Stanford, California— At approximately 12:17 pm on July 3, 2015, an Uplift Aeronautics fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed during a routine test flight, sparking a brush fire in the dry lakebed of Lake Lagunita, located on Stanford University’s campus. Due to the speedy response of Uplift volunteers, bystanders, and the Fire Department, the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. The launch crew called 911 within one minute of the incident, fought the fire with a portable extinguisher until the Fire Department arrived, and initiated the evacuation of two nearby dorms. No structures or people were harmed. The cause of the crash is still being determined.
The pilots were Stanford students and members of an approved student association that has permission to operate UAVs in Lake Lagunita. They were operating the aircraft within visual line of sight and radio contact below 400AGL in accordance with all FAA and UAV club rules and regulations. The pilots are insured through the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
About Uplift Aeronautics and the Syria Airlift Project
Uplift Aeronautics is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with a mission to empower and aid communities through innovative aviation technology. It is developing humanitarian UAVs for delivering medical supplies in conflict zones and disaster areas. Uplift operates the Syria Airlift Project, an initiative to reach besieged populations and help end the use of starvation and medical deprivation as weapons of war.
Mark Jacobsen, an Arabic-speaking cargo pilot in the US Air Force, founded Uplift Aeronautics after doing research among Syrian refugees in eastern Turkey. Frustrated refugees asked why the US could not airdrop food or medical supplies to besieged populations inside Syria. The answer—that manned cargo planes are too vulnerable to ground fire—left Mark dissatisfied. Surely, he thought, in the 21st century, there must be a way to get some aid through. Through the Syria Airlift Project, Uplift Aeronautics is developing a “conveyor belt” paradigm using UAVs to deliver a steady flow of humanitarian aid.
This press release is also available in PDF format.