The explosion nearly jolted Barbara Trent out of bed. At first she thought someone had bombed the high-desert scrubland where she lives in southern Arizona.
When daylight arrived a few hours later April 25, Trent and her neighbors realized that what they heard wasn't a bomb at all. Instead, an unmanned drone the government uses to monitor the nearby Mexican border had slammed into a hillside near several homes.
The Predator B, which weighs as much as 10,500 pounds and has a wingspan of 66 feet, had been crippled when its operator accidentally switched off its engine. It glided as close as 100 feet above two homes before striking the ground, says Tom Duggin, the owner of one of the houses. "If it had hit my house, I'd be dead," says Trent, whose home is about 1,000 feet from the crash site.
USA Today: Crash stirs debate on drone safety
... and then there was this...
Crashes of drone planes flying over the USA are worrying pilots and lawmakers who fear that a surge in interest by federal and local agencies to use the unmanned aircraft could lead to danger in the skies.
USA Today : Safety a concern as drones catch on
I'm really excited about the CAP border mission finally getting spun up.
There's plenty on this blog about UAVs.
I did some quick math this weekend... for the same hourly cost of flying a single RQ-1 Predator over U.S. airspace, CAP could put 65 aircraft into the air.
Reports say we're starting with three.
CAP could darken the skies with between Yuma and Nogales with manned airplanes for the cost of operating one flying robot.