Celebrating International Womens Day with a Guest Blog by Drone Doll!
(We’re inspired by the amazing work of the amazing women who drone – and share their videos on AirVūz – and we’re proud to have Drone Doll on our own Team AirVūz FPV! Read on to learn the inspiration behind Drone Doll’s start in flying FPV!)
I watched from under his workbench as my dad built absolutely pristine model airplanes while I crafted and colored scraps of balsa wood. The dirt under my fingernails didn’t bother me a bit, but even eight year old me knew it wasn’t a good look for when Barbie came by my salon for her multiple daily hair and wardrobe changes. Despite my unprofessional appearance, she accepted the fact that my love was truer for the toy trucks and legos than it was for her, and there were never any hard feelings on the days when I chose to build roads in the sandy patches of our backyard instead of giving her a new set of bangs that were never going to grow out regardless of how much I willed them to.
Something about myself that I’ve only recently come to realize, is that as a child I was certain that my love for the boy toys was a forbidden one. All of my girl friends in the neighborhood played with dolls and little pastel colored ponies, so I played with dolls and ponies too. I played with them everyday until one afternoon I decided I would rather push a monster truck through the dirt. My best girl friend was so upset by the notion of me choosing to play with the cootie-ridden neighborhood boys and their crusty toy trucks instead of playing with our dolls, and she expressed her dismay until I eventually succumbed to the pressure and ditched the dirt for the dolls. The expectations became engraved in my young mind that afternoon, and from then on, whenever I felt the urge to pick out a Hot Wheel to cruise around or to build a modest two-bedroom Lego rambler, I waited until the other kids were gone and I played with the toys by myself.
Flash forward twenty years and here I am, playing with the boy toys. Only now I’m part of a global community of young girls and women who proudly play with the boy toys and who are writing history by doing so. When my boyfriend Simon began building and flying racing drones three years ago, he was quick to suggest that I learn how to fly as well. Flying radio control airplanes was something my dad always did with my brother, and I know without a doubt that they both would have been thrilled to teach me how to build and fly had I not already been foolishly convinced by someone who still had all their baby teeth that I should instead be spending my time learning how to braid and make miniature cakes in a miniature pink oven. So of course, my initial instinct in regards to Simon’s suggestion was to refer to those pesky expectations I still carried around in my mind, and they were telling me that flying drones was a guy’s thing and I should just continue to let them rule the hobby. Luckily for Simon, Space Jam was playing on the tv in the background and R. Kelly’s voice rang just a little bit louder, and he was telling me that if I believe, I can fly. So I fly.
Now, as we soar along in this new frontier of drones and flying in First Person View, it brings me so much joy to see girls of all ages being embraced and celebrated by model aircraft hobbyists around the world, a community which has always been dominated by men. These female pilots are bright beacons of light for anyone who wants to knock down the walls of the box that society has built for them. For me, this International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that I should never limit myself to the knowledge, skills and experiences that have been laid out for me by others. The incredible and unforgettable adventures I’ve had since beginning my journey as a drone pilot are numerous, and I’ve found myself skipping gallantly down a magical path that little eight year old me never would have imagined myself to be on some day.
To all of you reading this, don’t ever let yourself become so grounded by another’s expectations that you become too afraid to fly. And to the movers and makers over at Mattel, I think Barbie would make one hell of a drone racing pilot.
Drone Doll ❤️