Here come the drones, Fly Day is a success – The Tribune

The Community Fly Day was what I would call a qualified success. Since the Tri-State Pilots Association pilots contributed their time, airplanes and fuel, there was a sum of $634.30 to buy gas and maintenance parts for the equipment.
The guys flew 19 adults and 15 children. There were other competing events like the Marshall football game and other festivities. The pilots didn’t seem to be discouraged and I feel sure they will have another Community Fly Day in the spring or early summer in 2020.
So, stay tuned and remember to fly with us in 2020 to help support the Lawrence Country Airport that passed its 90th birthday on Labor Day in September this year.
Do you think there is a drone in your future? I am not talking about the do nothing honey bee drones whose only job is to take care of the queen bee and make sure there are more worker bees born.
I am not referring the drones that are used for military surveillance and taking out enemy installations and personnel or those that show aerial views on TV.
There are currently commercial ventures in two countries in Australia and Europe that are actually delivering items to homes. There is an article in the current issue of Sport Aviation, a publication of the Experimental Aircraft Association, about the current progress of drone delivery of items to homes and businesses.
The company, called Wing, which is affiliated with Google, has received the FAA certification to operate in the United States’ air space.
The company plans to start delivering packages of up to 11 pounds this year in Virginia. They have already made over 75,000 test flights, in addition to the commercial work in Europe and Australia.
The Wing’s drone is more like an airplane than the toy drones that are all over. It has wings and 14 electric motor-driven propellers in the twin fuselages and wings. It uses 12 of these motors to lift off, hover and land and two of the motors in the wings are used to provide forward motion. It hovers over the delivery point and lowers the package by means of a tether or rope to the driveway or yard. Just think, in the future you can order your pizza and have it delivered to the driveway and you won’t have to be concerned about tipping the delivery person. Of course, there will probably be a drone delivery surcharge.
One aspect that I had not thought about is the reduction of pollution. With the electric motors, there is less carbon dioxide and other pollutants that come from cars and trucks. Of course, this will put a lot of people out of work delivering pizza and medicines, etc. It will be a boon for old people who are no longer able to drive.
I expect the delivered weights to go up in the future making it possible to deliver groceries and other heavier articles.
Look out, UPS!

Don Lee, a pilot flying out of Lawrence County Airport since 1970, has been in charge of equipment and grounds maintenance for the last several years. He can be reached at

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