LEWISTON — Piloting a drone has allowed Peter Bakker to see like a bird and landed him in a few sticky situations.His DJI Phantom 4 flying camera was hovering over the Lewiston Orchards recently when a man approached, beer in hand and gun on his hip.
Bakker recalls the man asking what would happen if he shot that drone spying on his backyard out of the sky?
First, since the Federal Aviation Administration classifies drones as aircraft it would be a felony if someone tried to
destroy one, Bakker explained. Second, I wasn’t looking at your yard but the sunset, he said, passing the monitor to the man who went from confrontational to fascinated.
As technology evolves, robotic aircraft are becoming more common. Drones sparked Bakker’s interest in 2014. Since then the 22-year-old Clarkston man and Lewis-Clark State College student has captured video and photos of landscapes around the West.
“For me it’s super intuitive, like a video game,” he said of the ease of use. “I think anyone could fly it.”
His drone has a high-performance camera and features like auto takeoff and landing, obstacle avoidance and visual tracking. No
fly zones are programed in. Buyers are given information about how to legally fly drones when they purchase one, he said.
Camera drones range in price from $300 into the thousands. There are also toy drones and racing drones. ESPN added drone racing as an official sport last month, further cementing the presence of drones in the skies.