For the past month, I have been obsessing about owning a drone. The appeal of drone ownership is tied to flying and photography. Through my vast research on YouTube, I have seen some awesome videos made with drones. I have always had a passion for flying, piloting a drone can help scratch this lifelong itch.

As usual, I went overboard in researching a high tech gadget of interest. Without ever flying a drone, I convinced myself I needed a $500 drone that shoots 4k video. As Father’s Day approached, my family was observing my over-the-top obsession with drones. My wise son decided to get me an entry-level drone to see how I liked it.

I was excited to open the box and start my adventure flying drones. I remember telling my family that I would read the user’s manual from cover to cover before flying. I planned to start slowly using a conservative strategy to learn how to fly. The last thing I wanted to do was wreck my new drone.

After extensive preparation, I was ready to fly. My first few flights went well. After some time in the pilot’s seat, so to speak, I gained confidence and began to think, “I got this.” As with any new endeavor, this initial feeling of confidence usually leads to a setback. My overconfidence let me fly the drone along the shore of the lake. All of a sudden, the wind came up and blew my drone out over the water. I calmly tried to fly back over land. At this point, I learned about the importance of drone battery life awareness and the impact of wind. My controller started beeping, indicating the battery was low. The drone stopped responding and crashed into the lake next to my neighbor’s dock.

At this point, I have possessed the drone for about 2 hours and successfully sent it to the bottom of a lake. The tiny shred of good news was, the water was only 6 feet deep. I immediately took the bold action of dropping the controller, my phone, and removing my shoes to make a sprint for the lake. The drone sank quickly, and I began feeling along the bottom in a desperate attempt to locate my Father’s Day gift. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my wife and son were watching me flail around in the lake. I am not sure what they were thinking while witnessing this chaos, but it probably was not what an awesome guy I am.

While searching for the sunken drone, all I could think about was how I would face my family after such a ridiculous incident. By some miracle, my foot touched something at the bottom of the lake. I joyously pulled up my drone. My expectation was, the drone will be ruined after sitting at the bottom of the lake. To my surprise, the device was still powered-up and looked to be in great shape. I let the drone dry out for a day, and it was no worse for wear.

I now fly my drone in an empty field far away from the lake. I am getting better at controlling my aircraft but still have much to learn. The lesson for me here was how easy it was to become overconfident. Even with sound knowledge regarding the pitfalls of overconfidence, I did it anyway. After all, I am an aviation enthusiast; I used to have a pilot’s license. Flying a drone will be easy for someone with my experience. I was dead wrong; my overconfidence almost caused me to lose my drone.

When learning something new, don’t be like me and take shortcuts. Don’t assume your previous experience is relevant to the new activity. Enjoy the process of learning; don’t drown your drone.  

Make the most of this day!