Drones are becoming more and more popular among users. They cannot be considered just simple toys. The drone manufacturing industry is blooming. To give you an insight according to businessinsider.com the drone market expected to reach $21 billion by 2021 in net sales. That means a lot of drones will be soled in the future. In 2016 the total number of drones sold worldwide reached 2.2 million units. But with more and more drone owners worldwide how dangerous are these drones for airliners? This article will try to tackle this subject.
With the growing popularity of commercial drones, more and more people are flying drones nowadays. The problem that arises is that not everybody has the skills to fly these Unmaned Air Vehicles safely. Today’s drones are becoming more and more complex. Helped by leading edge technologies they are able to fly year by year further. There are some drone capable of flying 6 miles (10 km) away from the operator. When it comes to height the records broken one after the other. The latest record at the moment this article is written is 22150 feet (6.6 km)
Are drones dangerous for airliners worldwide?
With the rapid increase of drone numbers worldwide it is evident that the chances for an accident are increasing. But how many planes are flying worldwide? Well, there are no official numbers, but according to telegraph.co.uk there are around 23.600 – that includes passenger and cargo aircraft. But with the demand increasing the chances of such an event are increasing.
The problem isn’t only the large number of drones flown worldwide , but the lack of discipline among some drone “pilots” that are flying their drones to close to airports or flying these aircraft higher than the recommended height. Such an event happened on 16th of October 2017 when
A drone crashed into a commercial airplane in Canada, the first time such an incident has occurred in the country
The incident was presented by major newspapers and magazines, like Times. This is only one incident that is presented within this article. Unfortunately, these incident could become more common in the years that come.
What is the solution for the problem?
The drone threat to airliners is real. Worldwide, authorities consider this threat a serious one. Therefore, most of the countries worldwide are now developing their own regulations and laws when it comes to drone flight and usage. If you want to find out more about the regulations that impose to each country I invite you to read this article.
China, which is one of the largest drone manufacturing countries takes this problem serious. On November 30th, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) conducted the first test of a collision between a UAV (drone) and a passenger plane at the Xiangbei Experimental Base of Aviation Industry. This was done to determine the effects of a quad-copter drone hitting the front windshield of a passenger plane in flight.
Additionally drone pilots should take all the safety measures before flying with their drones. This also includes avoiding the airspace near airports or flying the drones at high altitudes. For those who tend to forget, these are no toys. Even if some models are equipped with sensors for avoiding obstacles, these are useless when hitting an airplane. Additional research is done worldwide. One of them is a research team from the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) released a report that concludes that drones that collide with large manned aircraft can cause more structural damage than birds of the same weight for a given impact speed. If you want to read more about this topic you can do it following this link.
The drone industry is increasing year by year. The number of shipped drones could pass the forecasted numbers. Therefor each drone owner has a responsibility when flying their drones. Safety measures need to be taken each time we lift these aircraft from the ground. Although we are not piloting a multi million airplane, still, we have the same responsibility. Otherwise our actions can have the same negative consequences.
Do you take all the precaution measures before you fly your drone? Leave a feedback in the comment section.