CBP officers conduct surveillance using unmanned aerial vehciles. (Gerald Nino / CBP)
Customs and Border Protection’s small fleet of unmanned aircraft systems is flying again.
The the agency grounded the planes in the wake of a crash late last month, and lifted it Feb. 7. The investigation initially found that the plane — a maritime variant of the Predator B — suffered a generator failure and that the remote flight crew properly followed procedures, spokesman Michael Friel said in a statement. The crew had intentionally ditched the plane Jan. 28 in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego after deciding it could not return to its home base in southern Arizona. While no one was injured, the $12 million aircraft was destroyed.
CBP has nine remaining planes, which are used for border security. The agency has taken “appropriate mechanical steps” to prevent similar mishaps on those aircraft, Friel said.