BAMS Down in Maryland

A version of the Navy’s RQ-4 Broad Area Maritime Surveillance drone crashed yesterday afternoon in a marsh in Maryland during a test flight out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

No one knows the cause of the crash yet but the jet that crashed is a demonstrator version of BAMS, which is the Navy variant of Northrop Grumman’s 44-foot long RQ-4 GLobal Hawk high-altitude spy jet that the Air Force operates.

I bet we’ll hear about incidents like this more often as some of the drones deployed to the Middle East trickle back to the United States as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Why? Well, drone crash rates are still high above those of manned military aircraft (look it up here). Hopefully the Pentagon can find a way to lower those rates by the time UAVs are cleared to fly in civil airspace later this decade.

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  • blight_

    It’s still pretty rare to hear of Global Hawks going down: I thought they had the capability to follow onboard programs, unlike the Preds which crash if you lose uplink?

    • joe

      They may well do. Still doesn’t help if the engine or control surfaces malfunction.

      • blight_

        Which is what happened in the case of the RQ-4 that went down.

  • pete

    waiting for the taliban to claim they shot it down…. lol

    • BigGuy97

      Or Iran…

      • JackBlack

        they are inside already? ROFL

  • Rohan

    Ohhh man…this is tooo awesome….. I am sure some guyzz will like to fly it….isn’t?

  • StrumPanzer

    They don’t know what brought it down or the won’t say want brought it down?

    • TMB

      It crashed yesterday. They probably don’t know yet.

  • Dfens

    Pilots cause 80% of all manned aircraft crashes, yet manned aircraft crash at less than half the rate of unmanned aircraft. Seems like someone is lying. Of course, it’s always cheaper to replace the pilot than fix the airplane, not that money ever has any influence on people’s actions. Any good capitalist knows that…

    • Mastro

      “Pilots cause 80% of all manned aircraft crashes, yet manned aircraft crash at less than half the rate of unmanned aircraft. ”

      It isn’t a contradiction- unmanned aircraft are basically a really new pilot with bad vision who forgets where he is sometimes-

  • http://octopusmagnificens.blogspot.com.es/ octopusmagnificens

    As HAL 9000 would say, It can only be attributable to human error.

  • broken

    “drone crash rates are still high above those of manned military aircraft”

    “Drones” or RPA’s are flying nearly 24 hrs a day, 300+ days out of the year.. how do manned aircraft stack up to those kind of numbers? Skewed numbers you’re presenting.

    • broken

      hmm meant to say ‘a skewed view’. The puddle jumper Cessna flying NORDO in congested airspace is more a danger than a “drone”. The fear of the unknown once again takes its hold on people. The FAA needs to bust its ass, draw up a plan, and execute it.. our pilots need the training and need new training avenues.

  • Tim

    “Uh-oh… Chief! Where is the UNDO button?”

    • Jacob

      What do you mean you didn’t save the game before taking off?

  • Hunter76

    Drones are young, humans are ancient. They’ve come a long way in a short time. In another human generation, they will be flying people.

  • http://www.hcp.kk5.org Brian Black

    Technology moves ever onwards, and one day they will figure out how to put a man inside one of these things and that should iron out many of the problems.

  • anthony

    The Idea of flying from my desk isnt real enough,the damage 48 doesnt lie.