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Remotely Piloted Vehicles

November 8, 2004 | Laura King, Times Staff Writer
In a development that could heighten tensions between Israel and Iran, guerrillas of the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah succeeded Sunday, apparently for the first time, in penetrating Israeli airspace with an unmanned aerial drone. The Israeli military acknowledged the incursion in a terse statement and said the aircraft had been supplied by Iran.
August 7, 2004 | Peter Pae, By Peter Pae
With its plank-like wings and a leisurely cruising speed of 84 mph, the propeller-driven Predator spy plane looked pokey compared with the fighter jets zooming across the desert sky. But when the Predator made a picture-perfect landing, 600 people encircled it. The crowd appeared eager to hoist the pilot to their shoulders -- except the plane doesn't have a pilot or a cockpit or any windows. The Predator was "piloted" by a computer operator working a joystick in a nearby trailer.
May 21, 2004 | From Associated Press
NASA said it was launching a program that could have robotic planes and conventionally piloted aircraft routinely and safely sharing civil airspace by 2008. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are now limited primarily to restricted test or military airspace. Industry association UAV National Industry Team, the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration are participating in the program, which aims to deliver to the FAA proposals for sharing airspace.
February 13, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
Two rockets hit the Afghan capital, Kabul, injuring two girls, and an unmanned spy plane used by international peacekeepers fell onto a home's roof. The girls' father, Haji Mohammed Azim, said a rocket blew in windows of his house. Alima, 14, was cut in the face by flying glass. Her sister Nabila, 11, fell unconscious and was rushed to a hospital, Azim said. No one was injured when the drone aircraft came down. Hundreds watched as area residents retrieved it from the roof.
October 11, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA has built and flown a remote-controlled plane powered from the ground by the beam of an invisible laser. In indoor flights conducted last month at a NASA center in Alabama, the plane flew lap after lap, gliding to a landing once the laser beam was turned off, the agency said Thursday. While in flight, the laser tracked the 11-ounce, 5-foot-wingspan plane, striking the photovoltaic cells that powered the tiny motor that turned its lone propeller.
June 28, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
An unmanned plane that set an altitude record two years ago broke apart during a test flight and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The flight was testing an advanced experimental fuel system in preparation for an endurance mission of almost two days that had been planned for next month. The $15-million, solar-electric, propeller-driven Helios had a wingspan of 247 feet. It reached an altitude of 96,500 feet during a 2001 flight from Barking Sands missile range in Hawaii.
June 27, 2003 | Peter Pae, Times Staff Writer
Helios, the solar-powered, remotely controlled aircraft that shattered the world altitude record two years ago, crashed near the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Thursday during a test flight. The $15-million airplane was designed by Paul MacCready's aerospace firm AeroVironment Inc. in Monrovia. The craft was flying over the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility when it "broke apart," a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.
February 27, 2003 | James F. Peltz, Times Staff Writer
Former Northrop Grumman Corp. engineer Roy Wubker Jr. believes he's developed an unmanned spy plane that can be the Pentagon's equivalent of a disposable camera. While his former employer sells state-of-the-art, $30-million jet-powered surveillance drones to the Defense Department, Wubker's tiny Systems Research & Development Corp. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is selling a $40,000, unmanned propeller-driven plane he calls Archangel.
January 11, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Union Pacific Railroad has delivered two remote-controlled freight trains here despite concerns by railroad engineers, who cited numerous accidents and deaths caused by the technology. The trains, used in switching yards to move railroad cars and link up trains, are moved with a control panel worn around the neck. Engineers aboard a locomotive traditionally control a train's movement.
December 24, 2002 | Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer
Iraqi aircraft shot down an unmanned U.S. Predator surveillance plane Monday, marking the first time that Iraqi fighter pilots have downed an allied aircraft over a "no-fly" zone, Pentagon officials said. The attack, which destroyed the remote-controlled aircraft, was the latest in a near-constant stream of hostile exchanges between the Iraqi military and allied air patrols in recent months.
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