Research from the University of Dayton Institute has shown how small drones can cause significant damage on impact with large aircraft.
The test, designed to mimic a mid-air collision at 238 miles per hour, launched a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter into the wing of a Mooney M20 aircraft.
On impact, the drone did not completely collapse meaning it managed to cause serious damage to the wing of the plane.
Kevin Poorman, group leader for impact physics at UDRI, said: “While the quadcopter broke apart, its energy and mass hung together to create significant damage to the wing. We’ve performed bird-strike testing for 40 years, and we’ve seen the kind of damage birds can do. Drones are similar in weight to some birds, and so we’ve watched with growing concern as reports of near collisions have increased.”
He added: “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 modelling and simulations.”
Watch the video from the research project here: