Questions you didn’t ask: Copter vs Drone?

Wherein we answer questions you didn’t know you asked us, because you didn’t ask us them. It’s what boring people call ‘community generated content‘. Sort of.

Today’s question, randomly culled from Twitter:

Good question Andy! Let’s pretend you live somewhere near Luton Airport and are looking to commute to central London.

Helicopter charter services promise to get you there in about 23 minutes. The problem is, most of these shuttles fly you to the Battersea Heliport on the south bank of the Thames, meaning you still have to fight your way into the centre. Then again, if you can afford a helicopter, you can probably call in a favour to use the pad on top of Harrods.


The magic carpet in Arabian Nights comes with the following instructions:

Whoever sitteth on this carpet and willeth in thought to be taken up and set down upon other site will, in the twinkling of an eye, be borne thither, be that place nearhand or distant many a day’s journey and difficult to reach

So in terms of speed and mileage, it’s hard to beat an enchanted rug. The issue here is safety. You’re thousands of feet up in the air, going “over, sideways and under” without a seat-belt, trying to cling on to a flat surface that’s whipping in the wind. Even if you dig your nails in like a cat startled by the hoover, you’re going to fall off eventually.

That’s 10 and a half hours of walking down busy motorways. Tiring.

Britain’s hitch-hiking heyday was in the 1960s, and it’s unlikely you’ll get anyone to stop, but there are online guides if you have itchy thumbs.

By car that will be 1 hour 30 minutes in busy traffic. Millions of people do it every day. None of them are happy.


Aerial drones are becoming common in the UK, with more than 130 companies currently licensed to fly them. However most of these UAVs, including those being tested by police, are tiny quadricopters that couldn’t support a human’s weight. The Reaper drones recently revealed to operate out of the UK can carry 500lb bombs but, being unmanned, there’s nowhere for you to sit. You would end up straddling the weapon like Major Kong in Dr Strangelove.

As you say, it’s all down to your individual preference. However, might we suggest public transport? By bus and train, the journey takes 1 hour 10 minutes, and at no point do you have to strafe insurgents. We hope this helps.

As for context vs rationality, we choose neither.


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