The NTSB is investigating the ‘structural failure’ of Fb’s Aquila web drone
Say what you’ll concerning the deserves of Fb’s Web.org and Free Fundamentals — it’s fairly cool that they’re constructing an enormous, solar-powered, laser-shooting drone to ship it. However a “structural failure” that occurred on the Aquila’s first take a look at flight could also be extra severe than Fb made it out to be: The Nationwide Transportation Security Board is conducting an investigation, Bloomberg reviews. The NTSB confirmed this and supplied additional particulars.
Fb wrote about its assessments (which occurred on June 28) in July, itemizing a number of issues they had been , discovered and so forth. Underneath the “Actual-world circumstances” bullet level, the weblog put up admits issues weren’t nominal:
We’re nonetheless analyzing the outcomes of the prolonged take a look at, together with a structural failure we skilled simply earlier than touchdown. We hope to share extra particulars on this and different structural assessments sooner or later.
They didn’t, presumably due to the NTSB investigation, however Fb did situation a press release in the present day emphasizing the optimistic outcomes of the take a look at:
We had been pleased with the profitable first take a look at flight and had been capable of confirm a number of efficiency fashions and elements together with aerodynamics, batteries, management methods and crew coaching, with no main surprising outcomes.
Actually, it was an excessive amount of to hope that nothing would go unsuitable on the primary full-scale take a look at of an infinite, experimental plane design. A supply near the venture informed TechCrunch that some injury was anticipated, for the reason that Aquila isn’t truly designed for repeat takeoffs and landings (it has skids, not touchdown gear), and in addition as a result of the day was windier than anticipated. The failure occurred just some seconds earlier than touchdown from the craft’s 90-minute flight, the supply stated.
That stated, if the Aquila had nose-dived into the bottom, caught hearth or sustained another high-profile injury, that doubtless would have come out by now. A full report is predicted in a month or two, at which level we’ll have extra particulars — however contemplating the scope of the venture and delight evinced by Fb within the Aquila’s improvement, it appeared affordable to, effectively, clip its wings somewhat bit.