New study reveals drone risk in U.S. airspace
November 24, 2015 By Aero Kinectics
A new study released by Aero Kinetics, an Aerospace and Defense firm, reveals the safety impact and risks of toy drones in U.S. airspace. The study, entitled "The Real Consequences of Flying Toy Drones in the National Airspace System," explores how dangerous unregulated toy drones can be to the aerospace industry and consumers. The conclusion is that Toy Drones post a significant threat to manned rotorcraft in all phases of flight, including cruise, based upon their typical operating altitudes.
“Most people don’t understand how threatening a toy drone can be. Toy drones are not unmanned aircraft,” said W. Hulsey Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Aero Kinetics. “Make no mistake lives are at stake. This study is meant to bring the risk into perspective, and inform consumers of the dangers that exist. Safety matters, and is the driving force that can bring together the FAA, the aerospace industry, and the toy drone industry so that we can find the best ways to put meaningful regulations in place for toy drones.”
The study examined what will happen when a collision occurs between a toy drone and a manned aircraft, including the potential for damage and death. The study further compared a toy drone strike with historical data on bird strikes, which are proven to cause significant damage to manned aircraft and loss of human life. According to current estimates, bird strikes cost $951,000,000 per year in the U.S. alone. Therefore, the study concludes that the impact of a toy drone, made of plastic, metal, and engineered materials, with a manned aircraft in a collision would be even more catastrophic.
“The toy drone industry is not regulated in the same manner unmanned aircraft are in the aerospace industry,” said W. Hulsey Smith. “There is a huge risk for collisions that not only creates an alarming economic impact for aircraft, but also the human factor of losing lives onboard planes and innocent bystanders on the ground. We believe the solution is multi-fold, including educating the public, doing additional testing, creating dedicated operating areas, monitoring air-traffic to separate flight space, and understanding and implementing effective standards for certification.”
Aero Kinetics is currently exploring the possibility of building a consortium to conduct further research on toy drones. Those results could help shape the future of manned aircraft design requirements and toy drone regulation, saving millions of dollars and many lives.