Diatribe: Beer Delivery By Drone.
One of the funniest stories that I’ve heard in a long time was about an eagle that was hanging out by the lake behind my mother’s house in Florida. My mother enjoys spending time in the screened-in “cage” area that surrounds her pool and had noticed the bird in the area for a while. Knowing that the small lake had a reputation for being the home to some unusually large fish, she figured the bird might be looking for a meal. It turned out that she was right. Eventually, the big bird caught a fish and dropped it on top of my mother’s “cage” where it proceeded to peck at the fish and the screen until pieces of largemouth bass could be found falling into her swimming pool.
It never occurs to me that we should be on the lookout for things that fall from the sky.
Much to the chagrin of Minnesota ice fishermen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently decided to prohibit beer delivery by drone. Lakemaid Beer had been testing a new drone delivery system to airlift cases of beer to fishermen holed up in ice shacks on Mille Lacs Lake. After seeing a YouTube video featuring a drone on a test run, the FAA contacted the brewery and told them to stop.
In the U.S., it’s against the law to fly drones for commercial purposes or above four hundred feet. While the FAA is working on rules and legislation that could lead to commercial drone flight, legislation won’t be ready for some time. Many, however, seem to think that this beer-grounding incident might be enough to turn Americans “pro-drone”. The White House has been petitioned asking that Lakemaid be issued an airworthiness certificate. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has expressed his support of aerial beer delivery on Twitter.
The announcing of plans to delivery items by drone has been a popular publicity stunt as of late with Amazon and Dominos Pizza getting in on the unmanned delivery action. Not surprisingly, the FAA has asked many other companies and organizations to ground their drones in the past year alone.
At this point, and in light of my mother’s fish-dropping-bird experience, I am not in support of delivery-by-drone commerce. I can only imagine the things that will be falling from the sky when untrained workers start loading up packages onto unmanned helicopters and sending them on their way. At least when the eagle dropped the fish on my mother’s “cage” it made an attempt to clean it up. If a drone drops a pizza on the roof of your house it’s doubtful that it will be removed.
As for the ice fishermen on Mille Lacs Lake … they should pack a cooler like fishermen have been doing for generations. It’s not against the law.
What do you think of beer delivery by drone?
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