Nothing top secret: Suspected drone turns out to be high-tech toy

Tina Harbuck
Capt. Kevin Moak of the Papi, who found what they thought was some kind of military plane floating in the water Saturday, posed for photos back at the docks.

Covered in U.S. Coast Guard stickers it looked official, but it was actually a high-tech toy.

The crew aboard the Papi first spotted the downed remote-controlled plane floating in the water about 3/4 miles offshore while cobia fishing near Grayton Beach Saturday.

At first glance, Moak thought it was a toy plane he could take home for his kid to play with. Then they noticed what looked to be military markings on the plane that sported a wing span of about 5-feet and a GoPro camera. Their thoughts turned to a possible drone, as they wondered if “Big Brother” was watching.

"It looked official,” said Capt. Kevin Moak. “We didn't know if they (the government) were going to chase us down or what. Didn't know if it had a transponder on it ... we didn't have a clue."

"It turned out to be just a couple of guys having fun on the beach.”

The sophisticated plane was a model plane that belongs to Destin's Blake Morar.

"It's just a little hobby, and I have a good time doing it," Morar said. "And the cool thing is, it is just clean fun.”

Morar, now 40, grew up making model airplanes with his dad at age 15, and today he's doing the same with his kids.

This particular plane is a Sky Hunter model air plane with a GoPro attached in order to film "coastal stuff," Morar said. As for the stickers, it was just to make it look cool, he said.

"I had an idea where it went down," he said, but wasn't exactly sure why the miniature plane crashed. "I'm in the process of trying to assess that right now. It's disappointing that it landed in the Gulf, because saltwater and the electronics on it don't mix."

The detailed plane, which takes about three to four weeks to assemble, cost a couple of hundred dollars, Morar said. And from what Capt. Moak told him, Morar thinks it floated for about 20 minutes, before the Papi crew picked it up.

When the crew got the plane back to the docks, they snapped photos of each other holding it before calling the lost and found number printed on the bottom of the plane. Morar picked up the plane, and rewarded the crew, which now has a very different kind of catch to talk about.

"We thought we had found something special," Moak said. "Now it's just pictures of us with a plane." Nevertheless, "It's better than anything we grew up with as a kid. You can't buy that down at Radio Shack, maybe a Super Radio Shack."

To see a video of Destin Harbor from a remote-controlled plane, click here