Drones over Bishkek

December 26th, 2015 Sections: Bishkek, Life In Kyrgyzstan, Silk Road Lodge
A DJI Phantom UAV (Drone) used for commercial and recreational aerial photography ... Photo by Capricorn4049 on Wikipedia

A DJI Phantom UAV (Drone) used for commercial and recreational aerial photography … Photo by Capricorn4049 on Wikipedia

One of the difficult aspects of English is the way one word can have a number of different meanings and we can only really tell which if the meanings is intended by looking at the context in which it is used. To be fair, this is true in a number of languages, not just English – loo-k (or luke) in Russian, for example means both onion and arrow, and zamok can mean either castle or lock, (although, the two are actually pronounced slightly differently).  Also, many of the different uses of the word may be related it can be easy to see the connection between them and understand how the different uses of the word have evolved over the course of time.

Drone is one of those words.  It can used to describe a dull monotonous sound, usually a continuous low humming; or a speech where the orator’s delivery is in a single monotone, without variety to express emotion or stress; a male bee that seems to serve no purpose other than to fertilize the Queen of the hive – having no sting it cannot even defend itself; and by extension, it can be used to refer to someone who does no productive work and makes no contribution to society but, rather, lives off the efforts of others.  In more recent times it has come to mean a pilotless aircraft (or ship) which is guided by remote control – a ‘flying robot’, if you will.

Drones have been in the news quite a lot of late, what with their use by the military in various conflict zones, sometimes with the ‘pilot’ giving it instructions but sitting at a console on the other side of the world, or the Spy drones that are used by intelligence agencies to gather information.  They’ve been featured in films and TV programmes as hi-tech instruments of death used by terrorists and criminals as part of their nefarious plans to wreak havoc and terror.

Fortunately, there are more peaceful uses to which they can be put … providing aerial views of major events as they unfold; or spectacular vistas from hard to reach points; transporting the viewer to a vantage point that may give a fresh perspective on familiar sights.  In some regions, the TV news channels are now using drones rather than helicopters to get film from their ‘eye in the sky’ to supplement their traffic reports.

Drones can be programmed to follow a vehicle; to follow a preset path, orusing signals from global positioning satellite systems and computer control to automatically adjust the motors in order to maintain a steady position, altitude and attitude.

They are particularly liked in the film industry, and not just in the production of blockbuster effects … but advertising agencies have not been slow to understand the potential of the technology … where spectacular graphics can be obtained relatively safely and cheaply.

Perhaps ‘relatively’ is the operative word … the drones themselves are not exactly cheap … but there are that expensive either, especially when considering the cost of an alternative.

There are also some serious considerations that can limit their use … Controlling them requires some, not inconsiderable, skill and experience; they may not fly high enough to worry air traffic control, but they can still encounter hazards and obstacles that can cause even the most experienced operator problems … such as gusts of wind, birds in flight … or telegraph wires;  the radio signals used to control them may suffer interference (and I understand that ‘jamming devices are available on the market for those who want to protect themselves from drone driven ‘invasions of privacy’); whats more, the radio controls may have a range of several kilometers which means they can quickly disappear from sight and the batteries that power them, at the moment at least, last for about half an hour; so there is a distict possibility that they could fly off and ‘disappear’.


Here in Kyrgyzstan we have seen a number of imaginative film clips such a Panorama of the mountains seen from above the shores of Lake Issyk Kul; a fly past several of the major landmarks of the capital city (such as the snow covered New Year Tree and Ala Too Square); even a ‘fly through’ the, as yet unfinished, new Central Mosque being built in Bishkek; and an aerial view of the traffic at a busy city center intersection in the evening rush hour, showing the slow progress made by commuters and the long tailbacks they have to sit in whilst waiting to reach the crossroads.

Here’s one of the latest from drone.kg which was posted on youtube by the user go KG:



A few months ago, I received a visit from Victor, (our IT engineer, who is a keen photographer and is responsible for a lot of our photographs), who asked of it would be OK for his friend to ‘fly over’ the ‘Silk Road Lodge‘ with a drone and produce a short clip … and a 3Dpanorama.  Of course, I agreed … and here is one of their productions:



As well as on youtube, we have posted a couple of their other panorama’s on see.kg …



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