Drones becoming popular hobby

Nov 19, 2014 8:16 PM by Jason Atcho

In the past year or so, the interest in drones has grown significantly. Hobby shops across the country are seeing a trend with people switching from remote controlled cars and buggies to their airborne counterparts. "Just within the past year, we've seen an increase in that so it's kind of unbalanced and now there's more and more customers every day wanting to know and learn about multirotor and quad copters and things like that," said Travis Kaneshiro, Manager of A Main Hobbies in Chico.

Since they're relatively new, many people are still uncomfortable with the devices. "They're not the military drones that people see on TV shows that're going to come down and drop a bomb on you. It's really kind of a camera. It's a hobby. Something that you enjoy and take pictures of things that you normally would not be able to take pictures of," said Norman Whitehurst, a drone hobbyist from Chico.

He says it's a hobby he enjoys taking on the road. "When you go on a trip and you travel someplace, you see these scenic overviews and it would really be great if you could get out and look back in using your drone," said Whitehurst.

There are many different kinds ranging from small ones for beginners to ones that are high tech. "The newest one I have is by GPS. So basically that goes up and stays and you use satellite positions," said Whitehurst.

Besides aerial photography, these drones can serve many other purposes. "People use them for search and rescue, movie footage, agriculture. So there's a lot of different uses for them," said Kaneshiro.

With the government deciding earlier this week that the FAA has the authority to punish those who operate drones recklessly, you do need to be cautious of when and where you use them. "Use common sense. Respect other people's property. That's what will keep you out of trouble," explained Whitehurst.

If you're interested in drones and would like more information, A Main Hobbies in Chico will be holding a free flight program on Wednesday December 3rd from 5:30-6:30PM. To sign up, call 530-636-4082.


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