The Making Of A Drone Fest

May 13, 2017
The Making Of A Drone Fest

The organizers behind a Midwestern drone festival today took to heart the adage about making lemonade when life hands you lemons. The event came together after an illegal drone flight led to a partnership between the pilot and the park ranger who busted him.

The pilot was Aaron Begle of Hele Productions, and he made the mistake of flying at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. When park superintendent Kendell Thompson saw Begle’s video about the memorial (watch it below), he praised Begle for the creativity — and reprimanded him for the criminality. Drone use is heavily restricted inside national parks.

But rather than part ways on uncomfortable terms, Begle and Thompson developed a collegial relationship that led to the creation of the Lincoln Land Drone Fest in Santa Clause, Ind. The event featured a golf ball drop from drones, the Santa Claus Cup drone race and educational opportunities about drones.

The Dubois County Herald‘s coverage of the event noted an aviation link between President Abraham Lincoln and the event that his boyhood home inspired: In 1861, Lincoln created the Military Aeronautics Corps, the precursor to the U.S. Air Force, and the corps launched gas balloons to attack Confederate troops from afar during the Civil War.