Portrait Of A Drone

James Bridle was captivated by the ubiquitous image of a drone seen above, which happens to be the first Google image result for “drone”. But he became suspicious of the picture’s origins:

The level of detail is too low: missing hatches on the cockpit and tail, the shape of the air intake, the greebling on the fins and body. That ‘NY’ on the tail: it’s not aligned properly, it’s a photoshop. Finally, the Canon Drone’s serial, partly obscured, appears to be 85-566. The first two numbers of USAF serials refer to the year an aircraft entered service: there were no Reapers back in 1985 (development didn’t even begin until 2001). The Canon Drone does not exist, it never has. It is computer generated rendering of a drone, a fiction.

Alexis tracked down the image’s creator, Michael Hahn, who had posted it to a forum devoted to 3D modeling in 2009. Why it caught on:

“I had never seen an image of a drone actually firing a missile so that is what I decided to create,” he said. And suddenly, everyone else, who also had never seen a drone actually firing a missile, had a way of seeing with their own eyes.