U.S. Customs' drones back in air after crash investigation

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 7, 2014 10:44pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection put its drones back in the air on Friday after an investigation into a crash that grounded its unmanned aircraft fleet, the agency said.

The nine drones were grounded when a mechanical problem forced operators to crash one of the pilotless aircraft on January 28 off the Southern California coast.

"Effective today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has lifted the temporary grounding of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems," spokesman Michael Friel said in an email.

Initial findings from an investigation of the crash showed that the $12 million drone's generator failed and that the flight crew reacted properly, he said.

"Appropriate mechanical steps" have been taken to address potential problems on the other aircraft, Friel said.

The California crash was the second by one of the agency's drones since it began using the unmanned aerial surveillance technology in 2006.

The Customs drones are Predator B models made by privately held General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. They are used to spot illegal border crossers and narcotics traffickers.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (3)
WhyMeLord wrote:
And just who’s controlling these drones?
Do they have any flight training to speak of?
Are they violating civilian air space?
Who’s watching tee henhouse when the dog’s away?
And just what are we doing with the drones information?
Me thinks there’s way more questions than answers here.
UTTER FOOLISHNESS……………..

Feb 07, 2014 11:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WhyMeLord wrote:
And just who’s controlling these drones?
Do they have any flight training to speak of?
Are they violating civilian air space?
Who’s watching tee henhouse when the dog’s away?
And just what are we doing with the drones information?
Me thinks there’s way more questions than answers here.
UTTER FOOLISHNESS……………..

Feb 07, 2014 11:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
pigggg9 wrote:
whos flying these things–he must be blind with all those ill-egals getting across the border

Feb 07, 2014 11:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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