Global Observer Crashes at Edwards

A Global Observer high-flying, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft crashed last week at Edwards AFB, Calif. The RPA, manufactured by California-based AeroVironment, was about 18 hours into its ninth test flight at the time of the incident. “Flight testing an innovative new solution like Global Observer involves pushing the frontiers of technology and convention,” said AeroVironment Chairman and CEO Tim Conver, in a company release. He added, “Risk is a component of every flight test program, and the learning that results from a mishap enables us to improve system reliability and performance.” The air vehicle had been operating at nearly twice the endurance and at a higher altitude than previous flights when the mishap occurred. The company is demonstrating Global Observer under an Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored evaluation. A second Global Observer aircraft is nearly complete. Officials will investigate the accident’s cause. (Edwards release)