The Good News Surrounding The GoPro Karma Recall
The news of GoPro recalling its brand-new Karma drone is all over the internet. Shortly after its much anticipated launch these drones started falling out of the sky. Unexpected power loss is not something most operators are prepared for.
Yet this kind of drone failure isn't uncommon in new products. DJI, Yuneec, and every other consumer UAV manufacturer have pushed out products that have failed. Power losses, fly-aways, or loss of stability are all common problems that were worked out in early versions. Not to excuse these other manufacturers, but they got away with their failures when the market was much smaller. Drones have become more popular now making these kinds of failures are more widespread - and more dangerous.
While there are those lamenting at the failure of another American UAV initiative, I am pleased to see the recall take place. I believe it shows a maturing industry that is starting to take safety seriously.
These are not just toys. Operation of these small machines falls under the regulation of the FAA in the United States and Transport Canada in Canada. As such, they are to be held to a reasonably high safety standard. A power loss on a RC car isn't likely to cause a fatal accident. A drone falling out of the sky has the very real potential of doing just that.
This is the same reason why I believe UAV operators should have an aviation mindset - a mindset that comes from aviation training. Ground School should be mandatory for all operators in Canada, and it should include most (if not all) of the information taught to student pilots. Including an introduction to the aviation safety culture.
If you're in the air then you need to know the rules. And if you're going to fall out of the sky, you shouldn't fly.