AeroVironment Global Observer Experiences Mishap During Extended Duration Flight Testing

April 01, 2011
  • No injuries or damage to other property reported during envelope expansion flight testing 
  • Investigation Board will be convened to probe cause and provide details of mishap

MONROVIA, Calif., April 1, 2011 -- AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) today announced that the Global Observer unmanned air vehicle undergoing flight test envelope expansion at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California experienced a mishap at 2:30 am Pacific Daylight Time today, approximately 18 hours into its ninth test flight. There are no reports of injury or damage to other property.


“Flight testing an innovative new solution like Global Observer involves pushing the frontiers of technology and convention,” said Tim Conver, AeroVironment chairman and chief executive officer. “Risk is a component of every flight test program, and the learning that results from a mishap enables us to improve system reliability and performance. One benefit of testing an unmanned aircraft system is that pilots and crew are not in harm’s way when a mishap occurs.”

Conver added, “We will work closely with the Investigation Board to determine the cause of the mishap and once its findings are available we will apply its recommendations to future activities. Global Observer remains a compelling solution to important government and commercial needs.”

The joint U.S. government and AeroVironment Global Observer team was in the process of expanding the flight envelope of the first air vehicle, which had been operating for nearly twice the endurance and at a higher altitude than previous flights when the mishap occurred. The second air vehicle developed as part of the joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) program is nearly complete and remains at AeroVironment’s development facility.

AV received the contract for developing and demonstrating Global Observer as a JCTD program in September 2007. Six U.S. government agencies have provided more than $140 million in funding for the program, most of which has been expended.


About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty.Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, tactical missile systems and electric vehicle charging and test systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses and consumers. For more information visit www.avinc.com.


Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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Contact:
AeroVironment, Inc.
Steven Gitlin
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Mark Boyer
For AeroVironment, Inc.
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