Finger Food 22 - Flying by the Seat of My Drone

McKay here!  Long time no talk!   We’ve had some great guest entries in our Finger Food series and I just want to say thank you to all of them for their contributions and wonderful insight on this page.  

And now I have to foul it up with my entry…

Good times…

Anyway, I don’t have anything deep.  Well, maybe.   My wife bought me a drone for Christmas.  It was awesome.  I had always secretly wanted one but never felt worthy.   Like she does, she of course could read my body language and other allusions when talking about them and bought me this little mini drone with an HD Camera call a Hubsan 4X.

Now Of course I pulled out the directions and tried to read them, knowing that most drones are broken on their first day.   But the print was really small and it talked about technical things like Tilt, and Axis and Accelerometers , I just didn’t have the time.  This was a Christmas where all the men had inadvertently gotten a remote controls item.   My son a Cosmo robot that you can teach through the iPad which is awesome.  My Father in law and his brother in law, a remote controlled boat.   They were interested in the drone. 

I don’t know what possessed me to try it in my bed room.   Maybe I felt that since it was so small (literally maybe 4 inches long and wide at most) that it wouldn’t be such a big deal.   I carefully place it on the center of my bed and held the remote, the accelerator being controlled by my left thumb.  

I turn it all on, see the lights blinking on the drone and the remote and then push the accelerator all the way.

And the drone went up, hit the ceiling, bounced a second, and then I panicked and turned off the throttle.   IT fell unceremoniously behind the headboard.  

I of course jumped and inspected it.  The Small plastic propellers were originally pristine but not nicked and a little dented on the ends.   I was nervous because I had heard when there is a discrepancy on the propellers the drones don’t flight correctly.   Additionally, I was only given one extra pair of propellers so I had to be very careful.  

I tried once more putting the ting on the center of the bed and launched it.   This time it went promptly into the bureau mirror, careening back and falling to the ground.   I grabbed it again and saw the additionally dents on the end of the props and decided to give it a moment and rest.  

I quickly replace on propeller and started charging the battery in the kitchen. 

When I knew the battery should have been charged, I tried flying it from the counter, next to the living room where everyone was.   I hit the throttle and one side of the drone just started going into the counter while the other side tried to lift.   I had no idea what was going on!  I gave full power and it still stayed sitting on the counter in this weird tug and pull.  

Finally I gave up and put the drone in the corner.  I was ashamed that I fell into the category of all the other plebes that broke their drones on the first day.    I was sad that I couldn’t enjoy my present.  But I was even sadder that my wife couldn’t see that I was enjoying the present. 

You see, I don’t care how I ultimately feel.   I want to make sure others who do good things for me are satisfied with what they did in pleasing me.    It seems weird, I know.   But to give you an idea, when I was ten, my father gave me an edition of a Calvin and Hobbes book.   One I didn’t think I had.  Which was true.  He even wrote a little foreword for me for my birthday.  I was touched.  He gave me a tussle on the forehead, said “I love you, Happy Birthday” and left.  

It was then that I opened the book and noticed the cartoons seemed familiar.   In fact, they were the same cartoons from the anthology collection I read at my neighbor’s house for the last month.   I didn’t collect those.  I only would get the general editions in the collection.  Not the special grouped together editions that combined the books.  

And I broke down crying.   My Mother couldn’t console me.  There was no way to explain it.   I wasn’t devastated because my father gave me a book that I already read.   I was devastated because I couldn’t enjoy a present for the first time that my father thought he provided.   I didn’t feel bad for myself.   I felt bad for him and was hurt because of it.  

Those similar feelings brushed back into my life as I looked at this limping drone that was supposed to work but couldn’t.

So I put it in the corner for a whole month, choosing to see it now and then but not interact with it.   Sometimes time can give answers.  

So eventually I realized I could watch some YouTube videos and see if others had given instructional demonstrations.   Which of course they did.   And through that, I learned I put the wrong facing propeller on the wrong motor.   I also learned where the led was to see if the battery was full charged which I had no idea.    

And through those I leaned other tips on stability, how long the battery truly lasts, and the durability.  

The next time I took the drone out was Super Bowl Weekend.   Using those instructions pieced together, I was able to finally get the drone in the air.   And learn that putting it in a stable hover is a trick, not an expectation.    This made me feel better.   This made me realize, as I slowly glided the drone across my living room in front of my family, much to the delight and terror of my kids that I just needed to find a better way to learn.  

Maybe one specific way of learning isn’t meant for everyone.   I learn from doing.   I could see the practice and then mimic it.   But I couldn’t take black and white words and then translate them into precise actions.   

Since then, I have bought 20 replacement props, a six set of batteries and multi charger.   Usually in the evening, my house hears the whine of the electric motors in the living room as I perfect the precise landings.    It took me a month to get over the fact that I may have to learn a different way.    A month that I could have used playing with the very toy I love to this day.  

I guess the lesson could be that if you experience failure, maybe it’s not just you.   Maybe it’s the instructions.   Maybe if you find an outside the box solution, you can actually reach your desired goal. 

And not feel the guilt and pain of not enjoying a genuine present someone intended you to experience.