Facebook’s flying internet beaming drone that CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to use to cure poverty (???) is currently under investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board according to a report by Bloomberg. The NTSB has yet to release any details of its investigation.
Zuckerberg announced in July that Facebook had completed “the first successful flight” of Aquila a month earlier. But the NTSB probe uncovered by Bloomberg said the drone suffered a “structural failure” as it prepared for landing, and the incident was classified as an “accident” that resulted in “substantial” damage. Facebook referred to a structural failure in July deep in a blog post about Aqulia. “We are still analysing the results of the extended test, including a structural failure we experienced just before landing,” Facebook wrote. “We hope to share more details on this and other structural tests in the future.”
“We gathered lots of data about our models and the aircraft structure — and after two years of development, it was emotional to see Aquila actually get off the ground,” Zuckerberg said about the first flight. “But as big as this milestone is, we still have a lot of work to do.”
A third-party PR firm replied to Gizmodo’s request to Facebook for comment but wouldn’t comment on the record. Gizmodo declined to speak on background.
This isn’t the first time Facebook’s run into problems with its internet ambitions. SpaceX was set to carry the company’s $95 Million internet satellite to space until its rocket carrying the satellite exploded. [Bloomberg]