Hundreds of Intel Shooting Star Drones were scheduled to replace fireworks for the Fourth of July celebration at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. Instead, they were grounded because of high winds. The drones can fly in up to 18 mph winds, but those at the event were expected to gust up to 30 mph during the drone’s planned flight time, reports the Mercury News.
If Intel’s drones had taken to the sky as planned, they would have performed hi-tech aerial routines to commemorate the Fourth of July and the 75th anniversary of the base. The good news is that the drone show is rescheduled for July 5 at 9 p.m. if weather permits.
Travis Air Force Base is North of San Francisco, and is also about an hour south of the Napa and Yolo County wildfire that is currently burning 82,700 acres. Intel had promoted the drones as a more Eco-friendly and safer alternative to regular fireworks to towns that are experiencing drought and wildfires.
The drone shows also don’t make loud noises like fireworks do, which can often scare small children and animals. Another factor that might have swayed the tinder-dry towns to dump their fireworks for the drones can be attributed to stunning choreographed drone shows such as the one Intel created for the broadcast of the Winter Olympics.
Fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, but those that missed the show tonight may want to come back the next night for the rescheduled show. With that in mind, here’s what Matt Burns, the managing editor at TechCrunch, had to say about his experience with the Intel drone light show.
“It’s an impressive show of technology. I was in attendance for the first show at Disney World and the drones are a wonderful alternative to fireworks. Sure, fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, but they can’t do the things these drones can do, plus, because they’re much more quiet, more people can enjoy the show.”
With 2,800 fire personnel fighting the Yolo County fire alone, it’s safe to say that California officials are pleased to see the state switching out the fireworks displays for drones. USA Today reports that Lynne Tolmachoff, chief of public education for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that from a perspective of fire safety, it’s “definitely worth it to use a drone over live fireworks.”
Fourth of July drone light shows in Arizona put on at the Civana Carefree will go on as planned because weather conditions are favorable for the drones to perform. However, the company that’s putting on that show isn’t Intel, it’s Detroit-based company Firefly Drone Shows.