It’s a bird, it’s a plane — or it’s International Drone Day

No 'Attack of the Drones' here, just versatility

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What comes to your mind when you think of drones? Perhaps the military. Maybe you think of drones as being the ultimate gift, thanks to the ruling in summer 2016 which allowed stores to start carrying them for consumers. But the history of drones is much deeper, and the general public perception of drones is not always accurate.

David and Sarah Oneal started International Drone Day on March 14, 2015. The movement spread like wildfire, growing to over 80,000 people worldwide the following year. Events are held in Australia, Africa, Asia, South America and North America. The movement has even lead to the creation of a 35-minute documentary called “Drone Invasion.” The whole point of this movement is to change the perception of drones in the public eye through education and to celebrate by flying them.

International Drone Day promotes a positive message that drones are useful, while changing the public perception of negativity towards drones.

Many people think of drones as being invasive, scary and just plain mysterious. However, drones are being used for so much good. The main message the Oneal’s and other drone-users want to convey is that drones are safe and have real-world application, from marketing purposes to saving lives. Search and rescue teams use drones to help locate missing people.

“Drones have positive applications in five areas: agriculture, business, education, industry and public safety,” said Steve Napier, a Columbia resident who partnered with Columbia Central High School to bring International Drone Day to the Tennessee Valley. 

Napier discovered the field of drones through real estate work, adapting drone technology for marketing purposes. He even has a remote pilot license to fly drones. He’s now on a mission to raise awareness of drones and promote their positive image in middle Tennessee, north Alabama and surrounding areas, beginning with this first event.

The fourth year of International Drone Day will occur on Saturday, May 5. This year, you can experience it much closer to home at in Columbia, Tennessee, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the high school’s gymnasium located at 921 Lion Parkway.

This event marks the first International Drone Day event in middle Tennessee. The partnership with Central High allows students of all ages to learn more about drones and understand their roles in the local community. There will be flying indoors and outdoors, weather permitting, and there may even be hands-on internal flights.

Saturday’s event is free and open to the whole family. The day will feature 12-15 representatives from various schools, ranging from the high school, community college and university levels, along with local law enforcement.  

For more information, be sure to check out the International Drone Day website