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Home > May 2017 > A Tour Guide’s Sneak Peek into <em>Drones</em>
A Tour Guide’s Sneak Peek into Drones
Posted: 5/2/2017 9:05:01 AM

This month we chatted with Kevin Kochel, one of the Museum’s tour guides, about the upcoming exhibition Drones: Is the Sky the Limit? He gave us a little preview of what’s in store and shared some of his favorite drones.

Q Are there any specific historical connections between the aircraft carrier Intrepid and drones?
A Absolutely! During World War II, the United States used several types of radio-controlled aircraft, called target drones, to train men to use anti-aircraft guns. At one point, Intrepid carried several OQ-2 target drones and used them to help train the ship’s gunners. We have an example of an OQ-2 in the exhibition!

Q Drones have been around for longer than some people may think. What are some of the earliest examples of unmanned aircraft?
A The earliest unmanned aircraft are kites and balloons, which of course have been around for thousands of years. The earliest aircraft that we might recognize today as simple drones appeared in the 1800s. The Austrian army used large balloons to remotely drop bombs in the 1840s, and a similar idea was floated around during the American Civil War in the 1860s but was never put into use. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. Navy used kites equipped with cameras for surveillance. The idea apparently worked very well, but none of the photos taken from these kites survive today.

Q What is one of the most unique drones on display in the exhibition?
A One is the Gyrodyne QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (nicknamed DASH for short). It was designed in the 1960s to fit on smaller ships like destroyers to help them hunt enemy submarines. It could even carry torpedoes. It’s a really cool-looking piece of equipment, almost like a jumbo-sized version of today’s drone quadcopters!

Q In what ways are drones useful to us today?
A Drones are already contributing to everyday life in so many ways. For one thing, they’re revolutionizing photography and film. There has been a huge growth in independent films using drones for aerial shots. The FDNY just started using drones to assess the strength of fires on building tops. In a similar vein, drones are used for search and rescue operations to get to places where first responders can’t reach. And someday drones might even deliver our packages!

Q What do you think the future holds for drone technology?
A Flying drone cars and taxis, exploration of places too inhospitable for humans (both on Earth and other planets!), high-altitude solar-powered drones that can relay telecommunications signals to remote areas. . . . The sky’s the limit!

Join us at the Museum for early access tours of Drones: Is the Sky the Limit? starting
May 20 at 9:00am. Tickets are on sale now. CLICK HERE TO RESERVE ❯



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