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How can a person instantly change their perspective? Get yourself a drone. I have a good friend who recently purchased a capable drone that he uses professionally. Part of his work requires him to get on a ladder to look at roofing. Any time you access a roof there is a certain amount of risk involved. Any idea how much roofers have to pay for insurance? That facet of the business alone tells you how much risk of injury it involves. If a professional can get a detailed look at the condition of a roof without climbing a ladder, then a drone makes perfect sense.

I got an eye-opening demonstration of my friend’s drone recently. We stood on a second-story deck while he flew his drone all around us while he maneuvered it by looking at real-time video from the drone on his cell phone. Because his drone is for professional use, the quality of the video and still images it produces is high resolution, rivaling the quality I get with my Nikon digital single lens reflex camera.

Part of this impromptu demonstration included an exercise where my friend flew his drone directly at his house. The built-in sensors detected the building and automatically kept the drone from crashing into it. Another great feature is the drone’s ability to follow you by the signal from your cell phone. Maybe you’ve seen drone footage of a skier flying downhill while the drone films from above, following in sync. That view is quite dramatic. This particular drone also flies using GPS, making it extremely useful for finding and marking the location of people or objects that are inaccessible. A skilled operator can use a drone to gain access to places and objects from a different perspective. I can think of half a dozen uses for a drone just off the top of my head.

Drones are used to deliver medications to victims in a disaster zone. A drone with infrared capabilities can find persons lost in remote areas. Drones are useful for mapping, real estate photography, insurance assessments of property and damage, bird control and agriculture. It’s a long list.

The downside to all of this amazing technology is operator misuse. The thought of a high-tech drone in the hands of a peeping Tom is disturbing. Last summer I read the account of a local woman whose privacy was violated by a neighbor’s drone while she relaxed in her outdoor hot tub. The questions concerning that incident are many. Which neighbor was it? Was the operator recording video at the time? What are an individual’s rights in such a scenario? Is it legal to take out a drone with your home-protection shotgun?

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed rules and restrictions for drone use. These rules are available in a document known as Part 107 which is 624 pages long. Part 107 includes information about how to get certified to fly a drone, where you can get into trouble flying a drone, which aircraft are allowed, and what an airspace authorization is. The 624 pages of the dos and dont’s is a lot, and there are sites on the internet that break down all of the information into organized subjects and easier-to-understand language.

Yes, you can easily change your perspective with a drone, but they aren’t toys. They can interfere with air traffic and create real airborne hazard situations, but they are cool.

“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.