could you tell me who is personally, legally accountable in case of drone crash case reported to law enforcement officers, FAA due to known bugs, flaws in Pixhawk flight controller ?

I have followed tens of discussions on this and other forums and questions asked by hobbyists are responded by hobbyists either.

There is no interest on the side of Pixhawk developer/s  from Switzerland

to take active part in such discussions.

The last discussion at DIYDrones

and history from


are good examples how hobbyists try to response to problems asked by hobbyists and just fail, since such questions should be responded by genuine

developer/s of Pixhawk originating from the Switzerland.

GPS is used...

No GPS isn't used...

I am surprised to learn GPS is used..

I have been surprised ..

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  • I worked on SAE J1939 from implementing the CAN bus on Motorola 68HC11 to building  prototype sprayery with 6 network node uses  a very small sub set of J1939 like commands that was used to make a commercial machine. When we tried to introduce wireless links the error rate was too high to use in a determinate system that depended on each command being acted on. Getting it done in a timely manner took a special network chip on every CPU. Every process of any consequence took its own CPU. The sprayer read 4 single pixel camera viewing an area 50 mm long x 1 meter wide that with its own CPU that sent the data through an interface CPU to a main CPU that tracked the rated of speed calculated the amount of product to spray on each 1 m x m area   could set 4 spray nozzles a 1 of 16 rates and trigger them on when over the area. 

    When we tried to use radio links for a small part of this  it fail every times due to too many lost packets.

    I also built several  vehicle tracking systems one parameter in each and every messages the time stamp so every node knew how old the message was by comparing it the clock form their own GPS. Some messages were sent 20 or 30 times before the were acknowledged.   Radio contort should have better connectivity that than UDP packet radio, but noise, multi-path, etc will cause signal loss. 

    The most reliable drone missions will be preplanned and flown on auto pilot with pilot oversight. 

    The operating pilot is responsible for the whole ball of wax. He is the one that decides if the drone is safe to fly. If the mission is correct and safe. The pilot is the one that decides when to quit. 

    Looking a causes for airplane accidents: http://www.planecrashinfo.com/cause.htm Only weather and mechanical failure take any fault off pilot error. Considering the close proximity of drone and the pilots it's very hard for the weather to damage a plane before the pilot can get it out of the air. Pilots are very often the sole people working on their drones turning mechanical failures into mostly pilot error.

    No matter how well the drone is certified when the drone the ground or the the Cadillac the guy at the stick is likely going to get stuck,

    Accident statistics
    aviation accident statistics
  • Darius;

                 This is our groups hobby.we enjoy DIY and We want to have fun flying our Drones.

    Can You please stop the negativity and just start having fun in our hobby.

    Thank You..

  • Darius you are not liked by soo many members of this community. What is your response ? Are you going to do anything about it ? You are burying yourself deeper and deeper. Your reputation is very bad. 

  • Developer

    I had a good laugh at this but I would like to provide a serious answer.

    Any drone you fly should be flown as if it can fall out of the sky at any time. Regulations in most countries are based on that principle. It doesn't matter what autopilot or manufacture you are using.

    I personally fly with a kill switch so I can terminate my flight at any time. To ensure safe operation I simply need to stay within line of sight and not fly over people or property that could be damaged if I pull the kill switch.  This simple principle reduces the likelihood that I will loose RC link and ensures I can prevent the copter damaging anything. I also ensure all my other safety features are set up correctly and tested to cover the low probability the simple principle above doesn't work.

    I recently did a RPA operators licence course (drone licence course) that was based on DJI Phantom 3's. During the course, each day we had 1 fly away or serious control loss that could not be attributed to pilot error. Unfortunately the logs available with the Phantom 3 make it hard to work out what went wrong. In the end both of the phantoms were unoperational and not going to fly again. I suspect most of these issues were due to poor GPS however at least one of them was a complete loss of control.

    So the simple answer is YOU are responsible for YOUR actions. You must ensure you minimise the risk of crashes and if your copter crashes it does so in a safe place. You can easily do this by limiting where you fly and ensuring you have the appropriate safety measures in place to terminate your flight if needed. The level of risk you accept is up to you.

    Unfortunately I have absolutely no idea what Switzerland has to do with any of this.

  • The FAA is unambiguous.  Drones are aircraft and fall under title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 (and others) for operational regulation:

    §91.3   Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

    (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

    Any accident, regardless of the cause, is the responsibility of the Pilot in Command.  This is also subject to the regulations of the NTSB, Title 49 part 830, which defines what an accident is and what has to be reported. I think it unlikely any drone crash would rise to the definition of "accident".  If the FAA insists we abide by these regulations, we should insist on applying all of them.


      It open source software, everyone writes it, it's nobody's fault.

    • Well thats false because you can't disclaim legal liability so those terms are null and void.  This is much the same as owning a car.  The driver/pilot is responsible for maintenance and safe use but the manufacturer CAN be held responsible for defects or negligence.

      The fact is though most of these flyaways are pilot error in not calibrating, setting home position, understanding orientation or using the failsafes correctly. You would have an uphill struggle proving that an accident was not down to your own carelessness when you've been warned they arn't suitable to fly near people or buildings.

    • I don't see the analogy with owning a car.  This post is about the 'Pixhawk flight controller' and the swiss developers (who aren't manufacturers).  This is a piece of hardware, a computer.   Trying to place blame or liability on a piece of hardware is like trying to blame a PC for someone's health problem if a piece of medical software goes wrong in a hospital. Lots of cars (in fact probably every car ever produced) have known problems, some of which cause expensive and catastrophic failure, but unless the fault is an ongoing danger to the public or the owner - like a faulty steering column - then they are dealt with on a commercial basis and mostly not at all, not a regulatory or liability basis.

      Further, the pixhawk is an open source project and the swiss developers are an academic institution, producing this project for research.   3DR produce a commercial implementation that we're familiar with and they've been very good at replacing any of the small number of hardware/manufacturing faults but apart from those it's been outstandingly reliable hardware.

      The software (firmware) that runs on the pixhawk is varied - it runs at least px4, apm/ardupilot and paparazzi software stacks, possibly more.  Again, these are all opensource community/research projects.  Even if we extend the OPs intention to the software APM stack, well good luck trying to invoke liability on a piece of opensource community software from a website called 'DIY Drones'.  There is no sale or contract involved for a start, this is something that you freely download for your own benefit - there's not a sane lawyer alive who would try to sue one of the opensource contributors here if your drone crashes.  If you don't like it, or trust it then you're free to find another alternative - if you want legal liability then buy a full commercial UAV solution.  If we do extend this to the software stack then we also have to extend it to the myriad of hardware platforms it runs on.

      And this all assumes that there was a genuine question at the start.  There wasn't.  This was, as usual, the idiotic narcissistic ramblings of The Troll aka Darius Jack, who constantly and consistently hijacks posts to push his own agenda - his hairbrained schemes to fix his invented syndromes.  He has now specifically stated his agenda behind this particular post, which is to create a global scheme to (produce?) certify every drone part for every drone manufacturer in every country and no other parts should be permitted.

      Come to think of it, the analogy of Donald Trump is actually a good one.

    • @Ben,

      thank you for your comments


      You would have an uphill struggle proving that an accident was not down to your own carelessness when you've been warned they arn't suitable to fly near people or buildings."





      The bill states: “it shall be unlawful for any person to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any unmanned aircraft manufactured on or after the date that the [FAA] adopts a relevant [manufacturing] standard, unless the manufacturer has received approval …for each make and model.”  In order to receive approval, the bill sets forth steps that would be difficult for large manufacturers to meet, let alone small businesses or individuals.  In order to receive manufacturing approval, the drone maker would, among other things, have to meet safety standards developed through a consensus process with government, industry and “community-based aviation organizations”, which would include presumably the Academy of Model Aeronautics. A manufacturer – regardless of size – would at a minimum have to provide “the aircraft’s operating instructions” and confirm that the drone met the specified standards.  In addition, the drone manufacturer would have to provide a sample of every make and model to the FAA for its approval.


      The above Bill sensed my superstition, telepathy and precognition already in December 2016, on enacting personal drone registration legislation.

      The above Bill if made into law, can close activities of DIYDrones hobbyists like us.

      H.R. 4441, Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016 | Congressional Budget Offi…
      As ordered reported by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on February 11, 2016
    • On the other hand, there is a house bill pending that example small drone from FAA


       With the current political environment, what are the chances that these bills becoming law.

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