Tag Archives: accidents

UAV085 NTSB: Putting Some “English” on Drone Investigations

NTSB investigates unmanned aircraft accidents

We speak with Bill English from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about that agency’s investigations of unmanned aircraft accidents. Bill talks about the scope of their involvement, the data available to investigators, and the similarities to manned aircraft. We also talk about the FAA NPRM and the role of the NTSB when FAA enforcement penalties are appealed.

Guest

Bill English - NTSBBill English is an Investigator-in-Charge in the Major Investigations Division of the Office of Aviation Safety.  He has been with the NTSB since 1999 as an investigator on major air carrier events such as Asiana Boeing 777 in San Francisco and the B747 cargo fire in Dubai.

Bill is also the NTSB’s resource for unmanned aircraft investigations. He has built and flown his own small multi-rotor system, and trained on numerous platforms up to the MQ-9.  He was also responsible for developing the NTSB’s civil unmanned aircraft accident regulations, investigations manual, and training programs.

In addition to his NTSB responsibilities, Bill is a certified instrument flight instructor and commercial pilot in single and multi-engine airplanes; has flown aerial observation, corporate, and electronics test aircraft; and has extensive experience in flight inspection and advanced navigation technology.  He holds degrees in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University, in Geospatial Intelligence from Penn State, and also graduated from the USAF Mishap Investigation Course.

The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation – railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, the NTSB carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the Federal Government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members impacted by major transportation disasters.

Mentioned

Aviation Gateway Park Brings Innovation, Education and UAVs AirVenture

The latest innovations, unmanned drone demonstrations, and a world of possibilities for young aviation enthusiasts are part of the new Aviation Gateway Park that makes its debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.

One of the highlights of Aviation Gateway Park will be a new “Drone Cage,” where unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be demonstrated each day during AirVenture. Manufacturer demos, educational presentations, obstacle course contests, and free flight can be viewed from all sides of the cage, including from bleachers inside the Park’s Innovations Center. Companies interested in exhibiting and demonstrating should contact EAA’s exhibits office at exhibits@eaa.org.

 

UAV035 Listening to You!

X-47B UCAS

The X-47B UCAS-D team wins the Collier Trophy, drones and Bluefins and the search for Malaysia Flight 370, the UK CAA convicts a drone pilot, and listener feedback.

The News:

Legendary Collier Trophy Awarded to X-47B Team

The 2013 Robert J. Collier Trophy has been awarded to the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) team by the National Aeronautic Association. The team was selected for “developing and demonstrating the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”

How Drones Could Have Helped Find Malaysia Air Flight 370

UAVs could be used more extensively for search and rescue operations. We have aircraft like the AeroVironment Global Observer, Lockheed Martin’s High Altitude Airship, and Boeing’s Phantom Eye. Hopefully someday soon these and others could be used for missions like the search for MH 370.

Boston-Area Underwater Robot To Aid Search For Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

The Bluefin-21 from Bluefin Robotics is an 18 foot autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUV, that uses side-scan sonars to create a mosaic image, like an ultrasound.

UK’s first drone conviction will bankrupt me, says Cumbrian man

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) prosecuted a man for the dangerous and illegal flying an unmanned aircraft near a nuclear submarine testing facility.

From Listener Feedback:

‘River of blood’ after drone ‘hits’ Australian athlete
Triathlete injured as drone filming race falls to ground
Triathlete injured in drone incident
CASA investigating Geraldton drone incident

A UAV injures an athlete, but what really happened?

Lehmann Aviation

The LA100 is called a flying platform for GoPro users. It’s RTF, fixed wing, fully autonomous, with communications via WiFi, and a five minute flight time.

E-Waste Quadcopter Lifts Your Spirits While Keeping Costs Down

A quadcopter made out of junk: plywood, 140mm PC fans over-driven to 15,000 RPM by a 24V Dewalt cordless tool battery. Its controlled by an Arduino running MultiWii control software using sensors from a Nintendo Wii remote. Its dated April 1, but a fun idea nonetheless.

Drones on ice

After trials in Japan, a DJI Phantom and GoPro are being used to study sea ice and climate change.

Drones Over Dolphin Stampede and Whales off Dana Point and Maui

Great aerial video.

Drone Saves Puppy Trapped In Stony Creek Swamp

A one year old beagle got himself lost in the cattails of a muddy swamp in Connecticut. He couldn’t be located until a fire department drone woke him up, and his barking led rescuers to the dog. This is the same fire department that used a DJI Phantom in the quarry fire in January.

UAV User Groups – See the Thirty Thousand Feet UAV page for some drone user groups. Send us yours if its not listed.

Game of Drones

Mounting a paintball gun. (Don’t try this at home.)

FAA Unswayed by Do-Good Drones

Texas EquuSearch fights back.

Mentioned:

Become a Pilot Family Day and Aviation Display – The annual Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum event at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Bring your family for a great day, and meet Max and David. June 14, 2014.

UAV 004 Goosebusting by Hexacopter

Flamewheel 550

This Episode:

Using a hexacopter for wildlife management, airline pilots are concerned about UAVs, a copter goes into a crowd, wildfire fighting with a Predator, a sea-faring drone, building a ground station, and a Chinese attack UAV under development.

The News:

Canada plans to use hexacopter drones in war against geese

GOOSEBUSTER_600An Ottawa beach has been plagued by geese despite attempts to scare them off with trained dogs, loud noises, and other means. Along comes Steve Wambolt, the owner of Aerial Perspective, with a Flame Wheel 550 hexacopter and an idea, and he’s successfully used the craft to drive most of the geese away.

 

Pilot Group Expresses Concern Over Sharing the Sky With Drones

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) representing over 59,000 airline pilots issued (in April 2011) a white paper, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Challenges for Safely Operating in the National Airspace System” which says, “The fundamental function of operating the aircraft in a safe manner must be maintained at the same level of safety regardless of the location of the pilot or the levels of automation.” Military UAS operations do not meet this criteria. 

When Drones fall from the Skies

At an event called the Great Bull Run at a racetrack in Virginia, a drone copter with a camera flying over the stands, suddenly veered downward and into the crowd. Five people suffered minor injuries. 

Predator UAV Provides Surveillance in Battle Against Yosemite Fire

The MQ-1 Predator is flown for 22 Hours in support of the RIM fire in Yosemite National Park. The 163rd Reconnaissance Wing of the California Air National Guard out of Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport used Infrared cameras to determine hot spots and contained areas, and provided real time images to people on the ground.

Transatlantic Drone Takes to the Sea

It’s not aerial, but it is a drone. It’s an unmanned robotic boat called the Scout designed by students in seven colleges to cross the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow the progress of the craft at the Scout Transatlantic website.

Tearing an old laptop apart to build a ground control station

Here, parts from an old broken laptop and some other components are assembled in a Pelican case as a ground station. The DIY community is very active in the unmanned vehicle arena. It’s a bit like the early days of the personal computer when the term “hacker” meant something positive that geeks aspired to.

China’s ‘Sharp Sword’ stealth UAV to make first flight one year later

China’s “Sharp Sword” attack unmanned aerial vehicle has been seen taxiing around and was captured on video. It looks a little like the X-47B. The report is that we will see a first flight in one year.