Accident UAV Navigation Atlantic , 29 Feb 2016
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 309786
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Type:UAV Navigation Atlantic
Owner/operator:Vlaams Instituut voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO))
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:North of Dizy-le-Gros -   France
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Weelde Air Base (EBWE)
Destination airport:Weelde Air Base (EBWE)
Investigating agency: AAIU
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The purpose of the flight with the UAV (named Oculus B by the operator) was to fly a predetermined flight path within a Temporary Segregated Area (TSA) around the airfield of Weelde (EBWE) crossing some waypoints programmed in the autopilot as a test, before doing a flight taking a camera system on board.
Immediately after take-off, the UAV reported communication problems to the ground control station.
As a result, the ground station commanded the UAV to enter in a Hold mode to which it initially responded, starting to fly a holding pattern.
After communication was lost, the aircraft left the holding pattern and initiated an automatic landing sequence, that failed. After several attempts, the aircraft flew away from the ground control station, in a southerly direction.
The pilot immediately warned the ATC about the loss of controls.
The UAV continued a steady flight at 4000ft until the engine stopped operating and the UAV crash landed in the North of France.

The accident was caused by a series of interruption of the communication between the ground station and the aircraft, causing the autopilot to initiate the automatic landing procedure. A flaw in the autopilot logic software caused the aircraft to interrupt the landing sequence and to continue flying in a 199 degrees heading after the maximum endurance was reached.
Contributing factors.
Operational factors
- The interruptions of communication between the ground station and the aircraft that occurred during pre-flight was not identified by the crew (the crew stated they considered it as a positive check) as a potential serious problem.
- Not all safety features were selected before the flight; the use of the automatic parachute was not selected before the flight.
- The manual parachute deployment was not commanded when the crew realised that the SAFE mode did not work as expected.


AAIU Belgium

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIU
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

26-Mar-2023 16:49 harro Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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