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Unmanned Airmail
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(+3, -2)
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I can't imagine UAVs being used as passenger aircraft due to people not trusting not having a pilot...however...

Why not have jumbojet sized UAVs for the airmail service? All the extra weight and space of crew stuff could be extra package spaces.

ShawnBob, Apr 15 2010

Like this, only pilot the thing from the ground. http://baristanet.t...egorized/fed_ex.jpg
[ShawnBob, Apr 18 2010]

Odds of a plane falling on you. http://tramp55555.w...hat-are-the-odds-2/
[ShawnBob, Apr 21 2010]

a smaller varsion is in testing http://www.gizchina...s-deliver-packages/
[Voice, Oct 05 2013]


       I was thinking more in terms of using small UAVs to do local postal deliveries. If they were to bomb each street with letters from 100 metres up , people could run outside and try to catch them. Afterwards they could all meet up to sort them all out over coffee and cake, neighbourly-style.
wagster, Apr 15 2010

       One of the objections already raised is the risk of UAV's falling from the sky and causing death and destruction on the ground.   

       This would apply to a 747 sized craft whether it were carrying passengers, mail or jelly.   

       Police in the UK are trialling 'spy in the sky' UAVs and argue that they have 'fail safe' systems, although I can't see how 5kg of anything falling from the sky onto a crowded area can have a safe failure mode.
Twizz, Apr 15 2010

       // 'fail safe' system // "in case something goes wrong, our asses are safely covered by blaming the machinery": 'computer error' with ballistics.
FlyingToaster, Apr 15 2010

       You would not drop things onto front porches. There would be drop zones. This would be great for deliveries to remote areas because you would not need airport infrastructure and would not need to pay for safety / environment stuff for human pilot.   

       Payloads could be paper mail but expensive, small , light items would be best, like medicines.
bungston, Apr 15 2010

       There is airmail now...all I was thinking is that they should use unmanned aircraft to deliver the airmail instead of piloted. The actual pilot seems redundant on mail-liners.
ShawnBob, Apr 15 2010

       // 5kg of anything falling from the sky onto a crowded area can have a safe failure mode //   

       Make sure it falls on a Scouser ...
8th of 7, Apr 15 2010

       // Doesn't quite have that glimmer of originality I look for//
Must.... stifle.... snigger...
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 15 2010

       //'fail safe' systems//   

       In the event of engine failure, a massive high explosive charge blasts the entire contraption to dust. That should do it.
wagster, Apr 15 2010

       Well done, [wags], you've just re-invented the V-1 ...
8th of 7, Apr 15 2010

       I'm sure they'd be willing to pass exceptions to the federal mail law for this.   

       I have a feeling that neither the mail carrier nor the feds would want the lawsuits that'd likely arise from one of these crashing into a populated area.
wolstech, Apr 18 2010

       To some regard, you are right, but the U.S. Federal gov't also uses these for border patrol now. The police may start using them. etc; I am not sure that because they are unmanned, that they are more likely to crash than manned aircraft. They still actually have pilots, albeit from the ground with cameras. Many pilots fly purely by instrument anyhow. In the event of a crash, the pilots are spared death...no flight crew, pilot, copilot to possibly die in a crash. It seems like less liability really, unless of course it becomes proven that these things have a higher crash rate.
ShawnBob, Apr 18 2010

       FedEX UAV Jumbojet mail plane = reckless at best?   

       What about Stealth/Predator UAVs armed with half a dozen hellfire missiles? = National Security?   

       Unmanned rockets? OK Unmanned X-37B? Great idea!   

       Unmanned cargo plane though...oooo...dangerous dangerous thing.
ShawnBob, Apr 20 2010

       Unmanned rockets are indeed bloody dangerous - they're meant to be. What do you suppose would be the response of the CAA if I asked to fly an unmanned rocket over areas of high density civilian population?
Twizz, Apr 20 2010

       Trying to put some objective numbers on safety of UAVs vs. manned aircraft....   

       Odds of a plane falling out of the sky on you: 1 in 25 million. [Link]. If someone has a more scholarly number, please let me know...that's the only one I've found.   

       Let's make another assumption: that 50% of the people onboard an airplane die in any fiery crash. (I think the actual number I found was 56%).   

       Let's also assume a pilot and a copilot only for a cargo plane...perhaps more, but being conservative, we'll neglect a flight crew.   

       Now assume 1000 cargo planes crash and burn. Death toll: 500 (from pilots), and a 1:25,000 chance of someone on the ground dying from being crashed upon.   

       Now scenario 2: Assume 1000 UAV Cargo planes crash and burn. No pilot or copilot here. Assume for the sake of arguement that UAVs are 1000 times more likely to crash than a regular manned aircraft. That means your odds of being hit by a UAV falling on you are 1:25,000   

       with a thousand such crashes: 1:25   


       Death toll from 1000 manned cargo plane crashes: 500 plus a smidgeon.   

       Death toll from 1000 UAV cargo plane crashes (from planes falling from the sky): .04   

       I think they are quite a bit safer. ...and no, I'm not trying to make pilots loose their jobs, only suggest they pilot their planes from the ground where it is arguably 12,500 times safer.
ShawnBob, Apr 21 2010

       The vital missing statistic is the number of UAVs required for UAV mail (the idea - remember?)   

       UAV mail would require many thousands of UAV's, each carrying several kg of mail, all flying at low altitude over densly populated areas.   

       Passenger and freight aircraft spend most of their time flying at high altitude, with opportunity for corrective action (like heading for the sea etc.)   

       The most likely times for a crash are on takeoff or landing. A mail delivery UAV would have to make a huge number of takeoffs and landings.
Twizz, Apr 21 2010

       //stealing jobs from all the aircrews who man those planes//
The guys who fly this still have jobs, and the people who were crew but didn't actually hold the stick were just SLC (Self-Loading Cargo) anyway.
coprocephalous, Apr 21 2010

       ****I think my last post may be statistically wrong...I need the "chance of a plane crashing on a person when it crashes vs. crashing in an open field...not "odds of me dying via plane crashing on me."....I'd love to put a number on it.
ShawnBob, Apr 22 2010


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