A mini unmmaned aerial vehicle, did not reach the desired landing zone during artillery drills. And disappeared.
The Flyeye drone has lost contact with the ground operator on May 7, near Torun, Poland, when it was going to land and was redirected towards the alternative landing zone near Skulsk. It never reached the place eventually.
Several other UAVs and a ground search group are also looking for the lost drone but where unable to locate it due to the difficult terrain conditions.
The cause for the unmanned aircraft not reaching the landing zone is still unknown. Since the drone was flying a training sortie, representatives of the manufacturer were also present during the drill.
These ruled out the operator’s error as a possible cause for the incident that, instead, might have been caused by Software error, since the new version of code was tested during the drill.
Flyeye is manufactured by the Polish company WB Electronics, which is a part of a larger Flytronic company. Its first public appearance took place in Paris, during the Eurosatory Arms Fair in 2010. Its operational use included SAR operations in Poland and mission flown for Nil (Nile) – one of the Polish Special Operations Units. The mini-UAV has also found a wide application during the Afghan conflict.
The drone, worth 25,000 Euro, has a wingspan of 4 meters and weight of 11 kg. It can be launched by hand. Its max speed is 170 km/h and operational ceiling is 6.000 m. It can fly between 2 and 4 hours. Its main purpose is to conduct recce missions for artillery.
During a press meeting Polish Minister of National Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, stated laughing that if anyone finds the drone, they should return it to the nearest police station. He also claimed, on Twitter, that the person who finds the drone would be invited to be an observer during the Anaconda-14 drill, which is to be organized later this year.
UPDATE [May 10. 2014]: The search operation has been cancelled according to Polish MoD spokesman, Jacek Sońta. WB Electronics decided to supply a new UAV for the miliitary in order to cover the expenses.
Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist
Image Credit: WB Electronics