The below Safety Notice is in relation to the UAS crash at one of Britan's X Factor auditions


Dear UAS Operator,

As a current permission holder for aerial work, we are sending you this email to inform you of a recently issued Safety Notice.  Safety Notices and Information Notices are issued by the CAA with the aim of improving flight safety.

The Safety Notice is available on the following link –

SN-2013/012: Small Unmanned Aircraft - Security of Antenna Mounts

The purpose of this Safety Notice is to highlight the requirement for the operator of a Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) to be reasonably satisfied that the flight can be safely made and that all appropriate checks on the SUA are completed before take-off.

It is possible to obtain a full list of Safety Notices and Information Notices using the following links - and  


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  • In my humble opinion, that does not look like a loss of GPS. More like a loss of power and it just so happens it was over the Thames.

    It also looks as if it was being flown manually also.
  • Unfortunately I think that means its going to get expensive. For commercial user systems used near people I can see mandatory sense and avoid, failure resilient avionics, ballistic recovery system, enclosed props or better yet no props at all and at least some calculations proving the strength and fatigue resistance of critical parts. The group as a whole will benefit.
  • Moderator

    In the USA that's the job of ASTM F-38 the UK because of its 193 operators gathering real world data is formulating its plans based on that.

    The professional sUAS space is going to look very different in Europe in two years time. In America not so much, it won't have started yet.

  • Funny you should say that Gary...I'm about 45 mins away from BD. I'm already designing out these kinds of failure modes. This is a failure mode that should have been thoroughly designed out at design.

    What with the recent posts on a death and on injuries I think it's about time some minimum standards were being talked about for design of UAS outside of major aerospace companies.
  • Yes, they do claim that.  They state that they had a partial loss of control, and decided to ditch it in the river rather than risk crashing into the crowd.

  • Does someone claim that the drone was ditched on purpose? Looks like a free fall crash to me, just lucky it hit the water....

  • Moderator

    Fair points, what has happened to date is that systems have been signed off by folks with less than full knowledge. That is about to change. Off the shelf Chinese systems will not get through as easily in the future which is a good thing for professional flight. If I were to start a UA manufacturing business in the UK now I would base it near Salisbury and in particular Boscombe Down so I could be near the centre of excellence a spot to get guidance on best practice.

  • I would also be questioning that mounting system.  Was the system intact on take-off, but of such flimsy construction that it broke mid-air without warning or any ability for the operator to predict the failure?  Then it needs to be redesigned.

  • There's no doubt that ditching was a better option than hitting the crowd.  I'm just asking how it got to that point.  That's what the CAA should be asking.

    IMO, the GPS and Mag systems are secondary pilot aids.  The failure of these systems should not force a ditching or crash of the aircraft.  The debate actually parallels the recent 777 crash.  The pilots should be very comfortable flying full manual.  Similarly, the loss of these systems should not cause a failure of the flight controller.  If the flight controller does not allow manual flying, due to the loss of GPS, then that flight controller should be disqualified from professional operation.

    That is what I am seeing at this point, reports that this was a Wookong-M, and that it cannot fly in manual mode if the GPS fails, due to some kind of error.  That's unacceptable if it's true. 

  • Moderator

    Well... of course in the USA there is absolutely no procedure for this sort of reporting. Probably is in Canada. Ditching was a better option than hitting the crowd however painful it must have been for the operator.

    More backstory storyline

    I did learn of a meeting earlier this week where airworthyness was discussed and a general tightening of the system for getting an approval. So I would hurry up and get one if you are thinking about it in the UK.

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