn at 3:00 a.m., then passes out. This follows 2014 incidents of drones at the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Capitol. And Congress is no stranger to endless droning.
January 2015 - Tijuana. Drone toting 6 pounds of crystal meth hits supermercado parking lot. Payload ($48,000 street) is too much for the 6-prop drone. Drones now join 2-man subs and tunnels in the cartels’ tool-boxes.
January 2015 - St. Maartens. The waterproof Mariner drone is “test-flown” as a submersible in a hotel pool. It works! (Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…)
December 2014 - New York City. Chain restaurant’s “Mistletoe-Drone with Kiss-cam” gets too close to a smooching couple; 10” blades amputate tip of the female kisser’s nose. The droner blames the victim, saying “she flinched”.
November 2014 - Mt. Martha, Victoria, Australia. Topless mom sunning in her fenced yard is drone-peeped by a local realtor seeking “elevated shots” of a nearby property. The image is posted on the realtor’s website.
November 2014 - Belleville-sue-Loire, France. 15 drones fly over six French nukes in the past month, AP learns. France is heavily nuclear-reliant.
November 2014 - Montgomery County TX. After a two-week scuba search in Lake Conroe, the Sheriff’s errant $300,000 drone is recovered (trashed). Sheriff wants a smaller drone. The nifty SkyRanger ($188,000) is, says the manufacturer, “…ideally suited for land or maritime military use, including covert ISR (Intel, Surveillance, Recon).”
October 2014 - Creepy self-described “guys in Slovakia” drone-peep a topless woman on a high-rise roof. In haste to cover up and swat the drone with a broom, she’s precariously close to plunging over the edge.
October 2014 - Release of “art video” Drone Boning, a drone’s-eye view of everyday people having sex on Northern California beaches and mountains.
October 2014 - Belgrade, Serbia. Drone with banner sparks soccer melee. Serbian player grabs a drone toting pro-Albanian message. Albanian players pile on. Dronedemonium.
September 2014 - Pennsylvania police bust up the “Tub Gang”, a multi-state burglary ring who use drones to case their targets. Some months later, British police confirm that a Suffolk burglary ring uses drones to find security weaknesses, such as patio doors.
September 2014 - New York City. Drone buzzes U.S. Open tennis match between Serena Williams and Flavia Pennetta.
August 2014 - Yellowstone National Park. Despite a National Park Service ban on drones, a German tourist flies one into the Great Prismatic Spring - among the Park’s largest and most scenic hot springs - then demands return of his drone.
July 2014 - Plymouth CA. Drone hampers firefighters battling so-called “Sand Fire” which destroys 4,200 acres and 22 homes. When caught, the droner says he was in the flight-path of low-flying water tankers for his “…own personal entertainment”.
June 2014 - Drone-peeping, West Coast Style! An “undressed woman” in Seattle reports a peeping-tom outside her 26th floor window. Months later, residents of Vancouver high-rise report repeated drone-peeping, as do residents of posh San Jose, California condo.
June 2014 - Orders taken for The Skunk, a $46,000 “crowd control drone”. The first buyer? A South African platinum mine-owner with riotous workers. The four-barrel “flying gun” also has strobe lights and a sound cannon.
May 2014 - Drones at the Beach! Connecticut woman assaults droner taking “pervy photos” at a state park beach. And women on a residential Virginia beach report a drone coming “within inches of our asses”. When confronted, one of the father-and-son droners asked if it hurt.
May 2014 - St. Louis. Drone hits 30th floor balcony of the city’s tallest building. FAA and SLPD are investigating. Meanwhile, drone-vids of the Arch are eye-popping and wildly-popular.
April 2014 - Grand Canyon. Drone buzzes crowd waiting to see serene sunset. In another national park, bighorn sheep at Utah’s Zion National Park are repeatedly buzzed by a drone, resulting in young sheep bolting from the herd.
April 2014 - Geraldton, Australia. Runner Rajii Ogden is hospitalized after drone plummets 30’ into her path during a triathlon. The droner first claims the runner’s injuries are due to “startlement”, then claims his drone was “hacked”. Ms. Ogden receives three stitches.
April 2014 - Lebanon, PA. 375-pound drone owned by the National Guard goes amok, crashes by a school and is run over by a car.
March 2014 - New York City. First-ever “Paparazzi Drone” video is posted (of Selena Gomez). “They tried to stop us from taking pictures,” says Paparazzi Cesar, “We said, ‘release the drone’.” Months later, Miley Cyrus spots a paparazzi drone.
February 2014 - Hartford, CT. Ghoulish drone-peeping. Drone hovers over fatal car crash while victims are visible in the vehicle. Two months later, another traffic crash drone-peeper is arrested in Ohio for refusing to let a rescue copter land.
January 2014 - Nancy, France. Teen posts breathtaking drone-vid of his hometown: Nancy Vu Du Ciel. He ends up in court for reckless endangerment, the first case of its kind.
November 2013 - Brooklyn Navy Yards. Lady Gaga hovers in a wearable hexacopter, aka Voltanis the Drone Dress.
November 2013 - Calhoun GA. Four are busted for trying to fly two pounds of tobacco into county jail. Dip-drone?
October 2013 - Manhattan. Quad crashes, narrowly missing Wall Street analyst (karma?) Despite nearly getting conked on the cabeza, he keeps his wits, removing the video card and telling a reporter, "They made a conscious decision to fly something they don't have control over through the most crowded city, most crowded time of the day; I can't believe there's no law against this.”
September 2013 - Mount Rushmore. Drone buzzes 1,500 visitors then the Big Four, reportedly landing on Lincoln. Rangers nab drunk droner who’s had the drone for a week. Abe’s Ghost intones, “…You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but get your damn quad off my nose, A--hole!”
September 2013 - Dresden, Germany. Campaign rally with Angela Merkel is disrupted when drone flown by a Pirate Party activist raids the stage, landing at the Chancellor’s feet. The droner says Merkel should “…know how it feels to be watched by a drone.”
August 2013 - Utah. “Aleeshia and Clayton’s Wedding Shoot”. Drone hits groom in face. I laugh every time.
August 2013 - North Dinwiddie VA. Drone slams into the stands at Virginia Motorsports Park as 8,000 fans are enjoying the Great Bull Run. Someone filming the incident: “Whoa. A drone just hit some dude in the face.”
June 2013 - Northwest New Mexico. Thermal imaging drone helps archaeologists find new structures in 1,000-year old Pueblo village.
June 2013 - Central Florida. Video recovered from drone which hit a tree (after just missing the Interstate) reveals hours of drone-peeped images of women inside their homes and sunbathing in backyards.
March 2013 - University of Pennsylvania. GRASP Lab researchers affix a 3-D printed “eagle claw” to a juiced-up drone which uses biomimicry of a raptor’s dive-and-snatch swoop. A noted futurist says that, if big enough, an “eagle drone” could easily snatch human targets.
May 2012 - Fredericksburg VA. Commercial pilot reports a drone 100’ from his wing as he’s landing.
April 2012 - Chilling “Machine Gun Drone” video is posted, eventually getting 30 million views.
March 2012 - Montgomery County TX. The Sheriff’s new $300,000 police drone - the nation’s first - has a rude maiden flight. The 50-pound drone (which can be fitted with thermal imaging, shotgun and grenade-launcher) climbs 18’, then slams into a SWAT vehicle. No injuries, but the press conference is declared a total loss. In 2014, it flies into Lake Conroe.
April 2011 - Japan. Honeywell T-Hawk flies over crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant for 28 minutes, giving authorities a first look inside the reactors. Later, it apparently crashes into a cooling tower.
September 2009 - Kent, England. Toy helicopter delivers contraband into Elmley Prison, the first of many such flights into prisons in Quebec, Sao Paolo, Melbourne, Dublin, Russia, South Carolina, Maryland and Ohio. The “drone-mule” is born.
By Claude Walker, Chicago, September 2017