Scientists Ask The Question: What Happens If A Drone Hits A Plane?

There are more and more drones in the sky, and it’ll only get worse in the future. There are already many companies that want to take the mail to your window in a drone, deliver packages at home or even deliver the food you have ordered. But what if on the flight over they are facing a commercial flight? Well, the chances of that happening are minimal, given that the planes reach a cruising height about 10 kilometers away from the ground and, we don’t believe that drones take up airspace on their journeys (mostly because it would be illegal and totally insecure). But what if it happens? What if someone does it deliberately? What if a terrorist group seeks to harm a flight in this way? Who would win: the drone or the plane?

It is the question asked by a group of scientists from the Research Institute of the University of Dayton and the results have given us to the following conclusion: “a plane will not always win against a drone.” To run their tests, they imitated a possible crash of both types of aircraft at a speed of 383 km/hour. They used a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, weighing 1 kilo, which they threw against the wing of a Mooney M20, a small airplane powered by a piston engine.

What scientists discovered is that the drone does not break specifically by the impact. Instead, it makes a huge hole in the main edge of the wing, damaging its main mast, its main structure. Here you can see the shocking result:

The scientists not only threw a drone at that speed, they also tested the damage that a bird could cause against a wing, and the surprise is that it was very similar, although the drones ended up penetrating more inside the structure causing even more damage. With this type of experiment, the team at the University of Dayton wants to raise awareness about the need for drones to be built more fragile, or to break more easily in case of impact.

Becky Steen

My name is Becky Steen, I am a technology writer who has been writing for this website for the past 4 months. You can contact me and ask me anything about science and technology. I especially like researching new gadgets. Most recently, at the request of many of our readers, I have started providing technical stock analysis news.

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