Maybe you got a new drone for the holidays. Perhaps you’ve had one and have just been waiting for the right weather to go out and fly it. You’ve heard that you have to be careful of aircraft in the area, but why? You would never fly your drone that high.
If you don’t have excellent control of your drone, you certainly could fly it high enough to get in the way of low-flying aircraft, and you could cause great damage. A new study has been released detailing that damage and some people have found it surprising. When it comes to planes and other aircraft, drones are now considered a bigger danger than birds.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence recently released their report on drones and their hazards. What they found was thought provoking. If a drone and a bird of roughly the same size and weight struck a plane, the drone would cause far more structural damage than the bird.
How the Study Was Conducted
The researchers didn’t use real planes to test their theories, of course, but utilized computer models for the analysis. They studied quadcopters weighing both 2.7 and 4 pounds, and they looked at fixed-wing drones weighing 4 and 8 pounds. They studied the collisions of each of these machines with commercial planes and business airliners. They discovered that drones would cause more damage than birds, simply because of all the components they are made of, including metal, heavy plastic and batteries.
In the study, researchers found that the plane’s horizontal stabilizers were most at risk and the windshield. They also found that depending on the impact, a drone could leave no damage, or it could penetrate the airframe of the jet. Penetration of the airframe could have deadly consequences.
Laws Set to Prevent These Incidents
In August 2016, the FAA set forth rules regarding the use of drones by the public. Included in those provisions is the rule that drones may not be flown higher than 400 feet above ground level. They are also not permitted to be flown around airports, helicopters and airplanes. The FAA says that it still receives more than 100 reports of people violating these rules, and others, each month.
The president of Air Line Pilots Association, International, said, “The dangers from [drones] that are operated unsafely in the national airspace are real — as we’ve seen in two recent midair collisions. The findings released…in a Federal Aviation Administration-sponsored study, combined with previous data showing that near misses between [drones] and manned aircraft are occurring more often, provide compelling evidence that we need to act before tragedy strikes.”
The thought of being injured in a plane crash is something that frightens many people. If you have found yourself in this situation in San Luis Obispo, you have rights. Call our office today and speak with a member of our team to arrange a case evaluation. We will discuss your accident and advise you of your options.