A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) drone collided with an RCMP helicopter in British Columbia, Canada back on February 6th. The collision resulted in the drone being destroyed, and the helicopter suffered a small amount of damage to the main rotor.
A drone may have been involved in a helicopter’s crash landing in South Carolina earlier this week. This would make it the first drone-related aircraft crash in the United States. The incident happened on Wednesday around 2 pm as a student pilot was practicing low-altitude hovering in a remote area, according to Charleston Police Department report. Luckily both the student and the helicopter instructor were uninjured.
After this holiday shopping season, there will be more drones in the hands of consumers than ever before. Governments and aviation authorities around the world are concerned that the increase in the number of amateur drone pilots will lead to more drone incidents, such as drone sightings close to airports, near-misses and potentially more actual drone and airplane collisions. This raises the question, how much damage a drone would cause to an airplane in case of a collision? Scientists have used computer simulations to try and answer this question.
The Chinese aviation authorities went one step further and created an actual cockpit mockup, mounted it to a rocket and launched it at a drone at the usual airplane speed.
Two days ago we wrote about an FAA-commissioned study that had been released by a team from the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), that concluded that drones colliding with large manned aircraft will likely cause more structural damage than birds with the same weight for a given impact speed.
Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI responded to the ASSURE report, in which a DJI Phantom 3 was used, with a public statement to address some of the concerns.
Whereas birds have a soft mass and tissue, drones are made of harder materials and contain more compact mass, such as batteries and motors, which are likely to cause more damage during a collision with a manned airplane.
Last Saturday, a Lange Antares 20E glider was soaring along the Dutch shoreline, when it was struck but a consumer drone. The incident was reported to the Aviation Safety Network as occurrence #200703. According to the report, there were no injuries or fatalities. The glider was able to make it back to the airfield safely. The aircraft sustained significant damage to the wingtip and the drone was destroyed upon impact. No word as of yet on finding the drone pilot.