A US Army RQ-7 Shadow that disappeared on a training flight in southern Arizona turned up hundreds of miles away in Colorado, stuck in a tree, and the military is trying to figure out how it got there.
“An investigation into what happened is the next step,” Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton said.
Linton said the Huachuca drone lost contact with its ground station at 5:16 p.m. Jan. 31, prompting a wide-ranging search in Arizona. But the wandering drone wound up being found by a hiker in the foothills west of Denver.
Local police and troops from Fort Carson were sent to the scene of the downed drone and Colorado Springs troops were expected to recover it.
The diminutive drone may have been a victim of the jet stream. Weather data for Jan. 31 shows strong, warm winds blowing into Colorado from the desert southwest. The powerful jet stream wind can grab high-flying drones and turn them into long-distance gliders.
Soldiers lost contact with the drone at Fort Huachuca nine days earlier. A search failed to find it, and the Army concluded it probably crashed and broke apart in the area.
Gusty winds may have downed the drone, according to the newspaper. It cited data showing strong winds blowing into Colorado from the southwest on Jan. 31, the day the aircraft disappeared.
Officials said the drone was capable of flying for eight or nine hours.
Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state had gone to the Arizona post to train with the aircraft.
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette