Buying a drone: How much they cost, what they do and which one is best for your purposes
But these days the unmanned aircraft are involved in so much more than war and have become a hugely popular hobby for thousands across the nation.
Just recently Queensland hosted the 2016 Australian Drone Nationals with more than 60 competitors vying to become the national champ.
The winner, Thomas Bitmatta, is just 17 and, together with four other winners, will now head to Hawaii to take part in the World Drone Championships.
And if you think it’s just for the nerds, consider this: In March, a 15-year-old from the UK picked up a cool $250,000 for winning the World Drone Prix in Dubai.
Drones are also an integral part of many businesses, the long-missing answer to some of the more dangerous or arduous tasks that were almost impossible before.
They range in price from the very cheap to the extraordinarily expensive and their size can vary just as wildly.
Ben Drew, a technician from Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions, said the craft they sell range in price from hundreds of dollars, right up into the tens of thousands.
The company, based in Sydney’s southwest, custom builds drones and will attach almost anything to a craft that will help them better run their business.
From farms to mines and professional photographers, this is quickly becoming a necessary tool of trade.
“Air sensors, water sensors, different drop mechanisms so if you want to drop something in a site that you can’t physically go to — like in a mining site — you can take the drone out there and drop the sensor,” Mr Drew said.
“It’s definitely growing rapidly, especially in the industrial area.”
There are also a huge range of drones available for those fans of flying who just want to have a bit of fun or improve their amateur photography.
But even those aren’t cheap.
One of their most popular craft — that falls into the category of presumer — is called the Phantom 4.
“That’s definitely the one that’s the most popular at the moment, they have a very solid app that comes with them and it just makes it easy for a new user to come in and use,” he said.
Retailing for just under $2100, it’s not a cheap hobby, but you should be able to protect your investment pretty well as it comes with collision avoidance as standard.
Rise Above has fielded some interesting calls requesting things to attach to drones, some they can’t even mention.
“A lot of people ask for things they shouldn’t be doing, which obviously have to say no to,” he said … without elaborating.
Zero-X Rapture Drone with First Person View Controller $299
Parrot Bebop Drone + Skycontroller $999
Parrot Bebop 2 Drone with Sky Controller $1299
Parrot Minidrone Rolling Spider $149
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Jungle Elite $429
3DR Solo Aerial Drone $999
Parrot MiniDrone Airborne Cargo — Mars $98
Parrot Airborne Minidrone Hydro $197
Xiro Xplorer Vision Drone with Camera and 3-axis Gimbal $998
Racing drones from Rise Above Custom Drone Solutions
ImmersionRC Vortex Mini Racing Quadcopter ARF (Race Motor Version) $669
ImmersionRC Vortex 250 Pro ARF $749
TBS Vendetta FPV Racing Quadcopter $789