My Date With A.v.a.

Date Posted: September 22, 2014 by Bill Catalutch

As appears to be per custom here, I guess I’ll introduce myself. My name is Bill Catalutch, but James calls me Dave. I am one of the two new Digital Media Interns here at i76 Solutions. Before gracing this humble abode, I spent the last four years working in the radio industry in various capacities, ranging from traffic and sports reporting, all the way to production and programming. I was involved in numerous debacles, including wearing a cow suit in protest, driving a band of stoners to a show just before opening act, and taking selfies with softball players after a championship win, just because I happened to be on the field. Working at i76 has been a nice change of pace.

What qualifies me to be the Digital Media Intern? Well, while making the rounds in terrestrial radio, I jump started the Facebook and Twitter accounts of over twenty terrestrial radio stations. These responsibilities were bestowed upon me solely based on the fact that I was a teenager who knew how to turn on Facebook. Here at i76, I’m a bit of a fish out of water, working with men and women with years of digital experience between them, coming from a more traditional background. That being said, I welcome the challenge, and am excited for all of the opportunity that awaits me.

My first week here hasn’t been without its own adventures. Most of you remember A.v.a, the flying camera drone Drew so affectionately named in this post. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on A.v.a. I had only read about such a thing of beauty. Those long, thin propellers and stout little legs. Those high-definition cameras. I was extremely ill-equipped to handle such technology.

We here at i76 Solutions use these advances in technology and others to push the envelope in marketing. People and businesses diversity their portfolio through investing. We at i76 take revenue and invest in i76 labs, our own in-house division that experiments with new was of integrating new types of technology into marketing campaigns. A.v.a. is the newest object of our affections, and at the moment is for hire.

Drew calls me outside one afternoon, cradling A.v.a. in his arms. I don’t know if it was in ego or admiration, but Drew took her up as high as she could go, and just like that, A.v.a. was gone. Nothing to remember her by, other than the pictures she sent back from the sky.

It was at this point that Drew decided to hand me the controls. I never even owned a remote control car growing up (though I desperately wanted one for Christmas), and now Drew was entrusting his third day intern to land an extremely expensive low flying aircraft in the area the size of half a football field, with trees and buildings surrounding each side. I don’t know if the Barney Stinson in me came out at that moment, but I accepted the challenge.

I grabbed the controls and peered up at the bright blue sky. A.v.a. was nowhere to be seen, so I began to bring her down gently. She’s a fighter, A.v.a. is, but I didn’t give up. My eyes felt like they were melting, but soon enough, there was A.v.a. on the horizon, not even remotely close to where I was looking. Things got a little hairy down around the 200 foot mark, when I nearly took A.v.a. into a building, then nearly clipped the top of a tree. Soon enough, I was able to ease her down, and A.v.a. landed safe and sound.

One time with A.v.a. was quite enough for me. At the end of it, I couldn’t tell if I was more exhilarated than ever before, or if I was just having my first panic attack. As much fun as A.v.a. was to fly, I can’t help but to wonder what the future is for civilian drones. Zoning and permit laws are a bit of a gray area right now, as businesses and civilians have never before had access to this type of technology.

I’m pretty early into my tenure here at i76, but it’s hard to imagine that any of my future experiences will be more memorable than my first time with A.v.a. I’ll continue to post sporadically this semester, offering other technological insight and humorous anecdotes from my time at i76. Our other lovely intern Alexa will be the next to take A.v.a. up into the sky, and I wish both of them the best of luck.

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