Children’s toys vanishing into the air across the country

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HOUSTON — Children and grownups alike are watching their holiday gifts simply disappear into the air and all they can do is watch.

If any of you are like me and you follow a community Facebook group I am sure you have seen posts like these:

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If your child, or maybe you, have suffered this fate you are not alone.

Earlier this year I too joined the masses and bought a small affordable drone. Never having flown one, I ventured out into an open field with trees off in the distance. Suddenly a wind much stronger than my small drone popped up and away it went while I helplessly watched. The flight was one of beauty as it lifted higher and higher out of my control. I watched as the small blinking lights continued to flicker, letting me know it was still on even though I had given up the controls. Luckily, mine decided it would make a safe landing in a tree not too far off in the distance.

Much to the detriment of my pride, I called my wife and asked her to bring me the pool skimmer so I could attempt to retrieve my prized toy. She brought the skimmer, and along with it, the dreaded look that said, “why do grown men still think they need to play with toys?” The pool skimmer was my hero that day, successfully reaching the height of the tree and allowing me to slowly lower my drone down.

I have heard similar stories and watched similar videos. In all situations, I felt empathy for the person that also must have watched as their drone left them Earth bound as it floated away.

[Here’s a “drone’s eye view” of my friend’s device getting stuck in a tree. Start watching at the 1-minute mark]

How can we keep countless children and adults from suffering this same fate? We can’t. But I can offer some suggestions:

  1. If it is windy, do not fly a drone.
  2. If your drone is small, practice flying indoors if you have the space or in a covered area.
  3. Fly in a very open area. At least avoid areas with very large trees and fenced backyards.
  4. Write your name, phone number and email on the drone in case someone finds it for you
  5. Purchase a lightweight tracker that you can put on your drone. You decide which one is right for you
    1. TrackR https://www.thetrackr.com
    2. Tile https://www.thetileapp.com

 

Whatever you decide, remember most of these are only toys. Have fun with them and try not to spend too much money on your first one. Most importantly, be prepared emotionally to look into your child’s eyes when theirs disappears into the distance or you have to call your significant other for help.