Unmanned Helo Crashes in Afghanistan. Not Pilot Error.

The much-ballyhooed K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which has been making deliveries for the US Marines in Afghanistan, apparently suffered a crash a few weeks ago.

The original story contained this line:

While Marine officials did not release a cause for the crash, [PA officer Capt. Matthew Beers] ruled out pilot error, saying the aircraft was in autonomous mode at the time it went down.

The reports were ultimately edited to remove that conclusion, likely because “pilot error” can occur even if the “pilot” isn’t human…can’t it?  In addition, human operators are involved in several stages along the way.

A fairly benign faux pas, to be sure, but an interesting one in this day and age of increased emphasis on UAVs.