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“I am on my 12th drone" - Mining Journal

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The massive bird of prey has taken out nine UX5 drones at the St Ives Mine. 

Surveyor Rick Steven said the unmanned aerial vehicles, with a wingspan of a metre, had been knocked out of the sky. 

"That [wedge-tailed eagle] is my single biggest problem in the environment where I work for the UX5 … I am on my 12th [UAV]," he said according to the ABC. 

"Nine out of the other 10 have been destroyed courtesy of this guy – he’s its natural enemy."

Wedge-tailed eagles (aquila audax for the ornithologists among us) have wings spans of over 2m and eat almost anything found in the outback – from lizards and rabbits up to red kangaroos. 

Steven also had a likely world-first. 

During an attack (or defence, if you’re an eagle) by a pair of the birds, one took control of the fixed-wing craft and aimed the camera at its comrade. 

"I was flying the tailings dam out at St Ives and I was getting attacked by two eagles simultaneously," he said. 

"I was trying to fly my UAV away from them and all of a sudden, at a high point, the eagle came down and sunk both its claws into the inside of the control box of the UX5.

"It turned the UX5 sideways and took a photo of the other eagle as it was coming in to attack." 


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