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Remote drone flying with video camera on board.

Drones, not human error, to blame for accidents


Researchers from RMIT in Melbourne have conducted a study into drone accidents, which has revealed interesting trends attributing accidents to the airworthiness of units rather than poor airmanship.

The research found technical problems were the cause of 64 per cent of civilian incidents which occurred between 2006 and 2016. Dr Wild from RMIT University’s School of Engineering has looked into 150 drone related reported accidents around the world in the past decade. He said if a drone pilot lost radio connection with a drone and did not manage to recover the link quickly, it was likely to crash.

The report has been published during an interesting period for the unmanned sector. As of 29 September, rules and regulations which apply to commercial activities using remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) less than 2kg are relaxed. More information on the rule changes can be found here.

Earlier this week, a motorist traveling across the Harbour Bridge came to a sudden halt after it was struck by a drone. The motorist handed over the damaged drone to bridge security staff and reported the incident to Castle Hill police, who are investigating.

A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman said there was restricted airspace around the bridge affecting all aircraft, including drones. He said the fines for breaching safety regulations ranged from $900 to $9000.

AvLaw subsidiary UAS International specialises in auditing and technical consultancy services for anyone looking to engage drone operators as part of their integration into existing and new business processes.

Despite the often negative connotations associated with drone use, UAS International aims to develop solutions to integrate their use safely and efficiently. Trials due to commence later this year demonstrating their use to deliver urgent medical supplies is part of the initiative being undertaken by UAS International to assist the sector grow and realise its full potential.

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