Jump to content

Drone crashes near Gatwick


Andy Stephenson
 Share

Recommended Posts

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-56112694

 

Not a hobby drone thank goodness. It was apparently on a test flight from Goodwood but went out of control and crashed in a field inside NATS airspace.

The "Sussex Police said the force undertook a thorough investigation which did not identify any suspects." Well of course they haven't because it was a mechanical failure but I suppose they were looking for a hobbyist to blame anyway such is their incompetence in such matters.

 

Andy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a bit more to it than going out of control and crashing. It was being tested doing circuits at Goodwood. It had approval for this, but there were lots of issues regarding the build quality and procedures used.

When control was lost, instead of the motors cutting as you would expect if fail-safe set, the motors accelerated at full power until the drone reached a height of 8000ft. It only stopped climbing when the batteries failed and it crashed 40m from a house.

The most astonishing thing is that this was a 90kg, 3metre long scale prototype of a planned manned racing machine. Good luck getting that approved!

Here's the full accident report.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/602bb22f8fa8f50388f9f000/Alauda_Airspeeder_Mk_II_UAS_reg_na_03-21.pdf

 

Edited by Gary Manuel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just read through most of that report and it concluded that the build quality of the control system was very amateurish and not to any proper industry standard. The operator lied about the existence of a  return to home facility and didn't complete the risk assessment properly. All this together with using illegal control frequencies which almost certainly caused the fly-away in the first place. Even if the battery cut-out hadn't come disabled, this system running on 433MHz really is asking for trouble as it is one of the junk bands that all sorts of unlicensed transmissions happen on as well as licenced Ham radio. The CAA didn't have the manpower to inspect it properly, had they done so it should never had been allowed to fly.

 

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose that one could say that this sort of incident is (thankfully) a rare occurrence, and lessons will be learned by all those involved etc etc blah blah blah.

It is a bit rich for the authorities to claim lack of resources after all the resources they managed to conjure up to shackle aeromodellers and responsible drone flyers as they have done as of late.

I'm amazed that even the Sussex police appear to have taken a step away from it by saying that  "the force undertook a thorough investigation which did not identify any suspects". Really? An experimental 95Kg UAV with by all accounts, an alleged  highly dubious technical background,  runs amok and enters Gatwick Airspace and then  crashes close to people, yet no one can be held responsible for breaking a shed load of aviation regs?

 

"There were no injuries caused by this accident but the potential for a more serious outcome was clear."  according to the chief inspector of air accidents no less. You can imagine the fuss, front page headlines and the calls for blood if it was a regular model aircraft weighing a few kilos or less. 

 

They even have wreckage and the operators responsible, rather than some imagined sighting or some poor devils getting their door broken down as wrongly blamed suspects.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We need to avoid any schadenfreude over this, in truth a potentially very serious outcome with far reaching repercussions was narrowly missed by virtue of sheer luck. And luck is something that doesn't sit well when talking about aviation safety, full size or models or whether regulations are being followed or ignored.

,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Compare what was done to give this an exemption compared to what we go through for the above 25kg scheme and the LMA certification process for both the model and the pilot of the model. At this scale we would not be relying on a lashed up control system, but have high end radios with dual receivers, perhaps with both 2.4GHz and 900MHz frequencies, dual power supplies, failsafe, telemetry etc.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make no mistake, this incident could yet have very significant impact on recreational model flyers in the long run. There is a long list of ugly looking regulations in the AAIB report; here’s a just a few that could affect us. The 80J one is particularly worrying...

 

9C4A7C77-2665-41F0-8133-716016386FAF.jpeg

051ECBA9-D3AE-41F1-B00C-A7E8409B3FCE.jpeg

9CB5A930-9584-4219-AA34-B7E528E96EFA.jpeg


Key takeaway - National association members are operating under an operational authorisation that could be changed or cancelled very easily, and it is not just the behaviour of model flyers that can trigger that because we are grouped together with many other types of UAS. 
 

Edited by MattyB
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, PeterF said:

Compare what was done to give this an exemption compared to what we go through for the above 25kg scheme and the LMA certification process for both the model and the pilot of the model. At this scale we would not be relying on a lashed up control system, but have high end radios with dual receivers, perhaps with both 2.4GHz and 900MHz frequencies, dual power supplies, failsafe, telemetry etc.

Kerching!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Cassandra said:

My Easyglider is probably "capable of imparting over 80 joules of energy".


Exactly. That is why we should be concerned by this and future incidents that will follow as personal transport and BVLOS commercial drones are developed - mistakes they make could have significant repercussions for us even though our models are operated very differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always been under the impression that aircraft prototypes are subject of rigorous examination not just of the plans but also construction etc. Know I appreciate that this was a model for concept for an ultimate manned vehicle.

Where was the scrutiny by the CAA, why if the operator was using an illegal radio frequency and other attendant violations was no prosecution forthcoming. If the AAIB and CAA use this to add onerous regulation on our hobby then I think the hobby and its governing bodies should turn the fire on the clear failing of those organisations that allegedly promote safety. 
 I am aware that much of the regulation came about as the result of monetising airspace for commercial use. It would be interesting to see what those bodies do/did to sanction those quads (drones) that will be making unmanned deliveries in this airspace. If they have done so and granted some kind of airworthy certificate then surely this should have been subject to the same scrutiny.

If prosecutions are going to be made against individuals then at least we should have some confidence in their ability to undertake object investigation. If they cannot then they should be challenged and their shortcomings exposed and rectified. As for the Police I think they just left it with the AAIB.

Pretty shabby all round I think

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unreal, the radio system fitted was a Frsky longrange 900 MHZ system using 915 MHz as allowed in Australia, normally set with a 1W Tx power output, this is the Frsky FCC system, for the UK/EU it has to be 868 MHz with a max power of 25 mW, but the FCC settings doesn't have a 25 mW setting, so they selected 10mW!, so not only an illegal frequency but also at much low power, on top of not having any RTH or properly set failsafe.

 

If they had cared to contact any FrSky dealer in the UK they could probably have been provided with the correct Tx and Rx for UK operations,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this hobby is going to be a very rich persons pastime, an "mot" for the model and "licence" for the pilot etc., not to mention more sophisticated radio equipment and aircraft "black box" flight recorder.

 

I am very surprised, shocked, that the "car drone" was not inspected in detail.

 

Did you watch the chitty chitty bang bang program "drone" ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point Dick, my 1/4 scale Cub would impart around 2000 Joules and my old Yak54 around 7000 at a measured 120 mph.

 

Let alone the fact that it seems to have been operating at the sort of power levels (I realise that frequency has an effect here) that we'd expect in range check or an early indoor only 2.4 GHz set, it sounds like the normal receiver fail safe must have been set to full power, not idle or shut, as required by normal UK regulations.

 

We allowed a professional aerial surveying organisation to use our field at one time and the care and organisation of their procedures was exemplary and as you'd expect from a professional organisation.  The CAA appears to have been sadly lacking in their supervision of this exemption from normal processes - we can only hope that they are aware of their own shortcomings and learn from people like the ones operating like these and of course, the acknowledged experts in large UASs, the LMA.

 

...and don't get me started on a last resort "fail unsafe" system!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AAIB recommendation 2021-014 mandates >80J to be subject of CAA regulation on design standards, construction, maintenance and reliability.

So my 2kg glider doing 20mph has just about 80J kinetic energy, and is to be the subject of the Campaign Against Aviation (aka CAA)'s scrutiny.

Are they serious? I can only hope not...

Surely the 80J is a misprint!

I have put this question forward to the BMFA's Question Time night this Thursday. Am I alone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Alan Dixon 1 said:

.................................

Surely the 80J is a misprint!

...............

Unfortunately I doubt it.

 

80J is already in CAP 722 in relation to some class of UAS, I quote :-

"are made and perform in a way that if they collide with a human head, the energy transmitted will be less than 80 Joules"

 

I therefore assume 80J is a recognised level for avoiding head injury.

It is not mentioned in the "Article 16 Authorisation" issued to the BMFA (and three other organisations) so let us hope we can keep it that way.

 

Dick

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i reckon all who were involved with this accident waiting to happen and allowing the thing to leave the ground should be held to account....more so if they had an opportunity to examine the thing before it left the ground...the officials who were on site have ended up with egg on their faces and proved the point that the procedures are wrong........god knows what would have happened had there been any full size aircraft in the sky....and so near to Gatwick! 

 

and i suppose this will happen again with all the over the counter tech that is easily available for anyone to buy and have a go a making what ever they think up....once it leaves terra firma that's the dodgy bit............i don't see how they can tar us with the same brush.....as we modellers(most anyway) do as we know what is correct...and safely.

 

ken anderson...ne..1......... tar dept.

Edited by ken anderson.
crepe grammar dept
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ken anderson. said:

i reckon all who were involved with this accident waiting to happen and allowing the thing to leave the ground should be held to account....more so if they had an opportunity to examine the thing before it left the ground...the officials who were on site have ended up with egg on their faces and proved the point that the procedures are wrong........god knows what would have happened had there been any full size aircraft in the sky....and so near to Gatwick! 

 

and i suppose this will happen again with all the over the counter tech that is easily available for anyone to buy and have a go a making what ever they think up....once it leaves terra firma that's the dodgy bit............i don't see how they can tar us with the same brush.....as we modellers(most anyway) do as we know what is correct...and safely.

 

ken anderson...ne..1......... tar dept.

Just in the interests of clarity and accuracy, as already noted earlier in the thread, NOT near Gatwick - it must be easily 20 - 25 miles as the crow flies from Chichester (Goodwood) to LGW. The 'drone' (or whatever it was) did however climb to an estimated 8000 ft into the LGW approach holding pattern airspace above the South Downs.

The closest shave was the proximity to the edge of the Chichester  city - if the wind had been greater, who knows what it might have come down on!!

Kim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 20/02/2021 at 21:35, MattyB said:

Make no mistake, this incident could yet have very significant impact on recreational model flyers in the long run. There is a long list of ugly looking regulations in the AAIB report; here’s a just a few that could affect us. The 80J one is particularly worrying...

 

9C4A7C77-2665-41F0-8133-716016386FAF.jpeg

051ECBA9-D3AE-41F1-B00C-A7E8409B3FCE.jpeg

9CB5A930-9584-4219-AA34-B7E528E96EFA.jpeg


Key takeaway - National association members are operating under an operational authorisation that could be changed or cancelled very easily, and it is not just the behaviour of model flyers that can trigger that because we are grouped together with many other types of UAS. 
 

 

Interesting... the recent BMFA Q&A video featured the CAA, and they discussed the AAIB recommendations. Sounds like the CAA are keen to make sure there are not "disproportionate requirements put in place", but they "need to have discussions with AAIB to clarify a few things"...

 

Watch from ~38 mins in...

 

 

Edited by MattyB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...