High-low there one and all! Lord Horatio once again at your service. As winter turns slowly to spring the birds have seemed much more animated during the daily stroll I take round the grounds with Whimsy my four legged bundle of boundless energy.
In fact, at full gallop with his ears flapping up and down he looks ready to take to the air and join them. On occasions when his lead is at full stretch I too am almost lifted off my feet. Indeed, the idea of dog powered flight set me thinking about the whole concept of personal aviation.
Repairing to the Dawdle Hall Snug my research, over a glass of home made rocket fuel, quickly turned up the extraordinary advances being made in drone power. Forget bees, that mournful sound from a set of bagpipes or indeed those fragile looking mini helicopter thingees that were all the rage at Christmas.
We are talking here about flying machines capable of taking you and me down the pub! Apparently there is a company in China that has built a drone “taxi” big enough to take the weight of a man or woman and ferry them at up to 100 miles an hour anywhere they want to go within a 30 mile radius. From July they are due to become a familiar sight in the skies above Dubai.
You just climb aboard, strap yourself in, pick a destination from the touch screen and, hey presto, the remote controllers do the rest. The Chinese are not alone either. A firm in Israel has also come up with something called the Cormorant. Although it is technically a rescue drone for use by the military, it could be adapted for civilian use
There are also plans from Airbus for a driverless car that parks up, is picked up by a drone ‘roof rack’ and flies you round.
Yes, remote control is all the rage! As well as people we will soon be awaiting the arrival of our parcels. This summer Amazon intends to launch Prime Air. Once ordered on the internet, your wotsits could well be winging their way across the rooftops powered by mini rotors. Vital medicines are already being delivered to remote parts of the world by pilotless planes and bee sized craft will soon be pollinating plants for growers.
Sadly my own attempts to create my own personal drone ended in abject failure. Fired with enthusiasm I commandeered a pair of roller skates from an old chest in the attic. Then, with the aid of two broom handles and a large tarpaulin strapped across my back I pointed Whimsy downhill. Taking firm hold of his lead I shouted “chocks away!”
The next few seconds were, to be honest, a bit of a blur. Suffice it to say, instead of the local pub car park my maiden flight touched down in the lake, scattering distressed wild fowl in all directions. With his leash caught round my wrist Whimsy power too proved to be more of a handicap than a help. Not only did he love the idea of a refreshing dip, he proceeded to tow me round in ever decreasing circles.
Coughing and spluttering I was eventually fished out by Burns the gamekeeper, who had a good laugh from the safety of the bank, before rowing out to the rescue. With my inner man revived by a few hot toddies I was ready to accept that this personal aviation malarkey is strictly for the birds!
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