Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Charleston County government owns a drone. Here’s what it looks like.

Slow down, conspiracy theorists, they’re only using it to take pictures for road projects (or so we’re told)

Posted by Paul Bowers on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

  • Courtesy of Parrot SA

Still no word on who's been piloting unidentified flying objects through the airspace over Mt. Pleasant and Daniel Island, but while we were asking around about it, we did stumble upon one interesting tidbit: Charleston County government owns a drone now.

Natalie Caula Hauff, the county's new media relations coordinator (formerly a kick-ass police reporter at the Post and Courier), says the drone is a Parrot AR Drone 2.0, a zippy little quadcopter with HD video capacity.

"Charleston County only has one drone, used by the Transportation Department to get aerials for road projects," Hauff wrote in an e-mail. "It's about the size of a volleyball and can only remain in the air for about eight minutes."

The description she gives is a far cry from whatever spooked Mt. Pleasant businessman Frank Heindel over the Wando River the past two Monday nights — he says he saw five hovering vehicles with 30- to 40-foot wingspans — so we're ruling out the county as the culprit on this one.

If you're interested, you can buy a Parrot drone like the one the county uses for $300 to $440 on Amazon, depending on which bells and whistles you want. You can fly the drones via a tablet app and watch the video footage live on your screen, and other features include a wide-angle lens and super-lightweight carbon-fiber tubes. We kinda sorta really want one now. Y'know, for journalistic purposes.

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