Study: small drones pose little risk to planes

By Nye Longman
A new study from George Mason University has revealed that small consumer drones (weighing 4.41 pounds on average) pose a relatively small threat to pla...

A new study from George Mason University has revealed that small consumer drones (weighing 4.41 pounds on average) pose a relatively small threat to planes.  

The new study, carried out by George Mason University's Mercatus Center used 25 years of data on bird collisions and used it to compare data on small birds with similar-sized drones.

Data from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) wildlife strike database revealed that while there have been 160,000 recorded bird strikes since 1990, only 14,314 incidents resulted in damage to planes. Furthermore, it highlighted the fact that most of the damaging incidents involved larger birds flying in formation - only 3 percent of collisions with smaller birds comparable in size to consumer drones ever resulted in damage.

The group concluded that it will take 1.87 million years of flight time for a lone 4.41 pound drone to damage an aircraft. While this is clearly amusing, the study has also revealed that there is a lack of data on exactly what kind of damage a UAV can cause, since turbines are only tested on collisions with birds.

Read the study here: ‘Do Consumer Drones Endanger the National Airspace? Evidence from Wildlife Strike Data’

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SOURCE: [Engaget]

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