The Taiwan Aviation Safety Council (ASC) successfully deployed a UAV as part of its investigation into the July 23, 2014 crash of a TransAsia Airways ATR-72-500 on the island of Hoko, west of Taiwan. Use of drones for investigations is a growing trend among crash investigators worldwide, due to their ability to access remote locations or to quickly perform a site survey while gathering high-fidelity georeferenced data at a lower cost than manned alternatives.
Flight 222 accident investigators used a Scientific Aerospace cyberQuad Maxi quadcopter.
The drone was carrying a digital camera and other sensors to survey and map the path of the aircraft during the final seconds of its flight to Magong Airport in Taiwan. Brian Kuo, an investigator with the Aviation Safety Council (ASC), said the drone’s preprogrammed survey took approximately 90 min. to complete. That is a more-efficient and less-costly proposition than the typical solution—hiring and equipping a helicopter for the operation. The ASC, which had been studying the idea of using a UAV for investigations for several years, originally planned to use the Maxi for site surveys of accidents in difficult to access remote or mountainous areas. It regularly practices this task in joint drills with Singapore, Japan and other East Asian countries. Many of those countries are also moving ahead with plans for using drones, Kuo said.
via Aviation Week – Aerospace Defense, Business & Commercial News http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/drone-helps-transasia-flight-222-investigators