“The average person would be surprised to learn the depth and the breadth of the use of drone technology. Most people think a drone is just a toy you get for Christmas, but actually it’s used by the military, animal conservation, real estate, the movie industry, you name it,” says Ben Theune of Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.
“Drones: Is The Sky the Limit?” reveals how 75 years of technology has turned simple remote-controlled airplanes into the highly specialized aircraft being used throughout the world today. The exhibit at the Wings Museum in Lowry runs through Sunday, May 3. Guests take a self-paced tour showing the history of drones, current uses, and glimpses of where drone technology can take us in the future.
“…Drone technology is not this obsolete or far fetched proposition…and everybody can get involved,” says Theune. Drones are being used every day in ways that improve our lives. Firefighters use them to fight fires more effectively and save more lives. Animal conservation groups use drones to keep accurate counts of endangered species and watch for poachers. And drones are used to deliver medical equipment and supplies to remote communities. But the magnitude of drone use—from hobbyists to use by the military, film makers and real estate agents—has opened up serious questions of airspace ethics and privacy. “The drone industry has grown so quickly that it has been difficult for the FAA to keep up with that . . . literally, it changes every single month. It’s changing all the time,” says Theune.
How drones will affect the future remains unclear. Pilotless Vertical Takeoff and Landing vehicles (VTLs) could make flying cars a reality in the future. “…One day, somebody on the top of their building in New York City could call up an Uber and this pilotless VTL aircraft comes and takes them to their destination.” But development of an air traffic control system that can manage pilotless vehicles will need to go hand in hand with the development of the VTLs. The current air traffic control system can’t be scaled for that task.
For more information call 303.360.5360 or visit the museum’s website at wingsmuseum.org. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum is located at 7711 East Academy Boulevard. The Drones exhibit is included with museum admission.