Google drone crashes, so what?

So the Google drone had an incident in testing, that’s why they test them I would say. It’s not a simple task that they are undertaking.

Once cracked though, persistent RPA will easily be able to beam the internet into parts of the world other internet providers just can’t reach. High above normally regulated sovereign airspace but well below the very expensive space-o-sphere.

titancountryside

It’s very hard to find images of the actual airframe being used. Lots and lots of computer generated 3D views and mock up models for shows but nothing solid of the actual platforms.

According to Bloomberg this is what happened.

The unmanned Solara 50 fell to the ground shortly after takeoff on May 1 and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, Keith Holloway, an agency spokesman, said in an interview. The accident occurred at a private airstrip east of Albuquerque, and no one was injured, he said.

Google is playing catch up in the solar drone field to Facebook, who last year bought up a tiny firm from Somerset in England, Ascenta led by chief engineer Andrew Cox. How can that be important!

Well it’s Ascenta’s links with the QinetiQ Zephyr program that should make the informed reader take note. So far the only truly successful solar platform having flown for 330 hours (two weeks) in 2010, smashing existing endurance records for unmanned aircraft. In fact, all aircraft.

The flight coincided with the end of the Farnborough airshow that year and created a great deal of pride in the UK aerospace industry.

EADS Astrium (now named Airbus Defence and Space) bought Zephyr in March 2013 and its now flown as part of the High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme.

Ascenta has more than ten years of knowledge from a successful program to move forward with.

Titan Aerospace came into being two years after Zephyrs record breaking flight in 2012.

Great renderings Google/Titan, you talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

I have to declare a bias here, I’m from Somerset, so love the idea of a West country RPAS company leading the way!

Here’s the Google job ad for this program…

Program Manager, Flight Test Pilot, Titan Aerospace
Google’s projects, like our users, span the globe and require managers to keep the big picture in focus. As a Program Manager at Google, you lead complex, multi-disciplinary projects. You plan requirements with internal customers and usher projects through the entire project lifecycle. This includes managing project schedules, identifying risks and clearly communicating goals to project stakeholders. Your projects often span offices, time zones and hemispheres, and it’s your job to keep all the players coordinated on the project’s progress and deadlines.
Google/Titan Aerospace is a manufacturer of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The Company operates a research and development facility located in Moriarty, New Mexico, where it is working with the FAA to obtain airspace for flight testing within the National Airspace System and Special Airworthiness Certification for its Solara aircraft.
As a Flight Test Pilot Program Manager, you will have extensive experience in flying prototype air vehicles. You will have worked with unmanned aircraft as well as electric aircraft. You will participate in long and arduous flight tests in remote locations. During flight test, a Flight Test Pilot will fill at least one, but certainly not all of the following roles: Air vehicle operator, external pilot, observer, chase pilot and others.
Responsibilities
Fly the unmanned aircraft
Correctly execute checklists and test flight plans
Test and develop the aircraft along with the test team
Operate the ground control station
Fly the chase aircraft
Minimum qualifications
6 years of flight test experience.
In order to access the technical and defense data necessary for this job, applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or currently hold a United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551.)
Preferred qualifications
Graduate of a formal test pilot school.
UAV flight test pilot experience.
Class 2 medical certificate.
Experience with FAA certification of aircraft.
RC aircraft flight experience.
Commercial Pilot and Instrument ratings.
Area
The Google Access team works to make Internet access more powerful, accessible and affordable for all. We also work to develop the next-generation technologies that will improve the lives and businesses of our millions of users around the planet. Want to change the world? Good. So do we.