Until just over a century ago, when the Wright brothers invented the first successful airplane, the sky was still an uncharted territory. Since that momentous event that allowed humanity to conquer the skies, many other inventions have followed that have either focused on improving the airplane design or given birth to a new type of flying machine.
The helicopter was invented about 30 years after the first airplane’s invention. Since then, the developments of vehicles and machines of flight have progressed at an astonishing rate. Now, it’s not just birds that travel the skies but also airplanes, helicopters, and most recently, drones.
Drones share the same invention history as their piloted counterparts, despite having become known to the public only fairly recently. Surprisingly, the interest in drones has grown steadily. Here, we will share four interesting facts about drones that you should know to appreciate these flying wonders.
Drones Were Primarily Invented for Military Use
The concept of using pilotless aircraft for military purposes had first been thought about and experimented with long before the invention of the first fixed-wing drone prototypes in 1917. As a precursor, as early as in 1839, unmanned balloons stuffed with explosives were used in Europe as tools of war.
In 1907, French inventors Jacques and Louis Bréguet designed the first quadcopter configuration that has now been adopted for modern drones. It was during World War II that the drone came into military action. Since then, drones have been used in a number of other military operations.
Drones for Civilian Use Flourished Decades Ago
The civilian use of drones came about in the 1960s, by which time RC (radio control) technology has tremendously improved. RC planes were considered the first civilian-use drones during this time.
Fast forward to the current year, where the quadcopter drones have become popular among drone hobbyists and enthusiasts, with DJI currently among the top drone manufacturers. Hobbyists using DJI drones purchase their DJI accessories from Drone Accessories Australia or other DJI accessory shops in their respective countries. Surprisingly, DJI is a Chinese manufacturing company of drones, even though drones were first conceived and invented in Europe and the USA. Nevertheless, this has helped spread the interest in drone technology for civilian use, which both professionals and hobbyists worldwide are enjoying now for a variety of uses.
Drones Are Prohibited from US National Parks
There are several restrictions placed on the use of drones in the United States, and one of them is the prohibition of the use of drones in national parks. This ban by the National Park Service came into effect in 2015 due to growing concerns about safety and noise. This ban has strict enforcement, and park rangers can taser you if you violate this ban.
On the other hand, drone flying is generally allowed in public parks and state parks in the United States. However, each state and locality is free to set its own rules in this regard. Because of this, drone owners should always check what regulations apply in the specific area where they are planning to fly their drone, since the laws can vary from one place to the next.
The USA Has the Highest Number of Drone Users
Over 200,000 Americans had registered their drones with the Federal Aviation Administration of America (FAA) in 2017, and this number has grown exponentially over the years. It might not even be the number of actual drone owners, as stores report drone sales of more than twice this number in that same year. It means that there are still many unregistered drones in the USA. The FAA is strict about this requirement, and failing to register your drone can lead to a hefty fine.
There has also been a rise in commercial drone registrations with the FAA, which started with around 1000 permits issued in 2015. Since then, this number has grown exponentially due to the increasing potential applications of drones. Drones are used by civilians in aerial photography and videography, agriculture, mapping and surveying, filmography, and other industries.
The history and facts about drones are indeed fascinating. We can say that the full potential of drones as unmanned flying machines is yet to be uncovered.
Since they were first used for military purposes decades ago, they have now come into the mainstream. The number of commercial and civilian-use drones in the market has increased remarkably over the years. And as the research continues and the underpinning technologies improve, drone manufacturers are regularly releasing more advanced models and upgrades.
Drones are getting progressively smaller, more precise, and more silent, with longer battery lives, better cameras, and so on. It’s now possible to travel the world with a compact drone, capturing the beauty of the planet from above along the way.
This means that there are still unexplored possibilities and applications for drones in the future. With this, the future of drones is full of promise and excitement, and we look forward to witnessing these developments!