Video Reveals Devastating Impact of Drone Hitting Aircraft


A lot of the push by legislators and commercial drone manufacturers to set up regulatory schemes governing the use and licensure of drones might strike some people as a bit rushed and peremptory, especially given that drone usage is still a fairly niche hobby.

Image by Goh Rhy Yan

Yet, as one of the fastest growing segments in the tech industry, drones also occupy a unique position in that they can cause mischief unlike many other devices on the market and, as this video from the University of Dayton Research Institute demonstrates, the results could be devastating for aircraft colliding with a drone.

The test captured on video simulates a crash between a drone and a commercial aircraft traveling at 238 miles per hour with the plane simulating a “piston-powered, propeller driven” aircraft according to PetaPixel.

The short clip shows the DJI Phantom 2 hitting an aircraft’s wing and the effect such a strike would have. Not only is the result pretty chilling to watch but also serves as a wake up call for those people who don’t drone safety seriously.

Instead of smashing the small drone to bits the drone instead tears a hole through the structure of the wing. Discussing the results of the experiment, research lead Kevin Poormon said: “We wanted to help the aviation community and the drone industry understand the dangers that even recreational drones can pose to manned aircraft before a significant event occurs…But there is little to no data about the type of damage UAVs can do, and the information that is available has come only from modeling and simulations. We knew the only way to really study and understand the problem was to create an actual collision, and we’re fully equipped to do that.”

Of course, if you’re like me you might be wondering about birds hitting the airplane’s wing since some large birds can have a similar weight to that of the drone. The researchers commented on this noting that birds cause more visible damage to a wing upon impact the drone actually hit deeper into the structure of the wing. It is easy to theorize that larger drones would do even more damage.

You can watch a video of the results here on YouTube

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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