Sunday, April 11, 2004

THE FAILURE OF THE DRONES: Unmanned Spy Planes Crash in Afghanistan; Associated Press; April 11, 2004.

GARDEZ, Afghanistan -- Two unmanned drones crashed a block away from a ceremony where American and Afghan officials were inaugurating a courthouse Sunday -- and the event went ahead as planned.

One of the drones, which was circling above the closely guarded ceremony, plunged behind the nearby governor's residence during U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's speech. Addressing dignitaries at the gleaming white-and-yellow courthouse, he seemed not to notice.

The second drone came down soon after a few hundred yards away, next to another government building in this city 60 miles south of the capital, Kabul.
Pair of drones forced to make crash landings; Canadian Press; March 22, 2004.
KABUL -- Two coalition spy planes crash-landed in Afghanistan on the weekend, officials with the international security force said yesterday. One was Canadian, and the other, of German origin, came down in the grounds surrounding President Hamid Karzai's residence.

Nobody was hurt in either incident, but they were just the latest episodes involving the drones, which have run into repeated problems in Afghanistan.
Canada loses 4th drone in Afghanistan; Canadian Press; March 20, 2004.
KABUL (CP) - A remote-controlled Canadian aircraft came in for a hard emergency landing in a farmer's field today, making it the fourth plane in four months to be knocked out of Canada's troubled spy plane fleet.

The Canadian Forces Sperwer unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, made the emergency landing near Kabul about 15 minutes after taking off from Camp Julien. No one on the ground was hurt.

"The Sperwer had difficulty gaining its normal operating altitude," said Lt.-Col. Dana Clarke, the UAV project director.

"Because the aircraft was headed toward a populated area, a decision was made to force it to land in a field," Clarke said in a statement.

Since the first UAVs arrived in Afghanistan in November, crashes or hard landings have put four of the planes out of action, while two others developed cracks in their wings.
One day these things are gonna hurt somebody.


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