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Aviation Industry Beware: Drones in Airspace More Dangerous than Birds

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Published on : Jan 17, 2018

Since the invention of wheel, humanity has come a long way as far as modes of transportation is concerned, be it of goods or self. In more recent times, the aviation industry has propelled as the fastest mode of travel for longer distances, while on the other hand, we are also developing drones that can function autonomously and provide for application such as goods delivery and surveillance and security. In between, according to a recent study focused on unmanned aerial systems, we may be inviting major trouble if drones fly into same airspace as planes and a collision happens.

The study conducted by ASSURE at the Ohio State University has been quantifying the dangers posed by drones and says that drone collision can be a weapon of mass destruction, much larger than an impact of a bird with same weight. A drone of weight in the range of 2.7 to 8 pounds are being evaluated for its impact on the windshield, wind leading edge, and the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The results have been irregular, as some drones penetrated into the airframe while some caused minor failure to the primary structure. The study has notified planes that are taking off are at a much greater risk, as the fans are running at their optimum speed.

It must be noted that FAA has been receiving in excess of 100 incidences of drone sighting in commercial and military airspace each month. As many as 2.3 million drones are expected to be sold for recreational use in 2018 and the number is anticipated to continue mounting in the coming years.