Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By gaxor
#1827506
Hairyplane wrote:'Nobody died'.....
Nobody died either as a consequence of minor airspace infringements in recent years, yet which often resulted in Draconian enforcement action by the CAA including licence suspension, loss of Display Authorisation, 'mandatory' online exam etc, all seemingly with disregard to due legal process.

HP


Yet!
I think in this case there is some cause for concern regarding the rules of operation.
Nobody died when vintage jet fighters did some dramatic display flying .... until they did!

I would suggest that a flying device weighing several kg, in controlled airspace with no conspicuity and out of control flying in blatant disregard of the operators own assurances, represented a massive risk. It was an accident waiting to happen.
#1827509
You are told not to drink drive. If you drink drive and crash, that is your fault, not the police's. There is some spot checking and enforcement of this, especially if an incident happens, but that spot checking is to remind people that they need to comply and might get caught if they don't. You aren't checked every day you leave the house.

Now whether this operator should have been subject to additional checks, as this was their first UK operation, or whether their international credentials should have been verified, is a different question (perhaps one or the other should have happened). However to me, that is the only real CAA failing here. The rest are splitting hairs.
#1827519
Miscellaneous wrote:
riverrock wrote:However to me, that is the only real CAA failing here. The rest are splitting hairs.


The bods at the AAIB don't seem to agree with you. :wink:


As so often the analogy (with drink drive) is simply not appropriate.
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#1827562
Miscellaneous wrote:
riverrock wrote:Some of it is balance decisions though - we shouldn't expect (and wouldn't want) the CAA to gold plate everything. This was a prototype, using prototype build quality, by a small company, for a single demo. To me its right that the CAA should be able to trust what is sent to them, then the fault becomes that of the operator if they don't follow their own procedures. There is a question of checking that those procedures and systems are complied with, but I wouldn't expect that to happen for every operator on every occasion.

Mmm, is it right to trust, not only an unknown operator and aircraft, but one from the other side of the world? If this operator wasn't deserving of checks, what scenario would be? :?

Absolutely. Moreover, the report says that the CAA UAS Sector Team had two "Technical Surveyors". It sounds to me as though that job is precisely what was not done here - to check the technical competence of a previously unknown organisation who were asking for exemption from the ANO. Visiting them before granting the exemption and looking at the craft would have been a good start.

One can only hope that their reported plans to recruit two more Surveyors have come to fruition by employing some better qualified and experienced people.
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#1827565
With such a significant CAS infringement, if a GA pilot had done this would they get a day in court, criminal record, loss of licence, fine, infringement course and sent back to flying school to do the PPL course again to pass test to get licence back?
If yes to any/all of that, I think the drone operator should be treated just as severely to demonstrate fairness.

If it had downed an airliner, could it be corporate manslaughter for the company developing the drone?
#1827569
GAFlyer4Fun wrote: [...] the company developing the drone?

It is a vanity garage project by a couple of boys 'developing' toys for other boys to play with. Corporate manslaughter maybe but the company certainly has no funds and probably no insurance (should that be expected from an operator like this?) so apart from throwing the Aussies in jail, there would be precious little recourse available to any claimants.

Of course, the FOS has done nothing wrong except trying to make money out of attracting this sort of people to come and demonstrate their toys to the boys...

When I started going to the FOS, the revival etc. down at Goodwood it was full of interesting people. Nowadays (2 year ago...) it seemed to be mostly wide boys who want to show how thick their wallets are. The people running it seem to be all in it for the money but little else anymore. The report also mentions and underplays the importance of the pressure the CAA was under to get this exemption granted. I wonder who applied that pressure ...
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#1827573
I suspect the company made their way back to Australia pronto.
It does feel that they should be responsible for the ANO breeches which were clearly intentional (my "law broken" annotations in previous comment).

I'm much more hesitant however on whether infringing after a loss of control should be punished.
It would be like being prosecuted for infringing an ATZ because you were flying over the top, your engine failed, you broadcast a mayday on the right frequency, then turned your electrics off before you received a reply.
The fact that your engine failed because your last oil change only existed because you wrote it in the log book (you didn't actually do anything with the oil) shouldn't cause you to be prosecuted for the infringement.
User avatar
By Josh
#1827578
Reading between the lines there seems to have been a bit of a cleanup at the company involving what I suspect is a number of sackings.
#1827600
riverrock wrote:It would be like being prosecuted for infringing an ATZ because you were flying over the top, your engine failed, you broadcast a mayday on the right frequency, then turned your electrics off before you received a reply.
The fact that your engine failed because your last oil change only existed because you wrote it in the log book (you didn't actually do anything with the oil) shouldn't cause you to be prosecuted for the infringement.

Poor analogy rr, IMO. :D Not changing the oil is not comparable with non compliance with a foreign authorities numerous conditions for granting of an exemption. Several counts of downright negligence. Essentially showing the CAA the middle finger... :naughty:

Josh wrote:Reading between the lines there seems to have been a bit of a cleanup at the company involving what I suspect is a number of sackings.

Interesting, given the operator was already in the UK prior to being granted the exemption and on the assumption some employees were down under, I read it that they left not wanting to be associated with the operator/incident. Maybe I didn't read it thoroughly enough?
#1827604
riverrock wrote:I'm much more hesitant however on whether infringing after a loss of control should be punished.
It would be like being prosecuted for infringing an ATZ because you were flying over the top, your engine failed, you broadcast a mayday on the right frequency, then turned your electrics off before you received a reply. .


Although GA that flies under CAS and then hits a thermal putting them into CAS due to a temporary loss of control ends and other handling/navigation misdemeanours contributes to GA being 'told' to give a 200 ft buffer vertically or risk prosecution or attendance of the infringement course.

A number of times I have heard ATC debating such things with pilots that are "inside" according to the radar.... some pilots try to disagree, some are apologetic, and some try to do the flying equivalent of a runner.
#1827607
RR, not sure what you are trying to achieve but to me it reads that you are trying to defend the indefensible.

The drone operators were nothing better than a set of cowboys, operating a toy that was not fit for purpose, and there was zero effective oversight or subsequent regulatory action.

That there was no further damage done was sheer luck and not down to either the operators or the regulator.

40m is not very for for 95kg drone traveling at terminal velocity.

It takes less than one second to travel that far at those speeds.
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#1827632
Dominie wrote:I'm sure Genghis will have a view on this (if he hasn't hit his head too hard on the wall). I hope I'm not being unduly hard on them. If the CAA is taking various functions for GA back into UK control, I just hope that it is better than this.

AAIB and then Flyer have done such a great job, I'm not sure my views are needed.

But I will point out that rushed engineering + inadequate preparation + political pressure + inadequately competent authority, is the same playbook as Titanic, Vickers Vulcan, R101, and Challenger.

I could also do a quick sum and say that a 95kg object at 8000ft has a potential energy of 2.3MJ, you'll lose a bit through drag as it falls, but that's about the same energy as is released by exploding half a kilogramme of TNT. That would have smarted a bit if it had been 40m elsewhere and landed on that house.

I may write it up as a case study for my students in aerospace engineering ethics sometime mind you.

G
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