This past weekend, I made a trip to the U of I Armory to check out the Hobbico E-Fest after I was tipped off the night before about the event. I’m glad I went — as it was quite the event, and entry was only $5. There were plenty of aircrafts flying about, plus a grandstand, food, and all sorts of vendors.


I spoke with Bob Brown, the President of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) about drones, legislation, and safe flying. “The people flying here today are a good example of how flying one of these things can be done safely” Brown said. The middle of the Armory was cleared out — and there were about 10-15 aircrafts flying simultaneously.

"People who fly these things above Manhattan — over people and around people's homes — haven't been educated on the proper way to use these devices." Brown said as he handed me a pamphlet with guidelines on flight. "We've partnered with companies like Hobbico, who make these devices, and they are going to put this pamphlet in every aircraft that they sell. We hope this will educate people on safe flying."

Personally, I have experience with a drone. About a year ago, I decided to buy one. The experience I had purchasing one was very rushed, and there was not much discussion about responsible flying in the process. Putting a pamphlet in the boxes would be a great start, and after checking this fest out, it was apparent that a goal was to support safe flight practices with drones. 

The fest was fun, and I can’t believe I hadn’t been to something like this before. The planes flew with grace and pulled off tricks, too. There was plenty of technology on display as well. For example, this plane flew with a tiny camera attached to it, which transmitted the signal back to a set of glasses (shown below).

What do you think of drones? How do we promote safety? Where you at the E-Fest? What did you think? Isn't that tiny camera cool?!