New Osaka drone museum offers hands-on flight experience

The nation’s first drone museum opened in the city of Osaka in December featuring a wide variety of drones on display and for sale, with visitors able to try them out.

“There are not many places in Japan where people can see and touch drones. We hope to promote them from the Kansai region,” said an official of Skyasky Co., the drone pilot school based in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, that runs Drone Museum Horie.

The museum, located in Osaka’s Minamihorie district, exhibits 16 types of drones produced in Japan and abroad, ranging from an 18-gram palm-sized indoor drone to a gigantic crop-spraying drone equipped with a 10-liter tank.

Visitors can learn the history of drones, from the earliest models for industrial use produced in New Zealand in 2011 to the latest model that sends live video footage to a smartphone.

Visitors can also try flying a state-of-the-art drone that responds to hand gestures. Many visitors are impressed with their first-time experience of controlling objects that float in the air.

The museum is in a concrete building with a two-story ceiling about 10 meters high, offering enough space to fly drones inside. It plans to hold safety lectures where visitors can learn how to fly drones and become informed about areas where drones are is banned under the aviation law.

“I hope people will stop by freely since it is located in Minamihorie — a hub of fancy cafes and boutiques — and become more familiar with drones,” said Mei Watanabe, 28, head of the museum.