Dr. Robert Klenke of VCU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering discussed the research he has done with model aircraft for NASA. A few takeaways:
Quadcopters can go haywire. Bob showed us a video of a drone that completely malfunctioned. It refused to obey the controller and flew off into a tree. Suppose it had hit a bystander?
Bob also noted that if you’re a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and you want to fly your UAV at an AMA flying field, you must demonstrate your flying skills. The rules proposed by the FAA wouldn’t require UAV pilots to pass a flying test.
There’s a wide variation among model aircraft. Bob has done research with a fixed-wing vehicle that has an 11-foot wingspan and weighs 50 pounds. That’s a far cry from a 4-pound quadcopter.