Drone Pilot SchoolIn desperate need of ice cream – Red Deer Advocate

August 21, 2021by helo-10

Just how bad is your craving for ice cream? Do you ABSOLUTELY have to have some crème du ice, like, RIGHT NOW? Just what lengths would you go to in order to snag an ice cream cake when you REALLY REALLY need an ice cream cake?

Would you, say, hop into your personal helicopter and roar over to a Dairy Queen and land in the parking lot and run in to pick up a nice black-forest ice cream cake? Well, if you had a personal helicopter you might consider it, but then again, you might be a little more, shall we say, responsible when it comes to rules of aviation, safe operation of a flying vehicle and the obvious lack of helicopter landing pads at Dairy Queens.

And some might not. As reported recently right here in your mighty newspaper, at 5:00 pm on Saturday, July 31st at the thriving Saskatchewan town of Tisdale (population 3,100 souls) a fellow in a bright red helicopter did just that. He landed his helicopter at the Dairy Queen, strolled in, purchased an ice cream cake, strolled back out, lifted off and went whoppa, whoppa, whoppa off into the sunset.

The customer’s unusual arrival and subsequent departure was full of sound and fury, signifying stupidity, and the local RCMP were not impressed. They said he “blew up dust and debris in an area that includes a school and an aquatic centre” and the landing was “not an emergency” and was, in fact, “illegal”. You think? The 34-year-old licensed pilot from Leroy, Sask. (population 450 souls) will appear in court in September on charges of dangerous operation of an aircraft. Also, grievous endangerment due to excessive craving of ice cream, which is an indictable offense.

This got me to thinking about helicopters. When I was a kid, I figured I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. I thought it would be really cool zooming around in the sky like James Bond in “You Only Live Twice”, and also dropping into a Dairy Queen for ice cream any time I wanted. And then, much later, I actually got to ride my first ride in an egg-beater. I realized right off the bat that the guy simultaneously pushing a bunch of foot pedals and swiveling the stick with one hand and adjusting fifteen other controls with the other hand was kind of totally responsible for whether his passengers were going to live or die that day, and the shine sort of came off the lofty notion of being any kind of pilot whatsoever.

But I certainly enjoy being a trusting passenger in a chopper. The best times were when I was filming from a helicopter. They took the side doors off and I got to sit on the edge facing outwards, feet on the landing skids. Surprisingly, I felt happier there than strapped into a somewhat claustrophobic back seat on account of I was harnessed securely into the open door 1000 meters above the ground in the fresh air.

And another time, a friend was taking us for a nice sightseeing flight in his small airplane and he opened the hanger and showed us his tiny, two-person, home-built helicopter. “A fixed wind aircraft is designed to want to fly, this thing wants to kill me every time I lift off,” he said with a sardonic chuckle.

So now I’ve found a different way to fulfill my childhood dream. I have my own helicopter. It’s about the size of a dinner plate and hardly anybody can get hurt when I fly it. It’s called a drone, and I just betcha that thing can lift an ice cream cake.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea to [email protected]

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.


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