Let’s face it, remote-control aerial drones might take great photos and videos, but at car shows and concours they are generally an obnoxious nuisance. Plus, they can endanger both expensive automobiles and human spectators because, and this has been known to happen, they sometimes crash.
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, which apparently has had its fill of UFOs (uninvited flying objects), has called in a semi-retired “member” of the state’s Air National Guard for help. This addition to Amelia’s permanent staff is a highly regarded expert in airport-runway pest control and uniquely suited to the task of bringing down drones.
The new hire is Aerial Security Officer Col. Daniel Sexton Gurney Eagle, A.A.P. (Apex Aerial Predator), D.F.A. (Death From Above), who is an actual, living bald eagle trained in the pursuit of errant creatures and devices, and previously has proved highly capable and enthusiastic about performing such an assignment.
Col. Eagle, as the huge raptor is known, is employed by the Air National Guard at Jacksonville International Airport. During the 2018 concours, he also will maintain control above the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island resort and adjacent golf course where the concours and associated events are held, and at nearby Fernandina Beach Airport.
Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, said in a news release, “The Colonel, or ‘Sir’ as we call him here at Amelia Concours HQ, has assured us that there will be no drones operating above The Amelia, Cars and Coffee at the concours, the Porsche Driving Experience or any other activity during Amelia Concours Weekend. Period. No exceptions. No excuses.”
The drone-catching eagle is not unique, with police and military agencies around the world utilizing the birds’ natural instinct to chase and nab the flying machines. Eagles in the wild also have been known to attack drones for whatever reason.
Warner noted that drone operators will have scant opportunity to reason with the Colonel as he swoops down on the buzzing offenders.
“With a resume and skills like Col. Eagle’s, one can do pretty much whatever one wants, wherever he wants, whenever he wants and however he wants,” Warner noted.
The Amelia Island Concours weekend is scheduled March 9-11, 2018, at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton, with about 250 special collector vehicles on display during the annual concours d’elegance March 11.
A new special feature will be looking up, watching for the eagle in action. Here’s hoping some wrong-headed drone operators make an appearance despite the warning.
For information about Amelia Island events, visit the concours website.