As the hunt continues for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, a Kansas State University Salina (K-State Salina) aviation professor says using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) could make the search more efficient.
Kurt Barnhart is head of the department of aviation and executive director of the Applied Aviation Research Center at K-State Salina. According to Barnhart, UAS would be an asset in the search for the missing airliner.
The professor notes that although UAS are limited by their fuel source, the aircraft do not have the physical and mental limitations of humans.
‘We tend to get empty-field myopia,’ Barnhart comments. ‘If we're not actively guarding against that, we tend to lose focus in areas like open fields or large bodies of water.
‘Our eyes aren't particularly attuned all the time in that situation, so it would be very easy to miss something that might be very important,’ he adds.
The university says that one of the primary focuses of its Applied Aviation Research Center is investigating how UAS can aid in the response to man-made disasters and natural disasters, such as tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes.
Kansas State University is one of the first two universities in the U.S. to offer a Bachelor of Science in UAS, K-State Salina reports.