Google Accidentally Photographs Military Drone Landing

Around the clock, satellites are snapping and re-snapping the Earth's surface from space. Also around the clock, weaponised killer drones are making the rounds — and it looks like the two just had a chance encounter.

The scene above shows one of the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper drones preparing to touch down at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where UAVs are piloted both in the US and foreign warzones. The same warzones satellites like the one Google pays are watching right... now. Full circle, guys. [Google Maps via BuzzFeed]


    How do you know it was landing and not taking off?

    Edit: Or is this not how drones take off? I'm not up on these things..

    Last edited 19/12/12 3:53 pm

      It's most likely taking off. It's towards the end of the runway and still in the air. If it were landing it would already be on the ground by that point along the runway.
      This is not 100% drones like this are fairly small and have short take off / landing distances, but you would think they would use most of the runway, because, why not?

        Its towards the start of the runway. the taxyway is angled for aircraft to taxi onto the runway from right to left. indicating the end of the runway is to the right. Even for a drone thats a very short distance to take off in. Its more likely to be landing.

          Aircraft usually take off and land into the wind, a runway can be used in either direction depending on the weather. I don't think to location of a taxi way (especially at an air force base) really matters for take off and landing direction.
          Simply judging by the height and direction of flight if it was landing, it would be running out of runway pretty quickly.
          I could be wrong, but that's my take on things.
          As a side note... does the wind in Nevada usually blow from the east?

            I apologise. You are right. Looking at the full Google earth map shows that this section of the runway is actually towards the end of the runway. It is taking off.

    Definitely taking off

    Left of shot, about an inch on both sides of the runway are Corona spots caused by lateral Sun reflection off the lens, sun is to the right of shot

    Both tail ends are the shadow and plane are smaller field of perspective meaning the tail end is substantially angled. No avionics engineer though I would've thought the sharper angle in landing would result in tail strike

      Your logic seems sound good sir. I agree. Although, I'm no avionics engineer either.

      "Both tail ends are the shadow and plane are smaller field of perspective meaning the tail end is substantially angled." Were you drunk when you wrote this? It reads like a Chinese subtitle.

    You can also see another drone in street view of the road parallel to the runway.

    If you want the best views, that I can find, head to Edwards AF Base on Apple maps

    U2s, b2 stealth bombers, endless f16,18s and heaps of C17s

    The more you hunt round the base the more you will find

    Sorry, it's Apple maps only!!

      No one wants to go anywhere near apple maps. We might end up on the moon trying to follow their directions.

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