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Drone crashes at civilian airports raise safety concerns


The handful of unmanned aerial vehicle crashes at civilian airports around the world is raising questions about how safely the aircraft can mix with other airplanes, according to a Washington Post investigation. The paper reviewed government documents relating to seven crashes of Predator and Reaper drones, all since January 2011. While no one was hurt or killed in the crashes, several occurred with live missiles aboard the aircraft and could have caused much more damage than they did. The Air Force says the rate of accidents for UAVs, which are used widely in Afghanistan and parts of Africa, is about the same as the F-16 fighter’s accident rate was at the same time in its development. Several of the UAV crashes were due to either pilot error or computer problems that caused the aircraft to lose control, according to the Air Force’s investigations. The agency blamed contractors who were operating some of the drones in Africa for being inattentive or following incorrect procedures, which led to some of the crashes.