A Christmas UAV Story

By Patrick C. Miller | December 22, 2014

This time of year, I engage in the family tradition of watching the movie “A Christmas Story” in which Ralphie pursues his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. After he tells a department store Santa what he wants for Christmas, Santa responds, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

It’s the last thing Ralphie wants to hear, but it’s what everyone tells him.

Small unmanned aerial systems (or drones as they’re more popularly known) have become the new Red Ryder BB guns. They’re cool. They’re fun. And like Ralphie daydreaming about the adventures he’ll have after he gets his new BB gun, it’s easy to imagine all sorts of things to do with a drone.

But seemingly everywhere you look, there’s a Grinch warning “You’ll crash an airliner, kid,” or a Scrooge declaring “Bah humbug!” to whatever wonderful plan you’ve devised to put your UAV to constructive use.

Here’s the important lesson from “A Christmas Story:” Ralphie almost did shoot his eye out. He got what he wanted, but nearly discovered the hard way that the safety concerns about which others had warned were indeed real.

So if you’re one of those fortunate enough to receive a drone as Christmas gift, please do yourself a favor and check out the “Know Before You Fly” website. Keeping yourself out of trouble and others safe is surprisingly easy. Just know the rules of the sky before you fly.