25 Aug 16. Tech Issues Cause Most Drone Accidents: Research. Technical problems are to blame for the majority of drone-related accidents rather than their operators, according to researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Researchers Dr Graham Wild and Dr Glenn Baxter from RMIT University’s School of Engineering, along with John Murray from Edith Cowan University, completed the first examination of more than 150 reported civil incidents around the world involving drones, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The study showed technical problems were the cause of 64 per cent of the incidents, which occurred between 2006 and 2016.
Wild said their findings illustrated the need for further airworthiness requirements for RPAS vehicles, as well as the mandatory reporting of all accidents or incidents.
“Understanding what happens to drones, even those that don’t cause damage to people or property, is essential to improve safety,” he said.
The research came about after an incident earlier this year involving a drone and a British Airways Airbus A320 at Heathrow Airport.
Recently published in the journal Aerospace, the study found that in most cases, broken communications links between the pilot and the RPAS were the cause of the incident, leading the researchers to call for the introduction of commercial aircraft-type regulations to govern the communications systems.
“Large transport category aircraft, such as those from a Boeing or Airbus, are required to have triple redundant systems for their communications,” Wild said.
“But drones don’t and some of the improvements that have reduced the risks in those aircraft could also be used to improve the safety of drones.”
Wild said more robust communications systems, even on cheaper RPAS, could help prevent accidents. Part of the problem with current regulations was related to the large difference in size between those drones that required licences and those that didn’t, he said. Wild said drones weighing less than 25kg did not require any airworthiness certificate, just licences for the pilot, despite the potential damage that could be caused if they failed while flying in a built-up area.
“Drones are being used for a wide range of tasks now and there are a lot of day-to-day activities that people want to use them for – delivering pizzas and packages, taking photos, geosurveying, firefighting, and search and rescue,” he said.
“It’s essential that our safety regulations keep up with this rapidly-growing industry.” (Source: UAS VISION)
25 Aug 16. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. today announced that the company’s new Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Flight Training Academy graduated its first cadre of GA-ASI aircrews on August 12th.
“Our first graduates have benefitted from safe, effective, cutting-edge training that will enable them to support flight operations for our global customers,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “We look forward to providing the same high-quality training services to our customers’ aircrews to meet their growing demands in the very near future.”
GA-ASI’s North Dakota-based Flight Training Academy now demonstrates a dramatic reduction in the time required to train qualified aircrew, thereby expanding the company’s ability to meet the growing demand for Predator®-series UAS and the aircrew required to fly them. Prior to the Academy’s opening in June, training occurred at the company’s California flight operations facilities, where long logistical pipelines stretched aircrew instruction to as long as six months. Today, students can complete their UAS training in as little as two months. Pilots complete 15 flights (36 hours), 25 simulator lessons (59 hours), and 114 hours of academic studies. Sensor operator training time is similar with the exception that slightly fewer hours are required for graduation. Three pilots comprised the Academy’s first graduating class. Five additional pilots and six sen