From my modest RPAS pilot experience, I can tell that during a flight planning, while using different sources: maps, satellite images, GPS traces, Wikimedia images, videos, etc. I kind of inadvertently build in my head a 3D model of an area, paying attention to distinctive landmarks, and especially to a point of landing.

In this particular case, I could map the control tower also only after I saw videos, aerial and ground photos, satellite images of the Haßfurt-Schweinfurt airport. After the tower, a major landmark, is on the map, here it is, I have got the 3D model.

Human brain works in 2D, that is why it takes years and years to train a good pilot. The professional term for a flight is: jump. Aircraft does not fly like a bird, it has got limitations of a jump (END - endurance, EET - estimated elapse time, ALT - alternate aerodrome, flight plan, etc.). A pilot error is not always caused by high spirits or illness, sometimes it is a result of objective limitations of human physiology. That is why any flight has got a flight planning phase.

By the way, if a smartphone battery has drained, if "Find My Phone" can’t locate the device, the last known location is displayed on a map.

Best regards,

On 11.04.18 12:26, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:

agreed, I would also believe that the military _also_ might look at OSM (every additional source is always useful), but very likely not for flying aircraft, still, I don't believe there is any correlation whatsoever between a military helicopter touching an airport control tower at daytime and good weather conditions, and this tower mapped in OSM or not. And even if it would have been a thunderstorm and foggy and night time, there wouldn't be any correlation between the accident and OSM (besides that you became aware of the tower and mapped it because of the news). Usually accidents like this happen because of high spirits or someone having an heart attack or similar.

On a sidenote, I think you overestimate the technology to find your smartphone, you would very likely not find it in the ocean or in a river or lake, or in a cave, or after some hours when the battery has drained, or in an area without cellphone or wireless reception, or if it was inside a shielding containment, etc. ;-)


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