Drone camera gives Bel Aire homeowner new look at Christmas-lights handiwork

Brad Moss’ house in Bel Aire is decorated for Christmas in a very satisfying, full way.

Whereas most houses are partially outlined in lights, at his house at 5726 E. Perryton, every window, fence, shrub, eave – even the roof – is trimmed in lights.

“Anywhere we see a dark spot, we think there’s got to be lights going up,” Moss said. A large Christmas tree in the living room that can be seen through the front picture window also reflects back the same lights that are on the house.

Apart from the fullness, which turns the corners to include the sides of the house as well, the roof’s lights are an unusual touch.

“The wife wanted to put some scallops on it to make it look like a gingerbread house,” Moss said. So a few years ago he measured the roof and calculated the length from point to point to figure out how to get the swoop of lights to create the scallops. It always looked decent from the ground. But this year the family got a new look at it – from above.

The Mosses’ neighbor Mark Statzer asked permission to put his drone up to photograph the lights. Brad Moss was tickled to say yes.

“I wanted to see what Mr. Moss’ beautiful light display would look like from above,” said Statzer, who has been flying model aircraft for years and is now a member of the new Wichita Drone/Unmanned Aircraft Systems Meetup group. He used a Phantom Vision 2-Plus, a 2 1/2-pound quadcopter with an attached wide-angle lens, to take the photo at the Mosses’.

“I have been doing the scallops like that for a few years now but had never seen them from above,” Moss said. When Statzer emailed him the pictures, “I was pretty surprised. … It’s really cool.”

Moss saw another new view last year, when he started replacing his incandescent lights with LEDs.

“It snowed last year about an inch one day during Christmas,” Moss said. Whereas the old incandescents burned hot, melting any snow that fell on the house in the past, the new, cool LEDs don’t melt the snow.

“The way the LEDs glow underneath that snow is really cool,” Moss said.

“I think one of the reasons we continue to do (the lights) is we had someone stop us the other day in Wal-Mart and say, ‘Aren’t you the people on Perryton?’ Everyone in the neighborhood gets a kick out of that.”