Sunday morning the newspaper had a story on miniature predator drones for sale as toys, and my first reaction was, Id love to have one of those.
It was just coincidental that I had been to the mall the day before and was admiring some remote control helicopters on sale at one of those booths people set up in the middle of the aisle. But I didnt get one because my life has other priorities and I knew Id be lousy at working the remote controls and would soon crash the helicopter if I owned one.
Ive been fascinated with model airplanes – the kind that fly – since I was a kid, and I knew a few people who flew them, but Id never flown one or owned one. The hobby, which back then involved building your own plane from scratch, was way too tedious for me.
Now heres this story about these inexpensive little drones, and Im surprised to see that they are attracting the attention of people who dont like them. They want the company to quit making them.
As I read the article, though, it became clear to me that I really wouldnt want one of these at all. They are just a few inches long and made of die-cast metal. They come with stands so you could put them on a shelf and look at them. They dont fly, at least not any better than your typical rock.
The California company that makes them, called Maisto, makes a few remote-control cars and, it appears, thousands of different varieties and sizes of die-cast cars, trucks, hot rods, and historic aircraft that are sold in shops all over.
A lot of people are into models like that, but Im not.
Thats when I realized how absurd the people who were protesting the companys drone models are, the ones who had started and were signing a petition on the Internet. They are what I regard as nut cases, and sometimes I wonder why the media even pay attention to them.
The online petition was pushing for a drone-free world, saying we should all ponder what its like to be attacked by a drone, and demanding that Maisto stop making the tiny metal models.
I wonder why there is no protest that the company is also making die-cast models of the B-17, the B-24, the Hurricane, the P-51, the F-15 and the F-18, Hummers, Apache helicopters, tanks and all sorts of other machines used to kill millions of people in past wars.
Ive concluded its because they are crackpots, and Im glad the Maisto hasnt bothered to comment or respond and I hope they have great success selling their little die-cast planes.
I wont be buying one though because if Im going to get a drone it will be one that flies. Certainly, I thought, someone must make drones that fly, drones that someone like me could own.
Indeed someone does – a lot of people do. For not a lot more than the die-cast version, you can actually buy a flying, remote-control model drone. If youve got the money you can get larger drones that have extended flying times, and for an extra $99 you can even get a camera to mount on the airplane so you can survey the countryside remotely.
I wont buy one, though. Its not on my list of priorities and Id probably not be able to figure out the remote controls and would crash the plane.