The Van Horn Volunteer Fire Department responded late in the evening on June 28 to a remote area northeast of Van Horn for what came to be the crash site of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone.
Susan Strasser of the Strasser Ranch, aided officials in locating the UAV that had crashed on her property, located 8 miles north of town near the airport. The drone was tracked by GPS several miles away near the I-10 roadside park east of Van Horn. Strasser was not allowed to view the crash site until the next day and after the drone had been removed to a probable staging site at the Culberson County Airport. The debris field from the crash left a small fuel spill and a depression in the dirt caused by the 500-pound UAV. Several days later, a crew arrived at the Strasser Ranch to finish the clean-up and clearing of the damage done to the land.
Unmanned aerial vehicles use remote operator pilots for observation, and usually gather intelligence used in operational tactics. Job training for an unmanned aircraft systems operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and over 32 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction.
The Advocate received the following comment from a Texas Military Department Public Affairs Spokesman last week: “The accident involving the Unmanned Aerial System on the night of June 28th, 2019 east of the Culberson County Airport in Van Horn is property of the Texas National Guard. We along with the Federal Aviation Administration are looking into the circumstances surrounding this accident.”