I Owned A Drone For Ten Minutes

I’ve always wanted a drone.  When I was a kid a friend of my father’s flew model airplanes and I thought he was the coolest guy in the world.  A couple of years ago I bought a tiny little toy helicopter that I used to fly around my apartment while pretending I was friends with Magnum P.I.  It was awesome.  A drone though…  That was something else.  A multirotored flying platform that I can fly through the skies like I’m the Sky Captain and this is Tomorrow?  A drone is a radio controlled wet dream made reality.

The further I have gotten into photography as a hobby the more I have fallen in love with my GoPro.  Don’t get me wrong, taking the Canon* out and getting some great shots with a long lens is fun.  However, I can strap my GoPro to just about anything to get some truly unique perspectives on the world.  The GoPro is tailor made to mount on a drone and look at the world from above.  Seeing the world from the same perspective as birds always gives me a thrill.  I hate flying, mostly because no one actually knows how planes stay in the air.  What I mean to say is that no one knows how the Bernoulli Principle works.  It’s an observable phenomenon that we don’t actually understand.  I’m an atheist who loves science.  Talk to a physicist.  Corner them with a knife and nothing to lose.  They will eventually admit that while we know it works we don’t know why.  Since we don’t actually know what keeps planes in the air I would say that makes it magic.  Since I know magic is based on lies, I can logically conclude that lies are what keep planes in the air.  Mounting a GoPro to a drone would allow me to see things like a bird but without having to get into a plane.  Then I could do aerial photography and finally achieve happiness.

Most drones capable of carrying a GoPro are out of my price range.  Imagine the level of joy I achieved when I discovered that a Kickstarter project aimed to create a compact tri-rotor vehicle that was strong enough to carry a GoPro.  Not only that, but the project was fully funded and they had shipped what they called The Pocket Drone to people.  NOT ONLY THAT BUT HOLY CRAP NUGGETS THERE IS ONE ON EBAY AND IT”S ONLY $150 AND I WON THE BID AND HOW DO I HIDE THIS ERRECTION?!?!?!?!

The drone arrived on a radiant Saturday morning.  In actuality the weather was quite dreary, but I contend that owning a drone changes how you perceive the weather.  It was fucking radiant.  I charged the battery and went into the parking lot outside my apartment.  I did not want to fly the drone.  My apartments are not worthy of being photographed from the air.  I wanted to make sure that the Pocket Drone survived the shipping process.  It is important to me that you understand I had no intention of taking to the heavens and demonstrating my air superiority to Grandview Heights Ohio.

Step 1: Turn on remote control.

Everything is going well.

Step 2: Connect battery to drone.

I am in complete control of this situation.

Step 3: Arm drone.

Hello Skynet.  I didn’t realize you would be coming online today.

Upon being armed the Drone immediately shot 150 feet in the air and stopped responding to the remote.  The following is what I believe to be an accurate transcripts of my thoughts:

“Oh God please make it stop. Why am I asking a deity that I don’t believe in to make it stop.  Is the drone drifting towards those power lines?  Why is the drone not responding to controls?  Did this thing watch Mad Max Fury Road as it’s inflight entertainment on it’s journey to me?  Can I purchase mood altering medication for drones?  Has this drone been sent by an ex-girlfriend?  Oh thank god it’s moving away from the power lines.  Why won’t it come down?  Is it actively defying all the laws of aerodynamics?  Am I going to die?  Why didn’t I turn a camera on to film this?   Why am I asking so many questions right now?  Is it coming back down?  It is!  Wait, why is it moving faster and to the left?  Did it just crash land on that commercial building?  It did.  Is the nightmare over?”


The drone crash-landed on top of a building owned by The Ohio State University.  In an attempt to get access to the roof I tried all the doors and called all of the numbers written on the outside of the building to no avail.  In retrospect some of those numbers were addresses, which explains why they did not work.

I eventually realized there were cars parked around the building, so someone had to be inside.  It was then that I did the creepiest thing I have ever done in my life. I located mail on the front seat of someone’s car, looked them up on the internet, and then sent them the following email:

This is going to sound super weird but I lost a helicopter on top of the building you work at and I was wondering if you could let me in to run up to the roof and get it real quick.I know this is strange. I was walking around the building looking for someone and I noticed your name in your car so I looked you up online and I swear I am not a crazy human even though this sounds like it. I’m right outside and my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Sorry this is so weird and crazy.
Sent from my iPhone

Within five minutes the gentlemen that received the e-mail came out to meet me with a look on his face that said, “You shouldn’t have been able to find me.  The marshals said I would be safe.” It turned out that he didn’t have roof access and we parted company.  I like to think that when he tells this story to his future grandchildren they will finally understand why pop pop insists the internet is to be feared and that’s why, “You can’t trust The Google.”
I eventually recovered the drone a few days later when a maintenance worker found it up there and gave it back to me in a plastic bag.  A plastic bag is the traditional way in which you return an item to someone that has smashed itself into a thousand pieces.  A friend of mine is using his 3D printer to make me some replacement parts because as it turns out the company that invented this particular drone has gone bankrupt.  I’ve named the drone “The Littlest Psycho.”  A name I plan to have airbrushed onto her hull with flames and an anarchy symbol to represent how hardcore she is.

That’s the story of how I wasted two-hundred dollars and sort of kind of stalked a PH.D. student.

*Yes I shoot Canon.  Canon is awesome.  Listen Terry.  I don’t care how many times you say, “It’s impossible to get a decent image with anything other than Nikon.”  My pictures of the baby panda are just as good as yours.  Better even because I’m not the jack hole shooting through Lexan.  I walked five feet to the right and didn’t have anything between my glass and Bao Bao.  Did you get a free drink for showing your picture to a waitress at the DC airport?  I didn’t think so.  Now stop picking on the kid trying to take a picture with her iPad.  She just wants to look at the Panda and you are ruining everything!

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