Drones presentation flies into Eastern

Mercury Bowen, Staff Reporter

Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, were the topic of a presentation given by professor Gabriel Grant Tuesday afternoon.

Grant said he thought the presentation was important for people because people need to be informed about new trends.

“Whenever people are doing these new and amazing things with footage that they capture, they go up on a hillside or they go on a mountain, they’re able to take these amazing selfies that are achieved by using drones,” he said. “There needs to be some consideration or thought to ‘OK, well, that’s awesome that you’re able to do this, but how can other people do this, and how can other people do this safely and within the confines of our laws and regulations?'”

The presentation, hosted by the Academy of Lifelong Learning, included many features.

Grant led a discussion about what drones are and how they work.

According to Grant, the current model of drones began around 2010, and the majority of drone use is for photographical purposes.

Most drone models have four propellers that spin in opposite directions to provide lift and stability.

The more advanced models include a gyroscope to maintain balance, as well as GPS tracking equipment.

One fact Grant pointed out was that the camera has become a standard feature of the drone, contrary to initial designs in which the drone was used for primarily recreational purposes.

Some of the more interesting applications Grant brought up for drones included Amazon’s Prime Air service, which utilizes drones to deliver packages, disaster relief mapping, search and rescue operations, and law enforcement.

Grant also discussed some of the regulations for operating a drone commercially, including an age restriction of 16 years and up and the need to obtain a specific license.

At the end of the demonstration, Grant took the attendees outside to see a demonstration of the drone.

Terry Weidner, a former employee at Eastern, said he attended the presentation because he was interested in learning more about drones’ capabilities.

“I don’t know anything about drone,” Weidner said. “It’s time to learn.”

Mary Taber, a member of the ALL, said she really enjoyed the presentation.

“I thought it was a great program,” Taber said. “I probably will not have a drone or get a drone, but I’m just interested. It was a very interesting program, and I thought (Grant) did a great job.”

Taber said her favorite part of the presentation was the demonstration because she got to see a drone in action.

Grant said he thought the presentation went well.

“It was exciting to see people from all different areas or facets,” Grant said.

The demonstration and the research were Grant’s favorite parts of the presentation, he said.

“Just presenting on a topic isn’t enough; there has to be a hands-on aspect of it, and I like to be able to demonstrate the tools that we have at our disposal. Sharing information with other people is something I enjoy doing. I think it’s natural as being a teacher that whenever you tell somebody or show somebody something that they didn’t know before and they have that knowledge that they can now use or apply in some other context, that’s incredibly important and satisfying.”

Grant also showed a video clip of the opening sequence of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in which 1,200 drones were used to create a light sequence.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at

581-2812 or [email protected].