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Drone crashes at Parc Aberporth – the twisted shape of things to come?

Only weeks after UAV test flights began out of the Parc Aberporth UAV centre in Ceredigion, a drone has crashed while taking off. Eye witnesses say that about 3pm this afternoon the vehicle seemed to have done a nosedive before it cleared the perimeter of West Wales Airport.

The UAV was being controlled by a pilot on the ground at the airport who needed to land urgently due to a technical fault. The undercarriage of the UAV was badly damaged. A local resident was driving past when she saw a lot of activity around a damaged plane that had obviously crashed. She said that several people were frantically trying to clear the debris. When she returned a short time later with a camera, the UAV had already been loaded onto a trailer ready for removal.

UAVs currently being flown at Parc Aberporth are the Selex Falco and the Hermes 450 – an Israeli UAV which is the main platform for the MOD’s Watchkeeper programme.

Selex Falco and Hermes-450

Selex Falco and Hermes-450

MEP Jill Evans met with members of BEPJ on Wednesday 23rd September to discuss the creation of the UAV testing zone. The crash happened an hour after the meeting broke up. Jill Evans told the Tivy-Side Newspaper:

Jill Evans MEP

Jill Evans MEP

“I am very concerned about the safety issues, especially in relation to creating the extended airspace for testing. This incident highlights how important that is. They want to extend the airspace over a wide area and the main concern is one of safety for the local population, which I will raise in the light of this incident. Now it is even more important that WAG looks at this.”

BEPJ is carrying out a survey of Local MPs and AMs to find out their views on the lack of jobs which have been created by the Parc Aberporth project.

An earlier accident involving a UAV belonging to an Italian company at West Wales Airport occurred a month before this Falco crash. A UAV hit a car in Cambrian Way, Aberporth.

Tivy-Side Advertiser

Tivy-Side Advertiser September 29th 2009 – Fears After Air Crash

Cambrian News

Cambrian News 1st October 2009 – Crash of Pilotless plane sparks safety concerns

Carmarthen Journal

Carmarthen Journal September 30th 2009 – Fears after UAV crash landing