Aerial flight demo delayed due to river mishap

From the Kamloops Daily News

It was supposed to fly over a crowd of onlookers at an aerial flight demonstration on Monday.

But the high-tech remote-controlled video camera – affectionately named Mojo 1 – took an accidental dip in the Thompson River, sidelining its public debut.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was owned and operated by Mastermind Studios, a video-production company in Kamloops, which has more than $150,000 invested in UAV technology.

Mastermind commissioned a U.S. Department of Defense contractor to build the mini helicopter, which was capable of shooting HD video as it flew nearly silently above a site.

On Saturday, the company took Mojo 1 to Riverside Park to record the Canadian Wakeboard Championships. While flying above the action, one of the boats in the competition unexpectedly changed course and came dangerously close to Mojo 1.

“Our primary concern when flying our UAVs is always the safety of the people in our fly area,” said company president Peter Cameron-Inglis.

So Mojo 1’s ground crew immediately elevated the unit to prevent a collision. The UAV hovered for a moment, as it is programmed to do, and then splashed down. The flight data logs have been sent to the manufacturer for analysis.

Damage was extensive, said company spokeswoman Kimberly Eibl.

“We were not able to recover it,” she said, noting the unit was insured.

A backup UAV, named Mojo 2, is already being built and is expected to be ready for its first flight by mid-September.