drone-carrying-asparagus-netherlands.jpg?width=736April 14, 2015 From International Business Times

A publicity stunt that involved using a consumer quadcopter drone to deliver vegetables to a restaurant in the Netherlands has literally crashed and burned.

The De Zwann Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant in the Netherlands always puts on an exciting publicity stunt to mark the beginning of the asparagus season.

In previous years, owner Ronald Peijenburg has used everything from a Formula 1 racing car to a hot air balloon and a helicopter to deliver the very first asparagus of the season, and this year he wanted to try flying a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Initially the journey from the asparagus farm started well, with the drone taking off carrying a metal can consisting of several asparagus stalks. In the interest of safety, the pilot followed in the back of a small pick-up truck, so the drone was always in line-of-sight, with the stunt being filmed by a local TV channel.

The drone landed safely during the journey to get its battery changed before taking off again, however, on the second take off, the drone crashed onto a thankfully quiet country road, and both the drone and the asparagus it was carrying went up in flames.

"Yeah, that wasn't funny. You think you have a cool idea – with a drone – how original can you be? Picking up asparagus with a drone," Peijenburg told Netherlands regional broadcaster Omroep Brabant after the drone crashed.

"This is very, very sad because it was an amateur pilot, the owner of the drone, who organised this especially for me and brings his own toys. So this wasn't supposed to happen of course."

Nevertheless, the first asparagus of the season was still delivered by more traditional methods to the restaurant and is now on the menu.

People in various fields have been trying out many different use cases for drones – some that work, and some not so much. In July 2014, a drone operator lent his UAV to the hunt for a missing elderly man in Wisconsin and was able to find him within 20 minutes after an unsuccessful three-day police hunt.

Meanwhile in February, a restaurant chain in Singapore announced that it will be using drones to ease the load on its waiters by getting the UAVs to deliver food and drink from the kitchen and bar to the seating areas.

However, a stunt in December where TGI Friday wanted to have drones carrying sprigs of mistletoe hovering over customers at its restaurants in New York failed spectacularly, with thedrone crashing into a woman's face and cutting open her nose.

Back in Amsterdam, an event organiser has announced AIR 2015, the first ever live entertainment show featuring UAVs, that will take place later this year, working together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. 

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  • did you guys notice that the "cargo" was not secured? unsecured cargo especially in a bucket will rattle causing strong low frequency vibrations which could make FC thinking of suicide....  

  • I just want the truck they were using.

  • My Dutch is limited to near cognates with English, but this video gave me a laugh when I managed to hear them say "roasted asparagus".   ...And then the guy blowing on the wreckage like he might actually be able to put it out by forcing some oxygen into the flames.  The Dutch have a pretty good sense of humor.

  • Developer

    This bring me back to one of my pet peeves, the mentality with regard to crashes you find among some UAS pilots with little or no R/C background. Any R/C pilot will tell you that it's not a matter of if you are going to crash, but how often. Adding a computer to the mix, does not magically make it crash proof. The crash IS STILL GOING TO HAPPEN, just hopefully less frequently then before.

  • Looks like a shift in the COG maybe caused the crash? If I had to guess he probably didn't secure the battery well after changing it. Also, looks like the battery was cut with the propellers as the motors were still spinning when it was upside down on the ground with the battery unsecured. Once the separator inside the cell is cut the bi-cells will internally short leading to thermal runaway especially since the flammable electrolyte is exposed to air from the cut in the cell pouch. 

    Here's another crash with a fire, looks like the propellers just nicked the battery when it came loose too.


    Plastic hard cases on batteries could prevent this but would add weight.  

  • This is sad event,  at least they state it was an amateur pilot.  "lots can happen fast"

    If it was a battery issue or FOD needs to be known, To me it looks like not a lack of power but F/C issues.

    At least there was a safe distance for the people. :-) good work there..

    " my profile pic has a juice 6.8 oz bottle hanging from it to deliver"   so this can be done safely....

  • That's not an s900, it doesn't have inclined arms. Looks more like a T960. I don't know why everyone's hating on the 6s multistar batteries so much. I've had good reliability from them. At hover my pixhawk s900 draws about 45A, which from a 16k battery is 2.8C. The batteries barely get warm.

  • Hi all the community!

    It was in South of France, Nice in May 2014 on the beach.

    No injuries...

    Article in French.



  • Yeah, and the 10C Multistars are really only good to 5C at most.  Anything over 2C continuous starts to tax them.  But I don't think that was the issue.  If it was a power failure, it would just fall.  Maybe tilt.  But not like that.  That looks like the flight controller intentionally committing suicide.

  • all these people keep saaying "lets use drones" and all they use is quadcopters or hex's, I think part of the problem is people in general are using the wrong airframe to do some of the jobs.

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