This Is What Happens When A Drone Collides With An Airplane Wing


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If you own and fly a drone, then you must know that there are certain places where you are not allowed to operate it. Most of these places are military bases where there are national security reasons. However, drones are not allowed to fly near airports as well since they can cause severe damage to the aircraft. Researchers have been studying different forms of theoretical collisions including what happens if a drone hits a plane’s nose cone or gets sucked into its engine. A group of researchers from the University of Dayton has recently discovered the dangers of a wing collision. They loaded a standard drone into a cannon and fired it at a plane wing to see the result.

The drone was destroyed in the collision but still managed to hit the wing as a single object instead of breaking into multiple smaller pieces. This implies that a drone can cause severe damage to an airplane wing. The drone in the experiment damaged the wing’s main spar. This did not happen when the researchers tested the same setup with a simulated bird impact. Kevin Poormon said in a press release, “The bird did more apparent damage to the leading edge of the wing, but the Phantom [drone] penetrated deeper into the wing and damaged the main spar, which the bird did not do.”

This research will help pilots and the FAA to understand what kind of dangers drones can pose to the aircraft. Luckily, so far no drone has collided with a plane. This study research will also prove that drones are as deadly as suspected by the regulators and the restrictions applied to drone pilots are also valid.

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  1. Was this test made in a windtunnel simulating the airflow present at the wing? I was expecting the updraft and downdraft would push away the drone.