Murphy's Law: May 12, 2005


UAVs are finding civilian work in unexpected ways. Helicopter UAVs, which have been in development (and a few in service) for decades, have become very popular as scale model helicopters for movie and television work. Tactical Aerospace Group (TAG) manufactures helicopter UAVs that film producers have found make an excellent substitute for the real thing. For many shots, you dont need a full size helicopter. And if you want to crash the bird, you definitely dont want to use the real thing. Insurance rates are much lower if you use UAVs instead of real helicopters. Insurance has been a growing cost for film makers. TAG makes helicopter UAVs that are one third or one seventh the size of the real thing. TAG helicopter UAVs are pretty bare bones, so much so that film makers can construct external, fiberglass, shells that make the UAVs look like many different models of helicopters. TAG has actually had more success selling their UAVs to civilian users, particularly police, as the military is more interested in fixed wing type UAVs, which can stay in the air much longer. However, there is a market, although a smaller one, for helicopters UAVs in the military. 


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