Be on the lookout for a white and blue “quadcopter” drone that was lost by its earthbound pilot on Saturday.
The drone, flown by Chris Esch, who lives on Cloudland Trail on the Chattanooga side of Interstate 24 near Germantown Road and South Terrace, disappeared about 30 seconds into a flight at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17.
“I had just put a camera on it that lets you see what the helicopter sees without it being in sight,” Esch said Wednesday during a telephone interview. “The camera I got was a cheap one and it went over the tree line by the freeway and the picture went out.”
Esch said he saw the drone for the first 20 seconds of its flight. He flipped a switch on his control panel that would activate a GPS system that would return the craft to its point of take-off, but it didn’t return home, he said. The battery life on the drone is between eight and 10 minutes he said, so it might not be far from the area where he began the flight.
Esch said he and his son had built the hobby copter drone over the summer. He said they would sometimes fly it in open fields at churches in East Ridge. He had flown it a number of times at Coolidge Park where he would take videos from the on-board camera and put them up on Youtube.
Esch said he reported the lost drone to the East Ridge Police Department. He also has posted the fact that he lost the aircraft on the Hilltop Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page.
“I’ve got about $600 in it,” he said. “I told my wife if we don’t find it, I’m done with, as much time and money that I put in it.”
He believes it may have gone down in someone’s back yard or in a wooded area. Esch is offering a reward to anyone that finds the aircraft. He can be contacted at 423-834-2088.