The official UK accident report relating to the Alauda Airspeeder Mk 2 display flight at the Goodwood Festival of Speed was published this week. It's a great photo of the south coast of England, although the UK CAA's exemption on the day allowed for a display not exceeding tree-top height... thus it appears our trees are taller than anyone else's.
The report is decidedly thorough, in contrast to either the operator or indeed the regulator on the day. Perhaps the scariest aspect is the fact that Alauda described the aircraft as failure-redundant given that it featured four motors... and I wonder whether the UK CAA realised that while airliners with four engines are as failsafe as possible, quadcopters are not at all.
Second point of note is that ~ notwithstanding the flash website ~ the operator was described in its submission to the CAA as comprising a CEO, an assistant and a number of university students. This alone speaks volumes about the 'wild west' that is eVTOL as compared to conventional aviation (or indeed radio-control modelling).
A third point of note is that the CAA themselves, prior to witnessing this flyaway from the relative safety of the 'prawn sandwich' enclosure, already hosted a drone recovery website that told of how over a quarter of pilots had lost a drone... which meant from the UK AAIBs calculation, some 14,000 had gone AWOL in the space of time airlines had only mislaid one Boeing 777.
Reading the report I'm glad only ever to have tested these things under a roof of some sort. The only issue is, some of the AAIBs criticisms are likely to steer development toward the level of regulation likely to strangle experiments at birth.
(Among these were the fact prototyping circuit-boards were used in the aircraft ~ but then what else do you use in a prototype? Or that nylon lock-straps were used to attach the ESCs ~ whereas I know from experience that such units include no distinct means of attachment, which is more the fault of the manufacturer).
Incidentally, the UK company set up by Alauda for the event (and appropriately called 'Riotplan') has already ceased to exist. Australians are clearly more aware than we of the perils of shitting on your own door-step.