This one is worthy of discussion. At very least as a group we should be taking it upon ourselves to operate away from potential conflict. These guys sort of tried but perhaps could have thought about it a little longer. There is no indication of what AP this was or airframe. 

The operators of a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) were lucky to feel only embarrassment rather than grief after their aircraft got lost near a busy aerodrome. It’s an example of why RPA operators must take them seriously as aircraft.

Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect. So said Captain Alfred Gilmer Lamplugh in 1931, in one of the first attempts to understand the risks of the air.* His words are just as resonant today. They apply even in the almost complete personal safety of operating an unmanned aircraft from a ground station.

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Comment by Luke Olson on January 9, 2013 at 3:08pm

This is quoted from the story. Sounds like it could've been prevented or minimized if the equipment was properly setup.

The operator told the CASA investigator: ‘our considered hypothesis is that the most likely cause of the fly-away was internal electrical noise causing the gimbal servos to chatter or move at random. This would cause excessive current demand from the BEC (battery eliminator circuit). The BEC voltage would drop and could cause the R/C (radio control) receiver to brown out’.

The servos shouldn't have been on the same power supply as the autopilot or receiver. Also the receiver failsafe should've been programmed to initiate return to home instead of just dropping the throttle. Good to hear that nobody was hurt.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 9, 2013 at 6:10pm

Their fault analysis seems very strange.

Comment by Carl La France on January 10, 2013 at 9:48pm

Good post Gary ! 


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