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Another Watchkeeper down

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Another Watchkeeper down

Old 22nd Apr 2019, 19:11
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,651
Throughout the flight, there were examples of poor communication; the crew was unsure of who was doing what and why.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 19:38
  #42 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 3,971
Yes BEagle and if you read the Service Inquiry then you will find this little chestnut on the WatchKeeper (WK) Unmanned Aircraft (UA):

WK is a fully automated system, which means that the crew have no way of taking control from the autopilot. On other platforms taking control from the auto pilot and manually flying with a level attitude and a safe power setting would usually be sufficient to protect against stall should CAS become erratic and erroneous. The Panel noted that ESL's Hermes 450 could be flown manually in 'sticks' mode, giving the operator or external pilot full throttle and stick control of the platform as required. The system architecture for WK is, however, quite different and there is currently no way of manually flying the UA.
So I read the fact that Watch Keeper is ‘point and click’ without flying controls it is very different to Reaper or Protector that has a throttle, stick and rudder. Indeed, the one Reaper that suffered an issue an engine failure over Afghanistan was successfully ‘dead sticked’ onto the desert floor by a Reaper pilot (who was a FJ QFI) and if it wasn’t in a contested area when the CH47 went to recover the sensitive parts with chainsaws then it probably could have been fixed and flown again. The final coup de grace was delivered by a GR7/9 with a Paveway to ensure that nothing was left to use by enemy forces.

The latest advanced Ground Control Station (GCS) for Protector makes you feel like you are looking out of a multi-engine ISTAR aircraft cockpit window. I’ve flown this GCS and it gives an unparalleled level of situational awareness to the crew with overlaid information on that 3D cockpit view - I wish I had that in the Tonka!






This is a significant convergence between manned aviation and unmanned which is why it is now a separate specialisation within the Pilot sub-branch within the Flying Branch rather than sitting totally separately. Whilst their selection will still be separate from the others but with the ability to ‘cross-over’ like FJ, RW and ME have in the past. The pilots of Reaper and Protector complete EFT and some live instrument flying before going to fly live Reaper (soon Protector) and much simulator time. A procedural IR is also becoming a must as these aircraft start to ‘mix it’ within various FIRs with manned traffic. So treating these unmanned pilots as de facto Aircrew is one thing the RAF (and other nations) have got right and possibly where the JHC/Royal Artillery/Army have not? But then again, with just ‘point and click’ with Watch Keeper, then you are going to struggle to keep traditional pilots interested.

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 22nd Apr 2019 at 19:48.
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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 19:52
  #43 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: under the sea
Posts: 2,413
I remember a similar looking craft exhibited in Larkhill camp next to a self propelled artillery vehicle a number of years ago. When I drove through there recently it had gone which I thought strange.
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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 20:05
  #44 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 424
Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post


The latest advanced Ground Control Station (GCS) for Protector makes you feel like you are looking out of a multi-engine ISTAR aircraft cockpit window. Iíve flown this GCS and it gives an unparalleled level of situational awareness to the crew with overlaid information on that 3D cockpit view - I wish I had that in the Tonka!

The yellow and black handle on the seat is a bit of a worry.
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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 20:22
  #45 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: West Country
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Vendee View Post
The yellow and black handle on the seat is a bit of a worry.
I know the feeling and can only blame our military training!

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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 21:17
  #46 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: England
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by Mechta View Post
Synthetic training does not iron out the rarely occurring faults in the hardware, airborne software, RF link, weather related incidents, maintenance issues etc. Applying the same logic, none of our armed forces would ever leave their bases until war is declared
What a unique approach to T&E. You're not a PTL by any chance are you?
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Old 22nd Apr 2019, 21:50
  #47 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 3,971
Originally Posted by Vendee View Post
The yellow and black handle on the seat is a bit of a worry.
Itís so you donít inadvertently pull it and roll back over someoneís foot. There is always someone watching over your shoulder! Look at the Ďno stepí markings - they wouldnít put them there if it hadnít happened before...
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Old 23rd Apr 2019, 11:07
  #48 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Far West Wessex
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Rudder pedals on a GCS = Steering wheel on a horse
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Old 23rd Apr 2019, 21:29
  #49 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: West Country
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post


Itís so you donít inadvertently pull it and roll back over someoneís foot. There is always someone watching over your shoulder! Look at the Ďno stepí markings - they wouldnít put them there if it hadnít happened before...
I thought that those of us who were in harms way aloft didn't give much thought to those in harms way in a simulator. Didn't have such fancy contraptions in my day.
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Old 24th Apr 2019, 12:30
  #50 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: London/Oxford/New York
Posts: 2,347
Blossy,

It's not a simulator
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