An extensive investigation by the Washington Post found “at least 49 large drones have crashed during test or training flights” since 2001 — and there are several signs the danger of drones accidents could increase.
“The number of accidents has jumped as the military has brought back drones from overseas and operated them more frequently in airspace shared with civilian planes,” wrote the Post’s Craig Whitlock.
The Post’s investigation involved the paper obtaining “thousands of pages of military investigative reports” that detail a “pattern of pilot errors and mechanical failures that have caused drones to crash in the United States again and again” including in civilian airspace. The paper said those documents also showed “some military personnel harbor an ingrained distrust of the flying robots.” However, the paper also noted its count of 49 drone crashes since 2001 “understates the scope of the problem” because the military would only release records of accidents that resulted in at least $US2 million in damage.
Additionally, the Post noted the military plans to expand the number of drone sites in the U.S. and that the Federal Aviation Administration has been ordered by Congress to begin preparing to allow civilian drone flights. The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story from Business Insider.
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