On Tue, 11 Apr 2017 13:59:57 -0700 (PDT), Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Alexandre Janssens Post by Sam Plusnet
A drone is controlled by a human and may search an area, or loiter over
an area of interest, as directed by that controller.
Why is a drone called a drone?
I guess, off hand, that it makes a "droning sound" as it flies about.
make a continuous low humming sound.
"in the far distance a machine droned"
synonyms: hum, buzz, whirr, vibrate, murmur, rumble, purr
"a plane droned overhead"
a low continuous humming sound.
"he nodded off to the drone of the car engine"
synonyms: hum, buzz, whirr, vibration, murmur, purr
"the drone of aircraft taking off"
a male bee in a colony of social bees, which does no work but can fertilize
Dictionaries agree that the "pilotless plane" meaning comes from
the "male bee" meaning, but none of them explains the connection.
(I looked at American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, dictionary.com,
Oxford, and etymonline.com. The Cambridge dictionary doesn't say
what sense of "drone" the "pilotless" sense is connected to.)
Maybe somehow "doesn't work" suggested "doesn't carry a pilot"?
I wonder whether there was a misunderstanding of the meaning of "drone"
as a type of bee?
Most people have no special knowledge of bees but many know the phrases
"queen bee", "worker bees" and "drones". It would be no suprise if many
people think that "drone" is just another word for "worker bee" and
that, in some way, the worker bees (drones) are controlled by the queen
bee. So the idea of a drone being something controlled by something else
could come from that.
A target drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, generally remote
controlled, usually used in the training of anti-aircraft crews.
One of the earliest drones was the British DH.82 Queen Bee, a
variant of the Tiger Moth trainer aircraft operational from 1935.
Its name led to the present term "drone".
The Queen Bee was certainly the first truly successful pilotless
aircraft with nearly 400 being manufactured over several years. The
Queen Bee’s ability to fly without a pilot was indeed high
technology at the time and it was demonstrated for dignitaries on
many occasions. In 1936, Admiral William Harrison Standley, the US
Navy’s representative at the London Naval Conference, was witness to
a demonstration of the Queen Bee during a live-firing exercise. Upon
his return to the United States, he set in motion revitalized
American research into remotely flown aircraft like the Queen Bee,
which could be used as a training device in the same manner.
Shortly thereafter, the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) tasked
Lieutenant Commander Delmar Fahrney to lead a project to develop the
system. Within months, two Curtiss N2C-2 Fledgling and two Stearman
training biplanes were equipped with similar equipment to the Queen
-> Bee. Soon, the word “drone” began appearing in documents related to
-> the American project. According to accounts, Fahrney himself coined
-> the term drone as a deliberate nod to the de Havilland Queen Bee.
Peter Duncanson, UK