Shiffer: Look, up in the sky: It’s super-drone

This month, a bright yellow remote-controlled aircraft with a 13-foot wingspan will take to the skies over the Le Sueur County farmlands.

Its mission: Taking high resolution photographs that will help the county map drainage ditches.

It doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting assignment for a drone, and that’s partly the point.

“The message we’re trying to get out is, we’re not doing surveillance,” said Tim Briggs, a retired U.S. Navy officer who is president of AeroLogix GIS. “We’re not spying on people.”

Briggs said he’s the first commercial drone operator in Minnesota to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. Officially, Le Sueur County has the FAA’s “certificate of waiver or authorization,” because most for-profit entities haven’t been able to get permits to fly drones. Briggs has a contract with the county to do the work.

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