…It’s the communication department’s Drone! This high-tech piece of equipment can be seen drifting through the sky, seemingly of its own volition.

Do not be fooled, however: this white, soaring beast is well-tamed by Christian Harrison, a member of the department at Phillips Exeter Academy. The Phantom 4 DGI is a $1,500 drone released in 2016, and has helped the communications department grow their marketing strategies.

“[The Phantom four DGI] Opens up a whole new realm for us to see things and observe things,” said Patrick Garrity, the only other member in the communications department capable of flying the drone.

As the drone lifts off the ground, its propellers become a blur, defying the laws of gravity. Groups of people walking by stop to stare at the high flying tech. Students smile and wave, knowing all too well that they are on camera. “As soon as it is in the air you’re the most important person around,” said Harrison. Even though drones have become something of a trend in the preceding years, they still manage to rile up excitement. 

The communications department runs Exeter’s website and YouTube channel, as well as a school magazine. The drone provides new and creative vantage points from which to take  photos and video to add to these media platforms.

“Its funny because there’s all kinds of projects that you wouldn’t think about,” said Mr. Harrison. One of the projects includes taking photographs of the forest’s canopy to show the foresters at PEA how the terrain is changing over the years.

With all the construction that is underway on campus, the drone provides a simple method of seeing the progress of the new buildings. Before drones were invented these strange projects would’ve required a much more expensive route to be taken: helicopters according to Mr. Harrison.

Aside from the glossy white drone there is a glossy white controller used to navigate the skies. An app downloaded onto any phone enables the person controlling the device to see what is being captured on the camera connected to the drone. The equipment may seem daunting, but it’s quite easy to learn to use according to Mr. Harrison. He practices with the drone by flying it in the shape of a figure eight.

Because of the popularity of drones and the ease of which it is to obtain and use one, they have been promptly banned from the school campus. So next time you look up into the sky and ask the most cliche of questions, know that it is neither bird nor plane, remember that that tiny object in the sky is the Phantom four DGI.