Experimental Aircraft Association Jack Pelton underscored the importance of drones to EAA by involving one in the show’s opening celebration. The drone was supposed to deliver the scissors to him for the ribbon snip, but stiff winds relegated it to the role of camera-ship observer instead.
Many schools with aviation and aerospace courses are including drone degrees in their curricula. Among them, Embry-Riddle, which advertised its commitment on the side of a truck.
EAA’s Innovation Center housed numerous drone manufacturers and retailers, who took advantage of the Drone Cage to demonstrate their unmanned vehicles in safety. The Cage also enabled drone-handling fly-off competitions to be held throughout the show.
The Drone Cage allowed plenty of room to maneuver.
It also served its purpose in preventing drones from endangering the surrounding show site. Here one crashes harmlessly into the retraining net.
Guangzhou, China-based Ehang was founded 15 months ago to manufacture and sell the 14-inch diameter Ghost quadcopter. It is now developing the U.S. market for its camera-carrying drone under the leadership of General Manager USA Gary Wang, taking particular aim at consumers who will be able to operate it easily from their smartphone.
China’s Yuneec has exhibited at Oshkosh over the last several years, first with electric-powered aircraft, electric ultralights, and now with drones. Sales managers Craig Glover (left) and Franscisco Oaxaca say the company has sold “thousands and thousands” to hobbyists and photo enthusiasts/small businesses. Its most popular model is the Typhoon Q500, which retails for $1,250.
The city of Shenzhen in China is known as the world’s manufacturing center for cell phones. Next it will drones, says Nicky Wan, sales manager of Shenzhen Jiuxing Tianli Technology Co., as the two industries share microchip and communications technology. Here she shows Oshkosh visitors the company’s latest models.
Michigan-based Charles Yang, sales specialist at RC toy specialist Coolheli.com, brought a wide range of drones to Oshkosh, including this camera-toting quadcopter that retails for less than $90.
Price is certainly not a barrier to entry-level drones—far less than learning to fly!
We’re going to see a lot more of them in the hands of consumers and hobbyists.
John has led Aviation Week's ShowNews, the best-read daily news magazine of aerospace trade shows, for nearly two decades. His background in business journalism before joining Aviation Week includes stints at Reuters, the American Banker daily banking newspaper and as business news editor at the Milwaukee Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer.