Drone Day – aka: I love my job.

3 June 2014

So, as some of you know I work for a department in a large university that does a prestigious summer program for extremely talented youth. And it has been phenomenal. I love my office. I love my job. I’m good at what I do. And yes, I stare at a lot of spreadsheets all day and research products and have to manage order/shipment schedules…. But it’s great. (It’s also why I’m not online as much, especially as things are starting to get crazy busy.)

Best thing is: my office lets me geek out. In fact, they support it and join in with me. Case-in-point: Drone Day.

For one of our 4-6th grade programs, we are ordering drones. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition quadcopters to be exact. Five of them.

This is pretty exciting. Drones are still fairly new as far as consumer products, though their prices are dropping. And even though there’s some controversy with the FAA regarding drones, well… I mean, they’re drones. It’s freaking cool.

So when I found out that not only was I buying these for our program, but I’d be the one to get to test them out? I definitely nerded out a bit.

Drone preparing for flight time

Also: Yes, my desk is tiny and pretty much always covered post-it notes.

On Drone Day, I got the batteries charged and was prepping everything for our flight time. The Power Edition comes with 2 batteries, each with about 30-36 minutes of flight time on them. No, that’s not much, but it’s much much much better than the standard edition.

And since this was for a class, I didn’t customize it with the interchangeable colored propellors. The kiddos can choose that stuff.

After lunch, the office went out to a nearby soccer field, gathered around, and I scared the crap out of them when I hit “take off”. We left the indoor haul on it (the rounded quad-thing you see in the picture above), rather than the exposed outdoor one. With this being our initial flights, I didn’t want to risk the propellers.

First off, these things can be noisy. Not distractingly so, but it definitely makes you understand why there’s no mic on this thing — just the two cameras. Also, it does produce a good amount of air underneath it, like you see from regular helicopters but on a smaller scale of course.

The controls were not completely intuitive, even though I did watch a whole lot of tutorials and read the manual numerous times. And we had a little wind to deal with. But you get the hang of it quickly.

I absolutely wish I could have more time with this machine to really master the controls and navigation. It was so much fun to work with. And I can’t imagine it in an indoor setting where you’re not fighting the wind.

I was zooming it around, we took off the altitude restrictions… and I got it to do flips. Such fun!

And, of course, a quick little office selfie from our back porch. Eventually it’d be nice to just know where the photo button was so I could take one without having to stare at the control panel on my phone.

Drone Office Photo

At the end of our fun, one of my colleagues turned to me and said, “man, we really picked the right person for your position this year!” I am so grateful to be a part of this office, not even for the drones, but just for the amazing people that I work with.

  • It’s always great to work with people you really get along with and that appreciate you. And the fact that you got to fly that thing is awesome! You’ve got one cool job! 🙂

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