Dear Fellow Survivalist;
I’ve watched the drone craze ever since it started. While I always thought that they were cool, I never really could justify the expense of buying one. I wanted one, but there are a lot of things that I’ve wanted at one time or another. But wanting it and deciding it was a good use of my family’s money aren’t always the same thing.
Fortunately for me, my wife solved that problem, buying me a drone for Christmas. In my mind, presents don’t have to be useful and the best presents usually aren’t. so a drone qualifies as a good present, even if we can’t find a true use for one. But we can…
Like a lot of technology, drones started out as a military project. As early as the Vietnam War, the Air Force was using pre-programmable unmanned aircraft to take pictures of sensitive enemy installations, especially in areas where it would have been risky to send manned aircraft to get the pictures. While those drones looked nothing like today’s, they were small, agile and fearless; flying right into the face of enemy anti-aircraft fire to get their pictures.
Military drone technology has come a long way since then. Today’s drones have much more sensitive cameras and sensors than those early drones did. They are remote-controlled, allowing their pilots to operate them from literally anywhere in the world. Some even have weapons on-board, allowing them to attack targets, without putting the human crew at danger.
But surveillance has always been the prime purpose of drones and I imagine it always will be. Even in science fiction movies we find them used this way, and it is an important way.
As I’ve sat in my office, I’ve wondered about using a drone for the same purpose… surveillance. Specifically, I’ve wondered about using it as a means of seeing what is happening around my home, especially in a post-disaster situation, where there might be a breakdown of law and order. While I have yet to test my drone in such a situation, I have had two situations which gave me the opportunity to test how it would do in such a situation.
The first was when some youth were about to set fire to the field behind my home. I have a six foot tall cement wall for a back fence. So it’s a bit hard to see what is happening back there. But I heard some noise back there and was curious, thinking that some kids were having a party. So I sent my drone to shoot some video and make sure everything was okay.
What my drone saw and transmitted to me was footage of some kids back there, but the “party” they were about to have was to light a bonfire in the midst of a dry field of grass. The bonfire was situated in a place where it probably would have caught a tree on fire; one that overhangs my property. Armed with this information, I was able to put a stop to their antics protecting my property and that of my neighbors.
The second time I was able to use my drone defensively was in a situation where I thought I heard some shooting down the street. Being me, I couldn’t just let that be. But my wife didn’t want me to take the risk of going down there in person. Sometimes, she can be smarter about things like that than I can.
So I sent my drone instead. It turned out that there was a situation where a divorced man was trying to get into his former wife’s home. While I didn’t know that at the time, I saw an armed man yelling at the house and waving a gun around. That was enough for me to call the police. Not only that, but I was able to give them an accurate description of what was going on, so that the arriving officers weren’t going in totally blind.
Granted, there were ways I could have handled both of these situations, without having to use a drone. But in both cases, having the drone made it safer and easier to intervene in the situation. To me at least, it was enough to prove the utility of a drone in a defensive capacity.
However, drones are not without their limitations. My drone, like most, is really a toy. It’s not a professional one, designed for aerial photography. That means it is limited to about 300 feet of range and 10 minutes of flight time. So, while it was useful the two times I did use it, it would not have been enough for use in extended surveillance. For full-blown defensive use, I would need one with greater range and longer battery life; one of the professional ones. Those are more expensive.
Even so, as far as I’m concerned, my drone, like my guns, is a permanent part of my home’s defenses. So I keep the batteries charged, just like I keep my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand.
Chris and Dr. Rich