An investigation report has just been published on a missing police £7,500 drone which was being used to carry out a search operation in the Henley area in April 2021 on a reported “unlicensed music event” and was found in a children’s playground in Henley the next day after the officer in charge managed to lose it.
The drone had been up in the air less than four minutes when the Thames Valley Police officer lost sight of it due to ‘mist in the area’ and the drone began to drift in the wind.
A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) just published found the drone pilot had tried to active the Return to Home function, but had failed to set a location for the drone to return to before take-off. Investigators also found the pilot had not completed the police force’s own requirements in order to carry out the drone operation.
Following the incident, amendments have been made to the In-Flight Checklist to include an action to confirm the home point is locked, and if time permits, to check the RTH function.
Chief Inspector Adrian Hall from the Joint Operations Unit for Thames Valley Police, said: “Following an incident involving a Thames Valley Police drone on 3 April in Henley-on-Thames, the force referred the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accident Investigation Board and also conducted an internal review.”