domingo, 22 de junio de 2014

EEUU pierde más de 400 UAVs en accidentes


En el periodo del 2001 a comienzos del 2014 EEUU ha perdido en accidentes más de 400 UAVs (418 parece ser la cifra precisa). Las razones para ello, según el análisis del Washington Post han sido:

- Limitada capacidad de detección de obstáculos:
  • A limited ability to detect and avoid trouble. Cameras and high-tech sensors on a drone cannot fully replace a pilot’s eyes and ears and nose in the cockpit. Most remotely controlled planes are not equipped with radar or anti-collision systems designed to prevent midair disasters.

- Error del piloto:
  • Pilot error. Despite popular perceptions, flying a drone is much trickier than playing a video game. The Air Force licenses its drone pilots and trains them constantly, but mistakes are still common, particularly during landings. In four cases over a three-year period, Air Force pilots committed errors so egregious that they were investigated for suspected dereliction of duty.

- Persistencia de los fallos mecánicos:
  • Persistent mechanical defects. Some common drone models were designed without backup safety features and rushed to war without the benefit of years of testing. Many accidents were triggered by basic electrical malfunctions; others were caused by bad weather. Military personnel blamed some mishaps on inexplicable problems. The crews of two doomed Predators that crashed in 2008 and 2009 told investigators that their respective planes had been “possessed” and plagued by “demons.”

- Enlaces de comunicaciones no-fiables:

  • Unreliable communications links. Drones are dependent on wireless transmissions to relay commands and navigational information, usually via satellite. Those connections can be fragile. Records show that links were disrupted or lost in more than a quarter of the worst crashes.

When drones fall from the sky
More than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation.
Since the outbreak of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, military drones have malfunctioned in myriad ways, plummeting from the sky because of mechanical breakdowns, human error, bad weather and other reasons, according to more than 50,000 pages of accident investigation reports and other records obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

... el análisis al completo en 

El análisis incide en varios incidentes en los que los UAVs estuvieron a punto de causar un accidente grave incluyendo uno en septiembre del 2009 en el que un Reaper tuvo que ser derribado por cazas estadounidenses tras la pérdida de su control...

Several military drones have simply disappeared while at cruising altitudes, never to be seen again. In September 2009, an armed Reaper drone, with a 66-foot wingspan, flew on the loose across Afghanistan after its handlers lost control of the aircraft. U.S. fighter jets shot it down as it neared Tajikistan.

... lo que sirve para poner sobre la mesa el debate que viene sobre la operación de los vehículos aéreos no-tripulados en el entorno de la aviación comercial y los riesgos que esto supondría. 

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