Aviation officials worry about the drones crashing into aeroplanes

Posted by A on 18 October 2018

If aeroplanes are your preferred mode of transport when travelling, you may be alarmed to hear that the increasing number of drones in the sky is causing aviation officials to worry about aeroplane strikes. The Federal Aviation Administration has reported receiving more than 100 drone sightings each month.

Photograph by Sorry imKirk.

Kevin Poormon, a University of Dayton engineer has performed numerous bird strike tests on aeroplanes, mimicked a midair collision between a 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and a Mooney M20 aeroplane. The test, as demonstrated in the video below, revealed the drone boring into the aeroplane damaging the aeroplane’s main spar, which carries the weight of the wing.

Last year, another study by the Federal Aviation Administration research centre revealed similar findings. The research analysed two quadcopters and two fixed-wing drones on a single-aisle commercial transport jet and a business jet.

The first ever drone and aeroplane crash happened last year in Canada and there’ve been a few others reported since. Canadian transport minister Marc Garneau said that the crash ‘could have been much more serious,’ even ‘catastrophic’. Another DJI Inspire 2 drone with a camera attached struck a helicopter in June, resulting in about R1.5 million damage. The hit to the helicopter’s tail boom and vertical tail fin was so bad that Pilot John Marking said he believes the helicopter wouldn’t have stayed in the air much longer.

Researchers have recommended that manufacturers create drones that have features like “detect and avoid” or “geo-fencing” technology to avoid collisions.

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