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tubby linton
17th Apr 2016, 17:10
Sky news are reporting that an aircraft inbound to EGLL from LSGG had a drone strike today whilst on approach

Halewood
17th Apr 2016, 17:17
I'm surprised its took this long for this inevitability to happen.

susier
17th Apr 2016, 17:31
According to various news sources the plane was inspected and cleared to fly following the incident.


Edit: looking at FR it could have been A320 BA727 which landed around 12:30 today. I'm not certain of that.

Kitiara
17th Apr 2016, 17:44
This particular incident appears to have been harmless.

But it does serve to further underline the issue that drones present a very real and immediate danger to commercial aviation.

Like I say, this incident was harmless, but it doesn't take too much imagination to consider what a person with malicious intent and an armed drone could achieve.

scr1
17th Apr 2016, 18:11
link to story on BBC

Drone hit British Airways plane approaching Heathrow Airport - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36067591)

Tourist
17th Apr 2016, 18:22
How can anybody possibly use this event as proof that drones are bad news?

We all knew that there would eventually be a collision. That is simply a function of number of objects in the air that are not de-conflicted.

We have now had the first event of it's type, and from all reports the aircraft was looked at and then signed off to continue.

This, if anything, suggests that the doom mongers are over-egging things.

Drone hits plane.
Plane not damaged.
Initial indications from an initially miniscule research set suggests that drone strikes do not hurt aircraft. As more collisions happen, I'm quite sure that eventually one will go down an engine. That will be more indicative of whether there is actually a problem.

What we need is not silly hysteria.
We need somebody to test engines against drones like we do against birds.

FE Hoppy
17th Apr 2016, 18:29
There are rules. Just no way of enforcing them.
That will change when someone gets hurt.

susier
17th Apr 2016, 18:33
Tourist, what do you think would happen were a drone to be ingested by an engine?


What happened to Sullenberger's A320?


I concur that this incident doesn't demonstrate the capacity of a drone to bring down an airliner.


It certainly, however, doesn't demonstrate that a drone cannot bring down an airliner.


All it really demonstrates is that planes can collide with drones. Which is obviously a concern.


I see no hysteria here. There may be some in wider media obviously.

Uberteknik
17th Apr 2016, 18:34
@Tourist


So what you are saying is that manufacturers need to spend huge amounts of money on testing for drone strikes to certify every single aircraft and engine in service now and in future?


I'm sure airlines and manufacturers will be jumping for joy at the prospect.

JumpJumpJump
17th Apr 2016, 18:37
Have any engine manufcturers chucked one in to a running engine yet to see what happens?

Tony Flynn
17th Apr 2016, 18:43
Let's not forget what a small tile did for a space shuttle during launch.

I'm struggling to think of an airport anywhere in the world that involves atmospheric re-entry.

ZOOKER
17th Apr 2016, 18:44
Tourist......

"We need someone to test engines against drones like we do against birds"

Will you be happy to stump up the money for this pointless research then?

enola-gay
17th Apr 2016, 18:49
The drone will have downloaded the impact sequence video to someone's iPad. That someone, (albeing stupid) will share it with others, just like rhino poachers do. It will be the drone operator's El Dorado moment. Within 2 days, I expect it will go viral and Plod will feel a collar in Hounslow.

ZOOKER
17th Apr 2016, 18:50
Seeing as this is an encounter between an aircraft and an 'RPAS', is this officially the first mid-air collision in U.K. controlled airspace..........for a very long time?

If so, it's a sad day indeed.

peekay4
17th Apr 2016, 18:51
A turboprop into one of these won't be pretty:

http://www.skycamusa.com/images/5d_drone.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/lpiSw0n.jpg?2

RHS
17th Apr 2016, 18:54
Tourist, have you seen the size of some of these drones? I would bet my bottom dollar that this was one of the smaller commercial drones, but some of the larger professional models would be like hitting a garbage bin.

I for one don't fancy going to work tomorrow and being the unfortunate pilot who hits a drone and becomes the first accident.

Nige321
17th Apr 2016, 19:00
Peekay4 - I think it's highley unlikley you'll find a UAV of that kind in the hands of a nutter on the approach to Heathrow...

Tourist
17th Apr 2016, 19:15
Tourist......

"We need someone to test engines against drones like we do against birds"

Will you be happy to stump up the money for this pointless research then?
Nope.

Why should I?

I'm happy to have drones buzzing around, just like I'm happy to have birds flying around.
Those who regulate these things should do some scientific research about the actual rather than perceived risks.
Or, just wait and see.
If they are truly a big risk, then the tombstone imperative will pave the way.
My personal opinion is that these are in the bird strike risk category. All part of the natural risks of life.

Tourist
17th Apr 2016, 19:16
The simple fact is that the score is currently 1/0 to the "drones don't damage big aircraft" point of view.

Maxan_Murphy
17th Apr 2016, 19:21
Watershed moment I hope. Gone way too far already.:= Time for a 100 mile(minimum) exclusion zone. Sooner somebody gets :mad: hauled up the better.

susier
17th Apr 2016, 19:22
From the Guardian's coverage:


'Steve Landells, the flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said that data on bird strikes was not useful because “birds don’t have a big lump of lithium battery in them”.


He raised the possibility of engine failure in the event of a drone striking a plane. “You end up with very high-velocity bits of metal going anywhere they like.


That could be through fuel tanks, through hydraulic lines and even into the cabin,” he said.


“Losing the engine is not going to cause an aircraft to crash because they are designed to fly with one engine down. But an uncontained engine failure is going to be different every time. That could be very serious indeed.”


“The first thing we want to do is get a drone or at least the critical parts of a drone flying at a windscreen of an aircraft. The indications so far with computer modelling are that you’ll end up with penetration of a windscreen.

“One possibility is that the battery smashes the windscreen and the inside layer of the windscreen shatters and you end up with a lot of glass in the cockpit, probably moving at quite high speed.


“As a pilot, I don’t want to be sitting there when that’s going on.” '


So research is already happening, albeit in a virtual manner. I would have been surprised to find it wasn't.

lomapaseo
17th Apr 2016, 19:25
"We need someone to test engines against drones like we do against birds"


Not necessary the answer is already presumed

The engine will be conked and a safe shutdown.

I'll keep my eyes open on the internet for a multi-engine drone ingestion someday in the future where the pilot workload goes up.

Groundloop
17th Apr 2016, 19:29
All part of the natural risks of life.

Well ,birds ARE natural and cannot be controlled, drones are artificial and ARE controlled - but some nutters cannot control them properly!!!

tubby linton
17th Apr 2016, 19:40
A drone was recently spotted in flight near Biggin at over 12000 feet. The drone must have had a large battery pack to get to this altitude and it may have also contained a camera and it is these two items that pose a problem due to their density.

Gertrude the Wombat
17th Apr 2016, 19:43
We need somebody to test engines against drones like we do against birds.
Who's going to pay for the engine under test?

Gertrude the Wombat
17th Apr 2016, 19:45
The simple fact is that the score is currently 1/0 to the "drones don't damage big aircraft" point of view.
What about little aircraft? - it's OK to kill us, is it, as long as the big ones survive?

Basil
17th Apr 2016, 19:55
Who's going to pay for the engine under test?
Old, obsolete, out of hours, not worth refurbish - full power (go-around before someone refers to approach power) - large UAV (WTF is a 'drone'?) and see what happens.

Just so that those not in the trade understand:
The idiots who fly these things in the wrong place are nothing like aviation modellers. They are in the same bracket as those who point lasers at aircraft. Models need to be built by enthusiasts and are relatively difficult to fly. A 'toy' UAV is computer stabilised and controlled so anyone can fly it accurately. I have no objection to recreational use of them such as taking a pic of your house or self from the air but, unfortunately, they are easy for clowns to obtain and fly.

CONSO
17th Apr 2016, 20:06
Correct, 'NO!' ;)
Correct re firing chickens- they are fired into cockpit and radomes and windshields to evaluate certain structural issues. The 767 ' skullcap ' [windshield surround ]was changed to incorporate titanium ' stringers' and substructures and surround as a result of such tests way back in the 80's.

Half frozen chickens and turkeys are one thing- hard metal and batteries are another when it comes to penetration- both for windshields and engines..

juniour jetset
17th Apr 2016, 20:12
Only matter of time till this Drone "bubble" is seriously popped by the regulators/governments and so it should be

Think of a not so distant future where Jihadists use them for sinister acts, drug dealers use them with a weapon attached to kill their competing gangsters, to deliver drugs, to deliver stuff into prisons, to take photos of people in their private space..

The Japanese Police already have a master drone to capture rogues drones

glad rag
17th Apr 2016, 20:25
yawn, do actually believe those wishing to deliver a coup de tat on an inbound airliner with a drone swarm attack are actuaļy going to go legit beforehand?

mercurydancer
17th Apr 2016, 20:42
Birdstrike is unfortunate, and sometimes cannot be avoided. Stercus accidit.

However, laser attacks and drones which can be ingested into aircraft engines can be avoided as they are largely the actions of people who know the danger that can result. Therefore they must face the penalty of law. Its an avoidable danger that the passengers of any airline do not wish to be exposed to (and the flight crew for that matter)

pax britanica
17th Apr 2016, 20:43
Whikle I agree that some perspective is called for the worrying thing is that with all the publicity plus the law about not flying these things near airports some idiot just ignores the rules.
In UK if you buy a TV=same price or less than a medium sized heavier drone that could cause damage you have to supply name and address and of course thats easily linked to drone model and serial number.

Just that process that implies the authorities can chase down offenders would stop things to a degree as would making it clear that if you damaged an airliner or for that matter any aircraft through operating a UAV (yes I agree a drone is a silly name) in the vicinity of an airport is automatically culpable manslaughter with the likelyhood of 15 years inside might also focus the mind. Neither likely in UK where the civil service /poli/legal culture works on the basis of no ones died yet have they.

I don't agree its the same as a bird strike thats always going to be a random act of nature this kind of thing is a deliberate act of recklessness and as there are numerous places where a hard object could cause serious damage to plane it shouldn't be ignored on the basis that-its no worse than a bird strike. After ll there are decades of experience of bird strike damage and I imagine desingers and engineers have a lot of data to work with but not so with UAVs

OldLurker
17th Apr 2016, 20:45
Peekay4 - I think it's highley unlikley you'll find a UAV of that kind in the hands of a nutter on the approach to Heathrow...I think a nutter (a serious one) would very likely use a big heavy UAV such as in the upper photo, in order to do maximum damage.

Even the smaller one held by the kid in the lower photo, if flown by said kid into a jet engine while poppa wasn't looking, would be ... interesting.

OldLurker
17th Apr 2016, 20:53
I think the authorities' reaction to this incident is likely to be along the lines suggested by Tourist: an aircraft hit a drone, no significant damage, therefore drones aren't a danger to aircraft and we can go back to sleep behind our desks. Nothing will be done until serious damage is caused, probably as others suggest above by an engine ingesting a drone. Then there'll be a panic.

G0ULI
17th Apr 2016, 21:14
Smaller drones represent an insignificant risk to large aircraft like an A320, 64,500 Kg versus 1 Kg is unlikely to end in favour of the drone. The larger 5Kg and upwards semi professional models that are capable of flights to several thousand feet are clearly a potential hazard.

Perhaps larger drones should be fitted with a mandatory TCAS receiver that causes the drone to immediately land in event of a conflict with an aircraft. A permanent serial number burnt into the computer chips or a system to permanently disable the drone operating system if it is operated in conflict with aircraft could be useful. Something along the lines of disabling stolen mobile phones.

Culprits then either lose the use of their drone permanently, or get brought before the courts to give reasons for flying the drone in potentially dangerous circumstances.

Given how cheap complex electronic devices have become, it shouldn't be hard to devise and implement such systems without compromising drone performance. Modern drones are supposed to have geo fencing built in to prevent flight near airports in any case.

So we are left with legacy drones that can still be flown anywhere. No real solution for these although their numbers should decrease over coming years.

As far as the risk of these things being used as some sort of very slow guided missle, radio controlled planes with far greater performance and payload capacity have been flying for years without similar concerns being raised. Why?

Jetscream 32
17th Apr 2016, 21:21
Sorry to be so boring: Roke Manor please take note..... and pay me royalty when you've created it.......

TCAS is a simple interrogation of data.... We have them in all commercial aircraft.

Someone needs to create a TCAS frequency "lookout" for electro data in close proximity and then use the a/c power to create a "boundary layer" safe bubble around the approaching a/c from any direction.

If I can use the a/c power to create a virtual 100 mtr safety bubble around me then I really don't give a to$$ as it should only be a case of "fan stop" on one side or the same drills as a bird strike but clearly hoping it it doesn't come through a windshield like this....... https://youtu.be/9t5VoP9bNQU

Unless someone creates a power source direct from the a/c to detect and deviate drones from near us then we /enforcement agencies or the manufacturers have ZERO chance of doing anything to mitigate the risk of collision and the size, damage done will just increase.

The ONLY way of mitigating this risk of drone strike and potential catastrophic damage is from the a/c itself.

This actual minor incident has created a major media focus but it will not be long and not take long for this to get out of control, drones will get bigger, technology will advance 1000 times quicker than the regulators can adapt and there will never be sufficient resource to enforce from the ground.

If the mfrs / regulators do not understand the need for control and solution from the a/c then we are all on an ever increasing risk scale before the inevitable. It may be a few years away but be sure it will happen.

Blue skies and sorry for spoiling the first summer weekend of the season ..... the weather was probably the biggest factor in it happening today - less than 10 kts and CAVOK

:uhoh:

rightstuffer
17th Apr 2016, 21:29
A drone was recently spotted in flight near Biggin at over 12000 feet. The drone must have had a large battery pack to get to this altitude and it may have also contained a camera and it is these two items that pose a problem due to their density.
Seriously doubt this claim. 20 minute flight time means it would have to get to 12000ft in about 10 mins which is a climb rate of 1200ft/min. (10 minutes to descend under power). Also over 2 miles vertical range would be at limit for the radio (not the ground transmitter but the drone transponders). Doable for a special attempt but not for a casual amateur. IMHO

Capot
17th Apr 2016, 22:02
I'm struggling to think of an airport anywhere in the world that involves atmospheric re-entry.Well now, how about KTTS and KEDW as starters for ten........

Returning to the thread, here's what I wrote in R&N in November 2014

I've been in the air transport industry since 1969, in a number of different sectors, eg airline management, airport management and engineering, working in a number of different countries, eg UK, UAE, Oman, Jordan, USA, Israel (Gaza), Tunisia, Algeria, Greece and the Philippines. Before that I was in the military for 10 years, including the final 3 years working as an Intelligence officer in the Gulf region. At various times, and in various ways, I have been closely involved in anti-terrorist action and aviation security.

In my view, the free availability of the sophisticated drones that are around now, as well as of the more and more sophisticated ones that are coming fast down the line, represents the biggest threat to air transport (to say nothing of humanity as a whole) that has been seen so far, not excluding hijacking by suicidal maniacs, SAM firings by rogue military forces, or Muslim and other religious extremists.

The threat comes from unintentional collisions, or from terrorist attacks for which drones can be used in several ways.

The threat cannot be diminished by laws governing their operation, for the obvious reason that laws are obeyed only by the good.

The ONLY way that the threat can be reduced to as low as reasonably practical is to impose the same controls on their manufacture and distribution that apply to dangerous, ie nuclear, weapons, with very long prison sentences for breaking the law.

And this needs to be done sooner rather than later. Any drone is a threat to safety, or a dangerous weapon if the user wants it to be, and they are out there, now, in the hands of idiots and terrorists.

The funny thing was that at that time I, and the few PPRuNe experts who agreed with that post, were roundly monstered by the R&N majority who saw little harm in drones, live and let live, no real danger from these little toys, got one myself, etc etc.

Bull at a Gate
17th Apr 2016, 22:25
Has anyone actually confirmed it was a drone? I know that the number of objects it could have been is rather limited, but what physical evidence is there that a drone struck the aircraft?

KTM300XC-W
17th Apr 2016, 22:36
Tourist, you make me laugh at your ignorance. You obviously have never seen damage caused by some of the smaller birds never mind a large one like a duck or bigger. Enjoy your keyboard as I highly doubt your feet ever leave the ground.

And these swallows are the worst.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y2R3FvS4xr4

Nige321
17th Apr 2016, 22:41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nige321 View Post
Peekay4 - I think it's highley unlikley you'll find a UAV of that kind in the hands of a nutter on the approach to Heathrow...
I think a nutter (a serious one) would very likely use a big heavy UAV such as in the upper photo, in order to do maximum damage.

Even the smaller one held by the kid in the lower photo, if flown by said kid into a jet engine while poppa wasn't looking, would be ... interesting.
OldLurker is offline Report Post Quick reply to this message

You are missing the point. The nutter we have here isn't flying UAVs like in the photos. They are big, serious money pro vehicles. Anyone flying one of those is going to know the rules...

The nutters at Heathrow are the Phantom-From-Maplin brigade, fancies a 'drone' not enough brain cells to work out Heathrow's a stupid place to fly it.

And forget the 'ban them now' idea, the nutter at Heathrow will ignore it...

mickjoebill
17th Apr 2016, 23:28
This article says FAA is overblowing the risk.

Researchers say FAA is really overblowing risk posed by small drones | Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/researchers-say-faa-is-really-overblowing-risk-posed-by-small-drones/)


I'd like authorities to simulate how feasible it is to purposefully position a large drone in the path of an aircraft engine on climbout or finals using a drone's live on-board camera as the positioning mechanism.

The test need not turn into a DIY video for the bad guys.

A one engine shutdown is relatively benign so two drones would have to take out two engines, simultaneously, to reliably bring an airliner down.

Mickjoebill

Chris Scott
17th Apr 2016, 23:49
Quote from mickjoebill:
"A one engine shutdown is benign so two drones would have to take out two engines simultaneously to reliably bring an airliner down."

Oh, good - that's alright then! Phew, that's a relief... :ugh: :mad:

mickjoebill
18th Apr 2016, 00:35
Quote from mickjoebill:
"A one engine shutdown is benign so two drones would have to take out two engines simultaneously to reliably bring an airliner down."

Oh, good - that's alright then! Phew, that's a relief... :ugh: :mad:

No any impact is not alright.

The point is that terrorists are not likely to attempt a single engine strike as it won't cause a crash.

And the chances of a successful execution of two drones destroying two engines is unknown, but probably highly unlikely.

Mickjoebill

er340790
18th Apr 2016, 01:56
Fittingly, I had my own first encounter with a drone today....

While relaxing on the lakefront at my FL retreat, I heard what I first thought was a neighbour's hedge strimmer. I then realised a drone was flying up and down the lakeshore at about 150'.

It buzzed off, but I have to say, I really resented the invasion of privacy.... what if the G/F had been on deck with me???

5 mins later, it re-appeared.

I tell you, if I had had a shotgun with me, I'd have TAKEN THE F***ER out!!!

Phalconphixer
18th Apr 2016, 02:16
This is all a bit hypothetical and tongue in cheek but...
I'm having a spot of bother understanding the logistics of all this...

Surely during take-off and landing the aircraft is changing altitude rapidly. In order to deliberately fly a drone into a specific area on an aircraft, one would need to know that altitude and I don't think the iPlayer controlled versions have lead computing built in.

Point two would be this, a drone in the hover waiting to crash into an aircraft would be blasted out of the way by the pressure wave surrounding and leading the aircraft.

No point at all using bird strikes as an example... birds were around airports long before airports became airports and the fact that Airport Managers like to keep the grass short just encourages more of the wrong types of birds.. If a bird in flight senses an aircraft it goes into avoidance mode immediately and their ACAS / TCAS is a damn sight more efficient than anything humans have come up with... Sadly though against Sully's 200 tonne Airbus the bird has no chance because the Aircraft doesn't know the rules and even if it did it wouldn't be allowed to fly to those manouvres and the bird expects the aircraft to co-operate in the avoidance movement.

Here's a thought... fly a iPhone drone directly into an evening murmuration of starlings... on second thoughts though please dont... the starlings will be hacked to pieces because the drone doesn't know the rules and starling murmurations are a sight to treasure.

I really dont think your average laser lout armed with a no-doubt-stolen-iPhone drone represents any danger at all to air traffic except perhaps to microlights pilots who should be able to swat them away anyway...

With the bigger b*ggers then perhaps there is a problem but I am tempted to believe that if you have spent say £5000 or more you are probably going to be fairly selective about your launch, cruise, and recovery logistics.

As for that big spidery thing having an argument with a turboprop, the prop(s) would chop it up into thousands of pieces before spitting them out to be blasted away by the slipstream...

Eiin756AoMg

bloom
18th Apr 2016, 03:42
Just a quick search online...........For $12000 (a fool and his money is soon partying) and you have a max gross of 29.9 lbs More than the average goose.

Feathers, meat and hollow bones vs metal motor, camera, and other parts?

The "no threat" argument doesn't hold up.

NSEU
18th Apr 2016, 04:00
"A one engine shutdown is benign so two drones would have to take out two engines simultaneously to reliably bring an airliner down."


Have the YouTube videos showing multiple drones flying in orchestrated patterns been linked here yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShGl5rQK3ew

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 04:04
I'd like authorities to simulate how feasible it is to purposefully position a large drone in the path of an aircraft engine on climbout or finals using a drone's live on-board camera as the positioning mechanism.

I'd wager it would be fairly straightforward. Particularly for aircraft on a glideslope. The aircraft may be moving quickly, but drones can be quite quick and maneuverable.

Ex Cargo Clown
18th Apr 2016, 04:22
Plus I can think of more nefarios actions possible.

Wouldn't be hard to get one of these horrible things to "jump the fence" and get something airside. I know there has been a recent case of people dropping off "goodies" into HMP Manchester, so goodness knows what else you can drop off.

They either need licensing or banning.

sitigeltfel
18th Apr 2016, 05:07
As most of these drones are controlled on defined frequency bands, would it not be possible to jam signals from the remote control in the vicinity of airports? Would jamming those frequencies cause any disruption to those currently used in aviation? Terrorists used model aircraft radio controls to activate bombs back in the 1970s and a number of them got an unwelcome surprise when their devices went off in their faces due to signals from an "unintended" source. ;)

Krystal n chips
18th Apr 2016, 05:13
"Initial indications from an initially miniscule research set suggests that drone strikes do not hurt aircraft. As more collisions happen, I'm quite sure that eventually one will go down an engine. That will be more indicative of whether there is actually a problem " .

Well on that basis, we might as well stop educating people about the dangers of FOD then.....after all, what could possibly happen to the engine when one ingests solid matter.

I am sure you have seen the results of bird strikes on both the airframe / engine and the damage that results..one of my most memorable being a seagull vs Harrier.....went in through the nose and then through the front px B/H resulting in a right rudder restriction....so a drone I would suggest is equally capable of inflicting serious damage.

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 05:15
The question is, can you ban them?

All you need is 4 motors, 4 propellers, a raspberry pi with a GPS and a few other off-the-shelf bits and bobs, and off you go.

Without banning radio controlled cars and STEM education I don't see any practical way of outlawing them. Besides, they potentially have lots of legitimate uses. You might be able to stop a Maplins hooligan, but anybody truly intent on malice will still be able to do whatever they want. You would affect literally millions of hobbyists worldwide, but without really solving the problems.

The potential for small drones to be used in military conflict means that I think we'll soon need to sort out some robust defences against them. Any reasonably large nation could field a million drones each capable of carrying half a kilo of explosive a thousand miles. Just keeping them out of the hands of civilians isn't going to be enough:

BBC NEWS | Europe | Model plane goes transatlantic (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3145577.stm)

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 05:18
As most of these drones are controlled on defined frequency bands, would it not be possible to jam signals from the remote control in the vicinity of airports?

Remote controlled aircraft are controlled by a radio signal. Drones can often maneuver independently using GPS. Also, some of the modern frequency-hopping spread-spectrum remote control systems are far more resistant to interference than the old 35mhz systems and similar.

msjh
18th Apr 2016, 06:19
Some thoughts:

- If this was a drone (I don't think it's yet confirmed) then it was either a malicious act, (which sadly can't be discounted) or a staggeringly stupid one.

- GPS, miniaturisation and battery technology mean Pandora's box is open.

- There are regulations about drone flying. In the UK, there's a brief summary here (https://www.caa.co.uk/drones/).

- Some drones (the more recent ones from DJI, the most prolific manufacturer) are programmed with exclusion zones near airports so that they won't fly there. If the operator attempts to fly into an exclusion zone , the drone will descend.

- My assumption is that a drone strike would Not Be a Good Thing. So I avoid flying anywhere I think I might find aircraft below 400' (the legal upper limit for drones in the UK). However, from time to time I've seen helicopters buzz over at lower altitudes.

- I suspect that laws will be brought in making it mandatory for the drone electronics to include a signal that can be picked up by ground / airborne radar.

Meantime, for the pro pilots here, please remember that the vast majority of drone pilots are responsible and we are incensed by the few who behave stupidly.

Walnut
18th Apr 2016, 06:34
These drones are controlled by a radio frequency, why can it not be a requirement that a radio licence is required when you buy one.
After all I am required to have a radio licence for my light aircraft (£20 for 3 years),
When I had a yacht the same was needed. If one misuses the drone the licence is withdrawn. and a lifetime ban is enforced.

susier
18th Apr 2016, 07:19
Leaving aside the capability of a UAV to take down a plane, if you have a strike of any kind on take off which could involve engine damage, windshield damage, radome damage etc etc you're quite possibly looking at a return to departure airport and a huge inconvenience to everyone, expense, etc etc. Then the repair issues to sort, even if they are fairly minor.


That in itself is worth trying to prevent, I would imagine.

PDR1
18th Apr 2016, 07:20
These drones are controlled by a radio frequency, why can it not be a requirement that a radio licence is required when you buy one.
After all I am required to have a radio licence for my light aircraft (£20 for 3 years),
When I had a yacht the same was needed. If one misuses the drone the licence is withdrawn. and a lifetime ban is enforced.
These machines are usually controlled with radio signals on the 2.4GHz band. By international treaty this band is open and unlicensed because of the number of things it's used for. If you made it licensable then you'd also need licenses for your mobile phone (if it had wifi capability), your household wifi router, your chordless phones, your car's remote door locks (some of them - some operate on 433MHz), all bluetooth devices, some TV remote controls (not many as most are infra red, but there are some wifi ones), a hundred million remote controlled toys etc etc. So it's not something you'd do lightly.

But even if you DID do it you wouldn't be able to enforcement. Almost all of this stuff is manufactured overseas and imported by individuals (not through a wholesale-retail trade). Introducing licensing requirements would mean precisely zip to these manufacturers - you could nop more shut it down by regulation than you could prevent estate agents importing viagra to address their self-esteem issues. In the 1960s/70s the 27MHz band was licensed to model flyers, but was used in other countries for CB radios. Use of 27MHz CB radio in the UK was a criminal offence, but it proved impossible to prevent people importing and using the gear. Eventually model flying was grudgingly given the 35MHz band as a public safety issue. It's deja vu all over again!

Incidently - I just heard some BALPA official on the radio news talking about the "solid metal batteries" in drones. Are all professional pilots this ignorant, or is it just that you pilot chappies and chapesses make a point of electing the especially brainless ones as officials in your association? Is this really the kind of image you wish to portray?

PDR

msjh
18th Apr 2016, 08:08
These machines are usually controlled with radio signals on the 2.4GHz band. By international treaty this band is open and unlicensed because of the number of things it's used for. If you made it licensable then you'd also need licenses for your mobile phone (if it had wifi capability), your household wifi router, your chordless phones, your car's remote door locks (some of them - some operate on 433MHz), all bluetooth devices, some TV remote controls (not many as most are infra red, but there are some wifi ones), a hundred million remote controlled toys etc etc. So it's not something you'd do lightly.

But even if you DID do it you wouldn't be able to enforcement. Almost all of this stuff is manufactured overseas and imported by individuals (not through a wholesale-retail trade). Introducing licensing requirements would mean precisely zip to these manufacturers - you could nop more shut it down by regulation than you could prevent estate agents importing viagra to address their self-esteem issues. In the 1960s/70s the 27MHz band was licensed to model flyers, but was used in other countries for CB radios. Use of 27MHz CB radio in the UK was a criminal offence, but it proved impossible to prevent people importing and using the gear. Eventually model flying was grudgingly given the 35MHz band as a public safety issue. It's deja vu all over again!

Incidently - I just heard some BALPA official on the radio news talking about the "solid metal batteries" in drones. Are all professional pilots this ignorant, or is it just that you pilot chappies and chapesses make a point of electing the especially brainless ones as officials in your association? Is this really the kind of image you wish to portray?

PDR
Out to make friends in the pilot community, then? ;-)

The batteries may not be what we commonly think of as metal, but they are solid and dense and it's easy to imagine that they are not engine/cockpit window/radome friendly.

Airbanda
18th Apr 2016, 08:20
AAIB are now on the case:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-aaib-investigating-heathrow-event

Miles
18th Apr 2016, 08:26
So far there is no proof that this even was a "drone", unless you can take the word of the stressed and fatigued pilot (going by all the lovely fatigue complaints recently). Even they only said it might have been a "drone". Still, if you want to disregard the obvious difficulties of identifying something of that size and at those speeds correctly, keep overreacting. I am reminded of that recent incident involving the light twin whose pilot had "definitely" hit a drone, parading the photographs as absolute proof- only to be proven wrong. Anyhow, gives you something else to whinge about.......

2dPilot
18th Apr 2016, 08:55
Obviously, ingesting anything other than air into an engine is not a good thing.
But the Guardian article cited earlier, claiming that bits of engine could go through the fuel tanks or the passenger cabin is nonsense - engine casings/housings are designed to contain any and all bits that might fly off the engine core?
It won't matter if it's a goose or a drone ingested, the engine will fail and the parts will be contained safely.
So, what about the chances of a bird strike versus a drone strike? I suggest that the ratio of birds in the sky to drones in the sky is way over 100,000 to 1 - maybe orders of magnitude greater. If an engine is destroyed, the smart money will go on "it's a bird".
That of course doesn't include the prospect of a deliberate 'attack' on an aircraft by drone(s).

Uberteknik
18th Apr 2016, 08:58
Just a quick search online...........For $12000 (a fool and his money is soon partying) and you have a max gross of 29.9 lbs More than the average goose.

Feathers, meat and hollow bones vs metal motor, camera, and other parts?

The "no threat" argument doesn't hold up.


Quite.


A quick calculation shows that an aircraft approaching at 200mph will impact that UAV with in excess of 54kJ kinetic energy.


That is an equivalent 1 tonne car hitting the front of the aircraft at >25mph.


Now increase the energy expended if the same drone is ingested by the high speed compressor blades of the engines as well as the forward impact velocity.


It may be supposition on my part, but as an engineer with 35+ years of experience, it's really only a matter of time before a passenger plane is brought down.

RHSandLovingIt
18th Apr 2016, 09:05
Obviously, ingesting anything other than air into an engine is not a good thing.
But the Guardian article cited earlier, claiming that bits of engine could go through the fuel tanks or the passenger cabin is nonsense - engine casings/housings are designed to contain any and all bits that might fly off the engine core?
The uncontained failure on QF32 might suggest otherwise...

http://telstarlogistics.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834543b6069e20134891a99c7970c-pi
http://telstarlogistics.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834543b6069e20134891aa152970c-640wi

Basil
18th Apr 2016, 09:06
engine casings/housings are designed to contain any and all bits that might fly off the engine core?
Containment failure has been demonstrated.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Delta_Airlines_Flight_1288_Engine_Failure.jpg

A Delta jet engine blew apart and ripped into the cabin packed with holiday travelers as the plane sped down a runway Saturday, killing a mother and son and forcing the pilot to abort takeoff. (http://articles.latimes.com/1996-07-07/news/mn-22049_1_jet-engine)

Chris Scott
18th Apr 2016, 09:12
Am not an engineer, but it seems reasonable to assume that containment requirements are based on predictable bird ingestion and spontaneous rotating-disc failure. Drones may not have been considered...

cjm_2010
18th Apr 2016, 09:24
As an almost NPPL(M) licence holder who also owns a drone, I really do hope the investigators / police recover the bits of the unit involved in the strike.

It'll likely have a memory card with recorded footage, and maybe even a GPS log so they'll have more clues as to who was operating the thing at the time.

The person responsible really needs to be caught and made an example of. A crippling fine & a custodial sentence might just dissuade other :mad: from similar idiocy.

Other drone hobbyists are equally outraged.

http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/was-it-a-drone-british-airways-flight.75407/page-2

Sallyann1234
18th Apr 2016, 09:25
Bear in mind that it is not necessary to aim the drone precisely in front of the engine. The fans act as a massive suction device. Get the drone anywhere near the engine and it will do the rest.

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 09:29
A quick calculation shows that an aircraft approaching at 200mph will impact that UAV with in excess of 54kJ kinetic energy.

BUT, the $12K 29lb UAV is extremely unlikely to be in the hands of a nutter at Heathrow... That kind of kit is used by the professionals...

The nutter will almost certainly have something like a DJI Phantom, which weighs 1400g - ie 3lb ish...

Miles
18th Apr 2016, 09:35
The logic of some of the threat-deniers baffles me.

Because engine failures from bird strikes are usually contained, we don't need to worry about a drone with lithium batteries being ingested by an engine.
And the plane has another engine anyway...

So carry on playing with your "harmless" toys chaps

Your logic baffles me too. What's so bad about lithium (as opposed to nickel metal hydride etc)? The toys are not exactly harmless either, but those who use them know that fairly quickly. They also know how hard it is to land it within a few metres, let alone guide it into a landing airliners flight path from several nm away.........but you just keep crying that the world as we know will end.

susier
18th Apr 2016, 09:37
https://www.casa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net351/f/_assets/main/airworth/papers/potential-damage-assessment-mid-air-collision-small-rpa.pdf


This seems relevant and is quite interesting.

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 09:37
It's also worth pointing out that the sales of camera drones has dropped dramatically since Christmas. The market has saturated, those that wanted a 'drone' have bought one, and many of those are now parked in cupboards or dustbins...

susier
18th Apr 2016, 09:43
From page 19 of the above link:


5.5 Conclusions

 A mid-air collision between a commercial airliner and an UAV is most likely to result in the ingestion of the UAV into one of the engines (3 out of 4 events). Reduction or loss of engine thrust with potential debris throw must be assumed. From past experience, engine loss and uncontained engine failure can be regarded as non-catastrophic events.

 A mid-air collision at impact velocities above 200kts is predicted to result in airframe skin penetration, independent of the UAV size. The consequences of such penetration will depend on the impact location.

 During the landing approach (at or below VFE=160—180kts), a collision with a large UAV is likely to lead to skin and windshield penetration of a commercial airliner.

 A general aviation windscreen will be penetrated at cruise velocity. During approach (at or below VFE=87kts), a large UAV will penetrate the windscreen; a small UAV is likely to be deflected without penetration.

 No experimental data exist to validate the predictions of windscreen penetration by a solid object. It is recommended to commission an experimental study, impacting actual UAV parts into common windscreen materials. Until then, the results presented in this report should be treated as rough estimates.

anotherthing
18th Apr 2016, 10:03
I work as an ATCO in the LTMA. We get reports of drones every week from professional pilots.

Nige321 (post 18) and rightstuffer (post 38).

You doubt the size of the UAV's encountered near major airports, or that they can reach a decent altitude...

3 separate pilots reported a lit drone, over a metre wide, at 17000' in the vicinity of Big just recently... There have been many more reported at several thousand feet.

Unlike Tourest who is blase about this; they do present a real risk. You can't have an attitude of 'the engine will be damaged but shut down safely'... we are talking about flights at a critical stage... there is a risk; it needs to be dealt with.

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 10:04
Quote:
Peekay4 - I think it's highley unlikley you'll find a UAV of that kind in the hands of a nutter on the approach to Heathrow...
Why not ?

Because a UAV of that size isn't really available off the shelf. It takes some knowledge and skill to assemble, set-up and fly.
It simply isn't the kind of vehicle flown by people like this.

Look on line - virtually every suspect video on YouTube is shot on a Phantom.
Take it out the box, switch it on, off you go...

RAT 5
18th Apr 2016, 10:12
I would imagine the airlines, victims of this collateral damage by some negligent muppet, would wish to claim costs from them. Engine damage might not be fatal or catastrophic, but it will be cheap to fix in itself: and if there was a significant delay in px schedules etc. the cost could be significant. And there-in lies the rub; they can not identify these UFO operators because they are not registered.
Will those who are involved in model a/c flying tell us the regulations they operate under. I would assume they apply to drones as minimum.

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 10:18
they can not identify these UFO operators because they are not registered.
How will registration make any difference. In this case the 'drone' doesn't appear to have been found.

Will those who are involved in model a/c flying tell us the regulations they operate under.
The vast majority of 'model a/c flying' in the UK is done under BMFA guidance, laid out in CAP 658.

Please don't confuse the law-abiding people who are BMFA members with our nutter at Heathrow. They really are two separate groups...

msjh
18th Apr 2016, 10:30
I would imagine the airlines, victims of this collateral damage by some negligent muppet, would wish to claim costs from them. Engine damage might not be fatal or catastrophic, but it will be cheap to fix in itself: and if there was a significant delay in px schedules etc. the cost could be significant. And there-in lies the rub; they can not identify these UFO operators because they are not registered.
Will those who are involved in model a/c flying tell us the regulations they operate under. I would assume they apply to drones as minimum.
Drone regulations and guidance in the UK can be found here: https://www.caa.co.uk/drones/

anotherthing
18th Apr 2016, 10:42
Nige321

Because a UAV of that size isn't really available off the shelf. It takes some knowledge and skill to assemble, set-up and fly.
It simply isn't the kind of vehicle flown by people like this.

I refer you to the post above that... 3 different pilots, 3 different aircraft from 2 airlines. Reported independently in quick succession. The first reckoned they missed it by about 30'. The other two saw it after the ATCO warned them of the initial encounter. All three agreed on the description of size and lights...

Tourist
18th Apr 2016, 10:43
What you fail to realise Tourist is that the dense Lithium battery hitting the horizontal stabiliser at 300+ knots could have disastrous consequences.
Why, exactly, is the airliner flying at 300+kts on approach?

p.s. utter tosh. The risks are to the cockpit or engines. The stabiliser will be structurally fine.

I am well aware of the risks of birdstrikes, having killed my fair share including birds that have got through the metal of my aircraft on occasion. Peril of military low level messing around.
What I don't do is get all hysterical about it.
What has this event shown us?

We all knew it would happen. It is a simple consequence of the number of drones being flown by idiots.
The only new bit of info is that in at least this case it caused no damage.
This does not in any way prove that all drone strikes will cause no damage, but it certainly does not prove that any will.....

Ian W
18th Apr 2016, 11:43
PDR
Most of them carry tiny little video cameras weighing a few tens of grammes with the structural properties of a deep-fried mars bar.

You mean the type of go-pro camera that penetrated Schumacher's helmet causing severe head injury?

You really believe that minor metallic items ingested into an engine cannot lead to FOD?

Remember an engine doesn't have to suffer a failure to lead to major risks; just engine vibration led to the Kegworth air crash due to several holes in the cheese lining up.

G0ULI
18th Apr 2016, 12:41
GoPro camera mounts are very rugged designed for extreme sports use amongst other things. GoPro cameras mounted on drones tend to use lightweight open frame fastenings to save weight.

The majority of drones use lightweight materials filled with expanded foam to provide rigidity where necessary.

Battery packs are not the hard metal cased variety you stick in a torch but multiple layers of plastic type materials wound into layers.

Neodymium magnets shatter into small pieces when exposed to severe shock. Motor cases are formed from relatively soft metals. Larger aircraft are preceded by a pressure shock wave that will probably break up smaller drones and spread the resulting debris over a fairly large area, if any of the debris actually manages to hit the aircraft.

A typical consumer grade drone being ingested and passing through the core of a jet engine is about as likely to cause damage as a duck of similar size and weight. So the risk is not negligible, but neither is it so high as to be a major cause of panic and poorly introduced legislation and restrictions.

Larger commercial drones fitted with high quality stabilised gimbals and expensive camera systems should only be flown and in the hands of professional operators who know the law and restrictions on flight. Anything weighing upwards of 5 Kg represents a severe hazard to any aircraft and also to people and property on the ground if things go wrong. There is certainly a case to be made for licensing and professional training of this category of UAVs.

The cheap sub £50 toys for kids are not the problem, the issue is with the £1500 upwards machines. These devices are not being flown by kids, they are being used by adults seeking an edgy video to post on YouTube without any consideration of the risks to others. These idiots need to be tracked down and dealt with using existing laws. A five year jail sentence ought to be an adequate deterrent if enforced properly.

angels
18th Apr 2016, 12:43
It seems there is a minority on here who will only agree that drones represent a danger when an AAIB is looking at a pile of smoking metal and human remains.

Is it not obvious that anything being ingested into a jet engine, smashing into a cockpit, stabiliser etc represents a danger?

We only need the holes in the cheese to line up once -- which despite the odds against they sometimes do -- for there to be a tragedy.

Doors to Automatic
18th Apr 2016, 12:44
Apologies if this has been asked earlier but what damage can a drone do to a commercial airliner that a remote controlled aircraft/helicopter (which have been available for decades) can't?

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 12:52
Apologies if this has been asked earlier but what damage can a drone do to a commercial airliner that a remote controlled aircraft/helicopter (which have been available for decades) can't?

There isn't any difference.

What IS different is the kind of operator.
The traditional R/C aircraft or helicopter needs skill to build and learn to fly, often in a club environment.
The new generation of 'drones' come out a box ready to go, and can be flown with GPS assistance with zero skill...

Tourist
18th Apr 2016, 13:00
I do find it odd that people are worried that some idiot/terrorist might manage to fly a drone into an airliner on approach, yet many on here operate quite happily into countries with widespread access to pistols and rifles.

Anybody who believes that it is easier to bring down/damage and airliner with a drone rather than a bullet needs their sanity testing.

susier
18th Apr 2016, 13:17
Tourist, there is deliberate and malicious assault on an aircraft and then there is casual, dangerous negligence.


Guns fired at aircraft would probably belong to the former category, while UAVs dangled in their path would mainly belong in the latter I would imagine.


So it isn't really comparable.

PDR1
18th Apr 2016, 13:41
It seems there is a minority on here who will only agree that drones represent a danger when an AAIB is looking at a pile of smoking metal and human remains.


I suspect the size of that minority might be limited to yourself.


Is it not obvious that anything being ingested into a jet engine, smashing into a cockpit, stabiliser etc represents a danger?


Indeed. All that is being suggested is that there are currently any number of things that can pose very similar risks which we currently deem as acceptable risks, so what is so special about "drones"? We have a non-zero number of pilots who fly while drunk, constituting a clear safety risk, but we have yet to require blood-alcohol tests on all aircrew prior to boarding every flight. We have a non-zero risk of counterfeit parts in the supply chain, but we have yet to prohibit the procuremnt of aircraft parts from anyone but the OEM. We have the proven issue of birdstrike, yet the USA did not embark or a campaign of avian genocide after Sullenberger's famous aquatic demonstration.


We only need the holes in the cheese to line up once -- which despite the odds against they sometimes do -- for there to be a tragedy.

The point is that society clearly deems is acceptable for the holes to line up occasionally - why the focus on drones? Is it an acceptable alternative to thinking?

PDR

MATELO
18th Apr 2016, 13:41
yet many on here operate quite happily into countries with widespread access to pistols and rifles.

When was the last time an aircraft was shot at in the UK?

FE Hoppy
18th Apr 2016, 13:44
Obviously, ingesting anything other than air into an engine is not a good thing.
But the Guardian article cited earlier, claiming that bits of engine could go through the fuel tanks or the passenger cabin is nonsense - engine casings/housings are designed to contain any and all bits that might fly off the engine core?
It won't matter if it's a goose or a drone ingested, the engine will fail and the parts will be contained safely.
So, what about the chances of a bird strike versus a drone strike? I suggest that the ratio of birds in the sky to drones in the sky is way over 100,000 to 1 - maybe orders of magnitude greater. If an engine is destroyed, the smart money will go on "it's a bird".
That of course doesn't include the prospect of a deliberate 'attack' on an aircraft by drone(s).

How are the engine containment tests done? What is the weight,density and velocity of the object used? How does that compare to the UAVs currently available?

Tourist
18th Apr 2016, 13:44
When was the last time an aircraft was shot at in the UK?
I have no idea.

Could be 5 mins ago. Mostly they miss even in countries where it happens regularly.

Capot
18th Apr 2016, 14:49
Speaking from experience, it's far easier than you might think.Not in my experience; I failed miserably to hit a moving airborne target with a Rapier guided missile, let alone a rifle. I understand that SAM's are more idiot-proof these days, which should worry us all a little bit unless drones take over as the terrorist weapon of choice, as they probably will.

G0ULI
18th Apr 2016, 15:10
Surely the risk to light aircraft is far higher than commercial multi engined jet aircraft. Light aircraft tend to fly at low altitudes in uncontrolled airspace and are much more likely to end up in conflict with model and drone aircraft. Light aircraft have fewer redundant systems and are more likely to be crewed by a single qualified pilot. They are more likely to be damaged by a collision with even a lightweight object. Surely light aircraft pilots are the ones who should be shouting the loudest for stricter controls on model aircraft and UAVs/drones?

A single, at this moment, suspected, collision with a drone by a large commercial airliner has caused a slew of headlines and calls for action despite no damage or evidence of a collision being found (from reports I've read).

So why aren't all the PPLs, flying instructors and hours builders not up in arms campaigning for action? They seem to be the people most at risk.

msjh
18th Apr 2016, 15:23
Surely the risk to light aircraft is far higher than commercial multi engined jet aircraft. Light aircraft tend to fly at low altitudes in uncontrolled airspace and are much more likely to end up in conflict with model and drone aircraft. Light aircraft have fewer redundant systems and are more likely to be crewed by a single qualified pilot. They are more likely to be damaged by a collision with even a lightweight object. Surely light aircraft pilots are the ones who should be shouting the loudest for stricter controls on model aircraft and UAVs/drones?

A single, at this moment, suspected, collision with a drone by a large commercial airliner has caused a slew of headlines and calls for action despite no damage or evidence of a collision being found (from reports I've read).

So why aren't all the PPLs, flying instructors and hours builders not up in arms campaigning for action? They seem to be the people most at risk.
I always fly a few miles away from the nearest airport (not easy in SE England) and I'm very careful to check out the environment before I fly. Nevertheless, there have been a couple of occasions when a low-flying helicopter has appeared with little warning.

Based on my statistically insignificant experience, I'd agree that a small aircraft collision is more likely.

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 15:28
Light aircraft pilots (I speak as one) are not indifferent to the risks of being taken out by a drone, but we also habitually take on a lot more risk than they do. My chances of killing myself are a few orders magnitude higher per hour than those of an airline pilot, and drone strikes only add a little to this.

The man on the street is likely to care more about the safety of airliners, as he's more likely to spend time in airliners. They're a more attractive target for anyone malicious, and there's a lot of money invested in their safety.

Also, I have a big remote control helicopter and have a degree of sympathy for the hobby - I wouldn't like to see it regulated out of existence.

Marchettiman
18th Apr 2016, 15:37
I agree with GOULI. The threat to CAT aircraft from irresponsible drone operators is clearly a real and growing problem, all that seems to be uncertain is the degree of damage one would do in a collision or engine ingestion with an airliner. But few of you seem to consider the group of aviators who are most vulnerable to a drone strike, it is the general aviation community by which I mean everyone who operates a flying machine from a microlight or glider to a cabin class twin.

Airliners spend very little of their total flight time at low level, maybe a minute on climbout and five minutes on the approach whereas the average GA aircraft will fly virtually all the time at altitudes which are easily achieved by even toy drones, especially in the London FIR. And whilst an airliner is a sturdily built structure, with cockpit glass capable of surviving the high velocity chicken test there are many light aircraft (especially BMAA and LAA types) which have at best only thin Perspex between the pilot’s face and an oncoming object, and airframes made of fabric covered wood. Even if a drone missed the windscreen, it might well score a bullseye on the single engine air intake and cause a partial if not complete engine failure and resulting forced landing.

The consequences of a drone strike with a light or microlight aircraft are clearly considerably more serious than with an airliner, ranging from immediate pilot incapacitation to severe airframe damage or power loss. Add that to the much greater exposure because of the time spent at low level (particularly when flying beneath controlled airspace) and the real threat to air safety in the UK from drones becomes very clear, it’s with GA aircraft not Boeings and Airbusses.

The CAA don’t seem to be taking this threat seriously; the only rule for a drone operator seems to be that he must keep the machine below 400ft (is that above ground level or sea level?), away from aircraft and airfields and within sight. But how is little Johnny going to be able to judge 400ft anyway or even know if he is flying in controlled or regulated airspace? If he is concentrating on keeping his drone in sight, he is by definition not looking for other aircraft. I expect that even if a drone operator was caught red-handed and successfully prosecuted it would probably result in a fine of three weeks pocket money and maybe a couple of weeks picking up litter along the A34, whereas the CAA are now proposing unlimited fines for any hapless private pilot who infringes controlled airspace.

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 15:57
The hardest parts of a drone are the motor shafts which will be a few inches long and perhaps 5-10mm diameter - they will be made of hardened steel.

SpannerInTheWerks
18th Apr 2016, 15:57
The traditional R/C aircraft or helicopter needs skill to build and learn to fly, often in a club environment.

... and are operated, almost without exception, by responsible individuals who have the common sense not to fly near to a major airport, aerodrome or airfield.

How can a subject such as this be in debate?!

Flying drones or any other aerial devices near to an airport is WRONG.

I sometimes wonder how many people still have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong when I read these columns ...

Accept the premise that these devices should not be in airspace such as the approach to Heathrow and the question of whether a jet engine will survive the injection of a drone becomes an academic debate, not a question of life and death.

ExXB
18th Apr 2016, 16:01
Er, could I remind everyone this is a public forum. Often frequented by journalists and other 'black hats'.

msjh
18th Apr 2016, 16:02
I agree with GOULI. The threat to CAT aircraft from irresponsible drone operators is clearly a real and growing problem, all that seems to be uncertain is the degree of damage one would do in a collision or engine ingestion with an airliner. But few of you seem to consider the group of aviators who are most vulnerable to a drone strike, it is the general aviation community by which I mean everyone who operates a flying machine from a microlight or glider to a cabin class twin.

Airliners spend very little of their total flight time at low level, maybe a minute on climbout and five minutes on the approach whereas the average GA aircraft will fly virtually all the time at altitudes which are easily achieved by even toy drones, especially in the London FIR. And whilst an airliner is a sturdily built structure, with cockpit glass capable of surviving the high velocity chicken test there are many light aircraft (especially BMAA and LAA types) which have at best only thin Perspex between the pilotís face and an oncoming object, and airframes made of fabric covered wood. Even if a drone missed the windscreen, it might well score a bullseye on the single engine air intake and cause a partial if not complete engine failure and resulting forced landing.

The consequences of a drone strike with a light or microlight aircraft are clearly considerably more serious than with an airliner, ranging from immediate pilot incapacitation to severe airframe damage or power loss. Add that to the much greater exposure because of the time spent at low level (particularly when flying beneath controlled airspace) and the real threat to air safety in the UK from drones becomes very clear, itís with GA aircraft not Boeings and Airbusses.

The CAA donít seem to be taking this threat seriously; the only rule for a drone operator seems to be that he must keep the machine below 400ft (is that above ground level or sea level?), away from aircraft and airfields and within sight. But how is little Johnny going to be able to judge 400ft anyway or even know if he is flying in controlled or regulated airspace? If he is concentrating on keeping his drone in sight, he is by definition not looking for other aircraft. I expect that even if a drone operator was caught red-handed and successfully prosecuted it would probably result in a fine of three weeks pocket money and maybe a couple of weeks picking up litter along the A34, whereas the CAA are now proposing unlimited fines for any hapless private pilot who infringes controlled airspace.

DJI are one of the most popular manufacturers of drones. They are controlled by an app running on a smart phone or tablet, connected with a cable to the controller. The DJI app visibly shows altitude ("H:" in the bottom line of the attached photo) and horizontal distance ("D:") from takeoff. In addition, DJI software/firmware prevents flying within an exclusion area around airports.

And, yes, the 400' limit set by government is 400' above ground level. Again, the DJI software enforces that limit by default but can be overridden by setting preferences.

This is just DJI: I can't speak for other manufacturers of drones.

http://dronelife.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/IMG_1328.jpg

PDR1
18th Apr 2016, 16:30
The hardest parts of a drone are the motor shafts which will be a few inches long and perhaps 5-10mm diameter - they will be made of hardened steel.
For "a few inches" read "under two inches in all but the very largest examples".

For "5-10mm dia" read 3-5mm dia in all but the very largest examples.

For "hardened steel" read "mild steel in all but the very few and rather expensive examples".

All of this information is easily discoverable with a few seconds of research, yet the myths and postulations prevail <sigh>

PDR

DroneDog
18th Apr 2016, 16:49
I sincerely hope the culprit is caught and faces prison timer and a eye watering fine.
A throughly irresponsible act that screws it up for everybody else.

The popular 3 makes of drone are DJi - 3DR - Yuneec

These guys dominate the market and their drones are geo fenced, i.e if you try to enter restricted airspace the drone will not enter it. You are blocked from flying into prohibited areas and there is nothing you can do about it. The drone will refuse to fly.
Also the drones require regular connection to the internet to update the OS and the list. Failure to do so results in drone that will not fly.

The culprits doing this stunt were probably using a really old drone of a custom build. I am fairly confident they will be caught once the police recover the remains of the drone.

Nige321
18th Apr 2016, 16:54
they will be caught once the police recover the remains of the drone.

Are the Police looking...??

DroneDog
18th Apr 2016, 16:57
I believe so, After impact that thing was toast so if it was above a restricted area i suspect the drone operator scarpered.
If they can recover certain components they may have an idea of previous flights / perhaps even footage.
At the very least they can approach component suppliers as i have said this was a custom drone and they might be able to trace who purchased what.

peekay4
18th Apr 2016, 17:34
The popular 3 makes of drone are DJi - 3DR - Yuneec

These guys dominate the market and their drones are geo fenced, i.e if you try to enter restricted airspace the drone will not enter it.
Nah, they don't come close to dominating the market. Cheaper drones from companies like Hubsan, SYMA, UDI, etc., probably outsell the above by 20:1 if not more in terms of units sold, and most of them are not geo-fenced (or even have GPS!)

Besides it's trivial to bypass geofencing. Plus more and more kids these days are making their own custom drones for cheap. Virtually none of the popular flight controllers enforce geo-fencing. KK, Pixhawk, Multiwii, etc.

DroneDog
18th Apr 2016, 18:10
I have not heard of anyone yet hacking DJi's code, maybe I am wrong and it can be done but nothing on the forums i have seen.
You run the risk of bricking it. I have seen articles of GPS jamming and false GPS signal injection but no hacks yet.

Yes you can build your own with a pixhawk etc, hence i am sure that the drone involved in this episode was a home brew. Do the other drones have the legs or range of DJI's machines, I am thinking of lightbridge, and its a guess the the drone operator in this case wanted to see/film where he was flying (aircraft landing) via his video downlink.
Yunecc's video link is reported to be only 500m line of sight were as DJi can go for a few km.

DaveReidUK
18th Apr 2016, 18:23
And, yes, the 400' limit set by government is 400' above ground level. Again, the DJI software enforces that limit by default

The software constrains the height AGL? How does that work in practice?

If the drone is using GNSS height, that implies it must have access to a terrain model to derive height AGL.

If it's using baro height, the same applies, with the added complication that the drone/controller needs to know the QNH.

Both sound a bit unlikely.

GroundProxGuy
18th Apr 2016, 18:42
Both sound a bit unlikely.

Perhaps the GNSS height at takeoff height is captured in software and 400 feet is added to that to make the allowable GNSS height?

If so, you could not achieve 400 feet AGL above nearby higher terrain, but you could achieve 400+ feet AGL over nearby lower terrain.

PDR1
18th Apr 2016, 18:43
The software constrains the height AGL? How does that work in practice?

If the drone is using GNSS height, that implies it must have access to a terrain model to derive height AGL.

If it's using baro height, the same applies, with the added complication that the drone/controller needs to know the QNH.

Both sound a bit unlikely.
It's simpler than that. On power-up they automatically define "here" as the "base" waypoint. The altitude of "here" is defines as zero AGL, and everything is relative to that.

And before people get too fixated with the idea that a small number of commercial ready-to-go drones will control the market - have a look at websites like Hobbyking, where brew-your-own stuff (including control boards) are available for peanuts with websites full of "how to2 pages and videos to show all but the most numpteous how to create your own multicopter with your own tailored FCS software.

PDR

ILS27LEFT
18th Apr 2016, 19:22
I have been told that the area for the drone's debris is believed to be, at this stage, located in Richmond-Surrey, specifically it is believed that the drone was being flown by somebody operating the device from within Richmond Park.
I guess approximate location reported directly by the pilots (or calculated by distance from runway vs impact time) therefore I think it is only a matter of time before this sort of drone is found by either the Police or locals.:mad:

DaveReidUK
18th Apr 2016, 19:56
If the drone was flying from Richmond Park it would have to travel a minimum of a kilometre northish of its launch position in order to hit an aircraft on the 27L approach.

Heinrich Dorfmann
18th Apr 2016, 19:58
The CAA
don’t seem to be taking this threat seriously; the only rule for a
drone
operator seems to be that he must keep the machine below 400ft (is

that above ground level or sea level?)


No there are more rules, see ANO166 plus exemption E4049 and ANO 167. Alsosee CAP658 and CAP722. Height is defined as height above point of launch.



Yunecc's
video link is reported to
be only 500m line of sight were as DJi can go for
a few km


To achieve this range would require a video transmitter illegal in the UK(OFCOM IR 2030). To fly beyond visual range would be illegal in the UK(ANO166).

edmundronald
18th Apr 2016, 20:05
Any hobbyist can -and often does- build a drone out of a kit with a carbon fiber cross, a few brushless motors and some electronics. In fact, a visit to any photo show will demonstrate that the heavyduty photo drones for pro video cameras are basically custom constructions by smaller firms. These things cannot be legislated out of existence, anymore than the first kit-built cars would be suppressed back in the era of the horse carriage.

Pilots of small planes learnt to share the sky with huge airliners; now huge airliners and GA will need to learn to share the skies in some way with the smalller drones that are going to be used for cargo and surveying tasks in cities and over fields. Farmers who use drones to survey hundreds of square miles of crops in the US midwest, or livestock in South America, have a right to use tools to get their jobs done, just as much as a pilot setting down at Heathrow has a right to land without a laser in his eyes or an idiot with a toy in his path.

The sky hasn't fallen - a new technology has appeared, and sclerotic bureaucrats need a kick in the butt so they start to establish a new set of rules.

Edmund

abgd
18th Apr 2016, 22:06
For "a few inches" read "under two inches in all but the very largest examples".

For "5-10mm dia" read 3-5mm dia in all but the very largest examples.

For "hardened steel" read "mild steel in all but the very few and rather expensive examples".

All of this information is easily discoverable with a few seconds of research, yet the myths and postulations prevail <sigh>

PDR
OK, the steel shaft in the DJI phantom 2213 motor is just over 36mm long and 7.9mm diameter which is less than 2 inches but more than 5mm thick.

DJI ESC and Brushless Motor (http://robotic-controls.com/book/export/html/65)

I can't speak for the DJI motor shafts, but all the aftermarket motors such as scorpions, Emax advertise that the shafts are hardened. I would be surprised frankly if the DJI shafts are not, as it's not a hugely expensive thing to do and has lots of advantages.

S-5525 Shaft Kit - Scorpion Power System (http://www.scorpionsystem.com/catalog/discontinued/accessories_1/motor_shaft_kit_d/S_5525_Shaft/)
http://www.merqc.com/files/Datasheet/emax.pdf

There will also be an ounce or so of mild steel in the stator. If you know of any certification standards that suggest a jet engine should be able to ingest four of these without becoming very unhappy indeed - or even some smaller steel items - then please post links to them.

G0ULI
18th Apr 2016, 22:15
The blanket jamming of a range of frequencies is against international agreements, so would be highly illegal. Law enforcement and the military may exercise limited exemptions when dealing with specific incidents such as suspect packages.

The majority of drones use the same band of frequencies as wifi internet routers, so jamming the airwaves around airports would deny local residents use of wifi. In any case the drones use complex software algorithms to be able to receive (and transmit) control signals through heavy interference. Even the cheapest toy drones will automatically tune to the clearest, most interference free radio channel while pairing with a controller. Most will also automatically change frequncy to another channel if the control signal is lost for any reason.

The actual radio transmitters and receivers used are mass produced and not particularly well tuned. Tolerances are a bit broad as you might expect with items built to the lowest cost. However these shortfalls can be countered by using software to filter out the wanted signals from interference and jamming. It is far cheaper to write some computer software than spend money on tight engineering design.

Jamming signals are just not effective in modern digital radio systems.

Lancelot de boyles
18th Apr 2016, 23:44
p.s. utter tosh. The risks are to the cockpit or engines. The stabiliser will be structurally fine.

I am well aware of the risks of birdstrikes

my fair share including birds that have got through the metal of my aircraft on occasion



The only new bit of info is that in at least this case it caused no damage.

Not quite. Subject to more information, what we know is that this incident may have resulted in damage that did not result in a cancelled, or significantly delayed flight.
The actual damage caused may well have been temporarily handled within the scope of the MEL/CDL (or whatever relevant document)
The costs incurred may well be paid for after this subject is no longer news worthy

peekay4
18th Apr 2016, 23:50
I have not heard of anyone yet hacking DJi's code, maybe I am wrong and it can be done but nothing on the forums i have seen. You run the risk of bricking it.
No firmware hack required. Simply cover the GPS antenna with tin foil and fly in Atti mode.

Also I believe with the upcoming GEO System firmware users will be able to "self-certify" that they have authorization to fly near an airport (>1.5mi), and deactivate geofencing themselves via a code from DJI's website. All you need is a DJI account which can easily be set up anonymously.

Similarly on DJI's larger, "pro" oriented drones / flight controllers (e.g., A2) one can simply turn off geofencing.

wiggy
19th Apr 2016, 07:34
Honestly I'm trying to post this TIC but given some of the posts I've read this seems somewhat appropriate. You know who you are....

Drone pilot furious after ?uninsured? passenger jet crashes into him (http://newsthump.com/2016/04/18/drone-pilot-furious-after-uninsured-passenger-jet-crashes-into-him/)

wiggy
19th Apr 2016, 07:52
This, if anything, suggests that the doom mongers are over-egging things.

Drone hits plane.
Plane not damaged.
Initial indications from an initially miniscule research set suggests that drone strikes do not hurt aircraft. As more collisions happen, I'm quite sure that eventually one will go down an engine. That will be more indicative of whether there is actually a problem.


Ummm...NASA used similar logic twice with less than impressive results.

Solid Rocket Booster partial O-Ring burn throughs happened on several occasions early in the shuttle programme. Flagged up by engineers and other "doom mongers" such as John Young as an accident waiting to happen but not acted on: Result was the Challenger accident and FWIW Richard Feynman's statement that "nature cannot be fooled"...

Foam strikes damaged Shuttle orbiter tiles on multiple occasions..again engineers, no doubt again being "doom mongers", had serious concerns.. but that problem was not acted upon because it was inconvenient and difficult to do so. It was only after the Columbia accident that it was decided to run a full scale test of a block of insulating foam hitting a wing LE at a representative velocity....

I don't want to see a ban on drones, but I'm finding it hard to understand the apparent reluctance of some to accept that it might be not be a good idea for unregulated drones to be sharing the same airspace as commercial air traffic.

Gove N.T.
19th Apr 2016, 08:22
[QUOTE=Kitiara;9347149]This particular incident appears to have been harmless.

But it does serve to further underline the issue that drones present a very real and immediate danger to commercial aviation.

Like I say, this incident was harmless, but it doesn't take too much imagination to consider what a person with malicious intent and an armed drone could achieve.[/QUOTE
A few feet left or right could easily have resulted in engine ingestion. Costing a carrier a couple of quid (£s). There but for the grace ........" Harmless?

msjh
19th Apr 2016, 08:48
Nah, they don't come close to dominating the market. Cheaper drones from companies like Hubsan, SYMA, UDI, etc., probably outsell the above by 20:1 if not more in terms of units sold, and most of them are not geo-fenced (or even have GPS!)

Besides it's trivial to bypass geofencing. Plus more and more kids these days are making their own custom drones for cheap. Virtually none of the popular flight controllers enforce geo-fencing. KK, Pixhawk, Multiwii, etc.
Yes, DJI do dominate.

http://dronelife.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/MW-DQ079_goldma_20150714180202_NS.png

msjh
19th Apr 2016, 08:51
The software constrains the height AGL? How does that work in practice?

If the drone is using GNSS height, that implies it must have access to a terrain model to derive height AGL.

If it's using baro height, the same applies, with the added complication that the drone/controller needs to know the QNH.

Both sound a bit unlikely.
I should have been clearer.

The height is calculated above take-off point. (It's a bit more complicated than that, but you don't want a multi-page description).

The DJI drone has a barometer. Max flight time for the most popular model, the Phantom, is a bit over 20 minutes, so changes in local air pressure are not likely to be significant in that time.

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 09:34
Yes, DJI do dominate.


I think you will find those stats relate to sales volume (cash value) rather than units sold. This is clearly indicated by the way they seem to suggest equal quantities of drones sold for commercial and recreational use, which is clearly not the case.

In any representation of sales volume the DJI numbers will be exaggerated because they are massively more expensive than their competitors.

Nige321
19th Apr 2016, 09:48
The graph above is complete BS. Sales are now falling...

msjh
19th Apr 2016, 10:11
I think you will find those stats relate to sales volume (cash value) rather than units sold. This is clearly indicated by the way they seem to suggest equal quantities of drones sold for commercial and recreational use, which is clearly not the case.

In any representation of sales volume the DJI numbers will be exaggerated because they are massively more expensive than their competitors.
The graph explicitly says this are market share based on revenue rather than number of units shipped. That's a reasonable approach, too. The £20/$25 drone you can buy in toy shops doubtless sells in more volume. However, you'll be lucky to do much more than fly it around your back garden.

The Parrot Bebop is about 1/2 the cost of the DJI Phantom. However it has less functionality.

That's not massively more expensive; it's price/performance; a Mercedes vs a Golf. The data is clear; at present, DJI dominate.

msjh
19th Apr 2016, 10:12
The graph above is complete BS. Sales are now falling...
Have any hard data to support that?

In any event, this thread is not about who dominates in the drone environment; it's about whether a drone is likely to harm an airliner in a collision and how to avoid such a collision happening.

Nige321
19th Apr 2016, 10:40
Have any hard data to support that?

No because nobody will publically admit it...

Attended a trade event in Germany a couple of weeks ago.
Major UK distributor/retailer admitted privately that sales of 'consumer camera drones' since Christmas had "gone into free-fall"...

3DR are effectively giving up on consumer drones, sales of the Solo have been poor.
They've also pulled most of their DIY products.

Which leaves DJI, who are concentrating more on pro/high end consumer.

G0ULI
19th Apr 2016, 10:46
The latest models are even more sophisticated than I imagined being fitted with an object tracking stabilised camera and collision avoidance sensors to the front of the drone. Airspeeds of 45mph can be achieved with flying times of around 23 minutes per charge. The collision avoidance system is only intended for dealing with stationary objects such as trees, pylons, buildings and people, so no use with something as fast as an aircraft. Collision avoidance also is disabled when the device is operated in "sports" mode. An autonomous route can also be programmed which would allow the drone to fly for many miles and to considerable altitudes without any operator supervision. Fly and forget! :ugh:

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 10:57
An autonomous route can also be programmed which would allow the drone to fly for many miles and to considerable altitudes without any operator supervision. Fly and forget! :ugh:

Of course this would be illegal in the UK without a speciofic Air Operator Certificate from the CAA as flight beyond visual range and any kind of autonomous flight are prohibited by the regulations. Even a "return to base" function (whether commanded or on loss of signal) is prohibited - any fail-safe device (which is mandatory for the larger ones) can only set controls & power to fixed values to ensure the ensuing crash is (a) gentle and (b) local to the point at which the fail-safe was triggered.

PDR

G0ULI
19th Apr 2016, 11:36
PDR1
But that is rather the point, the drone involved in the collision with the A320 wasn't being operated legally. People are always going to push the limits of the technology available to them just to see what is possible.

I could envisage a situation where a couple of mates decide to see if a drone can fly a few miles between their back gardens autonomously. Totally against the law, but they aren't thinking about that, they are consumed by the technology and cleverness of it all. Only problem is, they live either side of a regional airport and the drone geofencing software has been disabled because it interfered with their ability to get earlier shots of planes landing and taking off.

No malice intended, just pure curiousity. Not a great deal different to the idiots with other devices; I wonder how far this lights something up? Same mentality!

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 11:42
Indeed. So if these people won't abide by current regulations, and preventing import is a virtual impossibility, what would be gained by adding further regulations?

Surely the solution lies in more effective policing and enforcement of the current regulations rather than adding more unpoliced and unenforcible ones?

And throwing hysterical tantrums every time there's a non-accident isn't going to help. The last 24 hours of pilot-blathering in the press and on these pages has achieved nothing other than to say to the illegal drone-hobbyists "well you know we told you that a drone hitting an airliner would be seriously bad ****? Tirns out we were wrong, so you can just carry on as you were without worrying about killing anyone".

That's kinda inevitable where people turn crying wolf into a lifestyle choice.

PDR

G0ULI
19th Apr 2016, 11:56
PDR1
Agreed. Shame that enforcement costs money. Best we just ban everthing to be safe.

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 11:57
PDR1
Agreed. Shame that enforcement costs money. Best we just ban everthing to be safe.
Clearly the thing we ban is being safe - that would be far more cost-effective...

PDR

ionagh
19th Apr 2016, 12:01
Lots of talk about the hard bits in these RC drones but no-one has mentioned that they are mostly powered by large packs of Lithium Polymer batteries. Yes I know they are fairly soft etc etc.
But they do not like impact or puncture damage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUFxlf4fXjo

And that is just a tiny one.

M609
19th Apr 2016, 12:15
The hardest parts of a drone are the motor shafts which will be a few inches long and perhaps 5-10mm diameter - they will be made of hardened steel.

Ehhh...no. For the worst case scenario the camera frame, battery pack and lens body are by far the most sturdy and heavy. The most popular Canon DSLR with standard internal battery and memory cards are just over 900g. A 24-70mm lens typically used on the PRAS mounts Iīve seen are between 600 and 700g.

Small stuff with GoPro maybe not so bad, big heavy pro stuff is another matter. And the large drone quoted to be spotted in the London TMA is just the thing that carries that.

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 12:20
Lots of talk about the hard bits in these RC drones but no-one has mentioned that they are mostly powered by large packs of Lithium Polymer batteries. Yes I know they are fairly soft etc etc.
But they do not like impact or puncture damage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUFxlf4fXjo

And that is just a tiny one.
You have virtually identical cells in your phone, laptop, e-cig and some of your chordless power tools (although these are more likely to be lithium-phiosphate than the classical lithium-cobalt "lipo").

I've been using lithium polymer batteries for nearly a decade (I would guess I have about 70 lipo packs in my garage workshop right now, from the tiny 130mAh single cells up to some 5,000mAh 6-cell monsters), and videos like that are massively misleading. You really have to try very hard to get a lipo to do that kind of thing. I've actually tried it - I've deliberately overcharged them (charging by direct connection to 6v/cell), I've over-currentted them (charged at 10C and discharged at over 100C by directly shorting them). I've cut the envelopes, banged nails through them, overheated them, given them violent impacts with a brick wall (the most extreme being by way of my best Andy Murrey tennis serve impression from 10 feet).

I've certainly managed to damage these cells so they didn't work any more. Some got a bit hot, and some smouldered slightly. But none did these "greek fire" impressions you see on youtube. And I'm by no means alone.

There's usually a bunch of lithium-cobalt cells in the ELBs on aeroplanes, of course. So I'd stay well away from any aeroplanes if they are a concern to you...

PDR

ionagh
19th Apr 2016, 12:30
Quite so. I also have a large array of Li-Po batteries and never any issues. A friend at the club crashed a large EDF (6S) model and it burnt just like video before he could get near it. Not saying its guaranteed to happen but it has been documented to happen often enough.

wiggy
19th Apr 2016, 12:30
And throwing hysterical tantrums every time there's a non-accident isn't going to help.

If there was impact it wasn't a non accident. The AAIB will find out soon enough.

The last 24 hours of pilot-blathering in the press .....
That's kinda inevitable where people turn crying wolf into a lifestyle choice.


Do you do appreciate that sort of comment doesn't help your cause one bit?


Can I ask - are you prepared to admit there's a potential problem and danger associated with a drone colliding with an aircraft in flight?

DaveReidUK
19th Apr 2016, 12:44
If there was impact it wasn't a non accident. The AAIB will find out soon enough.

It will likely be classed as a Serious Incident, as defined in Annex 13:

Serious incident. An incident involving circumstances indicating that an accident nearly occurred.

Note 1.-- The difference between an accident and a serious incident lies only in the result.

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 12:51
If there was impact it wasn't a non accident. The AAIB will find out soon enough.


I believe the correct definition is an "incident". ICAO Annex 13 refers:

Accident
An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which:

a) a person is fatally or seriously injured as a result of


being in the aircraft, or
direct contact with any part of the aircraft, including parts which have become detached from the aircraft, or
direct exposure to jet blast,


except when the injuries are from natural causes, self inflicted or inflicted by other persons, or when the injuries are to stowaways hiding outside the areas normally available to the passengers and crew: or

b) the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure which:


adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft, and
would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component,


except for engine failure or damage. when the damage is limited to the engine, its cowlings or accessories: or for damage limited to propellers, wing tips, antennas, tires, brakes, fairings, small dents or puncture holes in the aircraft skin: or

c) the aircraft is missing or is completely inaccessible.

Incident.
An occurrence, other than an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft which affects or could affect the safety of operation.


So I repeat - this was a non-accident. It's a "knowing what you're talking about" thing. Do you do appreciate that sort of hysterical ignorance doesn't help anyone or anything one bit?


Can I ask - are you prepared to admit there's a potential problem and danger associated with a drone colliding with an aircraft in flight?

No, I'm not prepared to "admit" anything (because that has connotations of grudging disclosure). I am prepared to STATE that there is such a potential problem. But being a grown-up I also STATE that it is one of a large number of such potential problems, each of which has an associated probability of resulting in "death, serious injury and/or significant property damage" (hereto-under refereed to as "bad ****" in the interests of brevity).

I then observe than of this set of risks the risk of drone-collision has a lower probability of "bad ****" than many other risks which have no been subject to extreme regulatory controls (pilot fatigue and pilot mental stability being the obvious examples). Ergo society has ALREADY determined that further regulations or enforcement actions are not warranted to mitigate the drone-collision threat.

QED

PDR

Basil
19th Apr 2016, 13:22
I expect this thread will have attracted the attention of a fair number of sensible model aviators so the following may be of interest:

Drone ban over London and Windsor during Obama visit (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/19/drone-ban-over-london-and-windsor-during-obama-visit/)

Drones will be banned from flying between 9pm on Thursday (21st April I guess) and 10.30am on Sunday over a large part of London, from Purley in the south to Haringey in the north.

Restrictions are in place for the skies between Windsor and London on Friday - when the Obamas will join the Queen for lunch at Windsor Castle the day after her 90th birthday celebrations - and between Stansted airport and London on Thursday night and Sunday morning.

The regulations prohibit aircraft - including drones - from flying below 762 metres (2,500 feet) within the specified areas unless they are using Heathrow, Stansted or London City airports, London Heliport, RAF Northolt or are being operated by the emergency services.

Pilots of other aircraft wanting to fly in the restricted areas must seek permission from the Metropolitan Police.

wiggy
19th Apr 2016, 13:22
I then observe than of this set of risks the risk of drone-collision has a lower probability of "bad ****" than many other risks which have no been subject to extreme regulatory controls (pilot fatigue and pilot mental stability being the obvious examples).

You may be right, you may be wrong, but which will be the easiest and most popular to legislate against? The drone community may need all the friends it can get - name calling won't help.

G0ULI
19th Apr 2016, 13:23
Humans are particularly bad at assessing probabilities and risks. It is an absolute certainty that at some stage in the future a fully laden A380 (or similar large passenger aircraft) will crash with massive loss of life. In fact the odds are far higher than an aircraft colliding with a drone, or said drone being the initiator of the crash.

Do we ban passenger transport on large jets? Of course not.

The fact is, we take a calculated risk every time we step aboard an aircraft or any other vehicle. The chances of being killed in a collision on the way to an airport are far higher than being killed aboard an airliner, but people are still prepared to drive.

At the moment the record stands at airliners 1, drones 0. That is a one hundred percent success rate in favour of the larger aircraft. There is absolutely no supporting evidence the other way, although there is a calculable, non zero, probability that a drone could potentially damage an airliner so as to cause a crash.

Better to worry about things that matter like looking both ways before crossing the road.

PDR1
19th Apr 2016, 13:40
You may be right, you may be wrong, but which will be the easiest and most popular to legislate against? The drone community may need all the friends it can get - name calling won't help.

Who's doing any name calling? I literally meant what I said. Pilot fatigue has a documented accident/incident history, and the threads on this place alone show that many professional pilots consider their own fatigue levels to be a significant threat to flight safety.

Pilot mental stability has a non-zero accident history (German wings, Egyptair 990, probably MH370 to name but three). It demonstrably has a higher probability of causing "bad ****" than a drone strike. So if we aren't mandating annual pilot metal health checks I suggest we're saying we don't need any more drone legislation either, as both risks are clearly within the tolerable threshold.

The FAA have done a classic "knee jerk" by introducing "drone registration" - each drone must carry the registration number of its owner/operator. Perhaps one of you could ask the flight-deck crew of yesterday's A320 whether they would have been able to read the registration numbers in 10mm-high font as it whizzed towards them at ~180mph? To be honest I'm actually surprised that they could even have determined it was a drone in the very brief time between becoming visible and smacking against the fuselage!

PDR

Basil
19th Apr 2016, 13:50
So if we aren't mandating annual pilot metal health checks
Ah, but we do. That little informal chat/professional banter with the AME isn't all just making smalltalk any more than than is the polite discusion about 'the old country' with a US immigration officer.

msjh
19th Apr 2016, 14:09
I think there's general agreement between the pilot community and the drone flying community that civilian drones and people-carrying aircraft should not fly in the same airspace (at least until both have sophisticated anti-collision systems).

There are a few aggressive drone flyers who seem to feel they will fly where they like (over neighbour's gardens, in suburban areas, etc) but most are considerate. Some of the aggressive drone pilots will insist that a drone striking an aircraft isn't proved to be a risk : do they want a smoking hole in the ground?

There are a few pilots who want all drones banned but most just want to limit/avoid the risk of sharing airspace with drones.

There are a few pilots (in my limited experience these are helicopter pilots) who like to fly regularly below 400'; as a drone pilot, this makes me nervous; it gives me little time to react.

There's probably more that regulatory authorities could do to raise awareness in the piloting community. Drone manufacturers could put a big sign at the top of the drone box which you'll see the moment you open it highlighting key national rules.

It will calm down.

wiggy
19th Apr 2016, 15:44
It will calm down.

It will...and FWIW I think there's more common ground here than some might think - some of the more elderly here cut their teeth with single channel R/C (gliders in my case) and have no wish to see the modern equivalents overly restricted or banned...but they do need to be operated somewhere sensible by someone with common sense.

DroneDog
19th Apr 2016, 16:46
This may seem odd but I am reading forums claiming this to be a false alarm, stating there was no damage to the aircraft, not even a scrape on the paint.

Can anyone confirm.

TeeGeeZee
19th Apr 2016, 17:06
This may seem odd but I am reading forums claiming this to be a false alarm, stating there was no damage to the aircraft, not even a scrape on the paint.

Can anyone confirm.
The Metropolitan Police's own statement (Appeal following incident with aircraft - Metropolitan Police (http://news.met.police.uk/news/appeal-following-incident-with-aircraft-160468)) says:

"The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely and was inspected by BA engineers. There was no damage found to the aircraft."

Whether this means no evidence of a collision or simply no damage warranting repair I'm not sure, but it could be the source of the rumours.

ZOOKER
19th Apr 2016, 17:18
There is also the possibility that after the collision with the aircraft, the RPAS 'residue' falls to Earth and seriously injures persons or causes damage to property on the surface. Pedestrians, vehicle windscreens, conservatory roofs etc.

TeeGeeZee
19th Apr 2016, 17:50
There is also the possibility that after the collision with the aircraft, the RPAS 'residue' falls to Earth and seriously injures persons or causes damage to property on the surface. Pedestrians, vehicle windscreens, conservatory roofs etc.
A quick look on Youtube will reveal 100s of videos of various multirotors crashing back to earth intact due to a variety of malfunctions. It seems to me you're far more likely to become the victim of one of those than whatever's left after a >160kt impact with an airliner.

I operate a kit-built aerial photography quadcopter in the 1.5kg range and whenever flying I operate under the assumption that it might fall out the sky at any moment. This means never flying over anyone or anything which might be injured or damaged in a crash and a careful risk/benefit analysis in terms of what images I'm going to capture before operating it over an area where uncontrolled descent could result in a total loss of the craft, ie. tall trees, water etc.

IMHO anyone who doesn't follow this line of thought is foolish in the extreme, but sadly Youtube serves as proof that a lot of people would disagree.

G0ULI
19th Apr 2016, 18:04
Somewhat larger lumps fall off aircraft on a regular basis including stowaways.

The impacted drone may have survived the encounter (unlikely), was completely disintegrated (probable), ingested by an engine and atomised without causing any damage (possible), or bits fluttered to the ground over open countryside without causing damage (likely).

The lumps of ice, biological remains and metallic parts that fall from aircraft present a higher risk, particularly on approach paths to landing.

ZOOKER
19th Apr 2016, 18:12
Struggling to find a web-site containing information on the co-efficient of flutterability for say, Lithium batteries or a 'Go-Pro' camera?
Ingested by an engine..........Well that's all right then, nothing to worry about.

Bull at a Gate
20th Apr 2016, 11:58
Eight pages of outrage and yet the basic premise justifying the outrage has not been demonstrated. How about we all refrain from demonising drones and their controllers until someone proves that there has been, or even that there is likely to be, a collision between a drone and an aircraft? And no, I don't own a drone.

Basil
20th Apr 2016, 13:45
Did once almost hit a paraglider.
Wouldn't have been great if he'd gone into an engine; esp for him :E

dirkdj
20th Apr 2016, 13:58
I am probably one of the very few people on this planet who have actually brought down an aircraft with a drone (RC model).
I was flying a scale RC aircraft on the runway of an airfield after hours (with permission of the airfield authority). At the same time a hot air balloon took of at the other end of the runway, more than 1800 m away. The wind was blowing in the runway axis and I was doing circuits. My maximum altitude was probably less than 100ft in downwind. RC scale aircraft are difficult to fly and you cannot let one out of your sight for more than a second or two.
I saw the hot air balloon (about 100ft diameter) coming in low over the runway and tried to make my downwind even lower. I thought I was going to pass well clear of the balloon, but because of optical illusion (100ft balloon against 5ft wingspan of my RC model) I managed to hit it right in the middle of the envelope. There was a tear in the envelope, my model came down in a spin and the balloon descended slowly and managed an emergency landing remaining clear of the surrounding buildings.

Obviously the balloon pilot and his passenger came to meet me and ask questions. It was clear that there were no bad intentions whatsoever and the passenger was an old instructor of mine. My insurance paid for the repair of the balloon, several thousands. Obviously this could have been much worse if the envelope would have opened further.

This happened over thirty years ago, in over fifty years of flying, I have never put even a scratch on any of the aircraft or passengers. I cannot begin to imagine what damage a drone would to if it hit my windscreen at 180 kts.

stilton
21st Apr 2016, 03:14
That definitely qualifies as one of the most unusual, perhaps bizarre 'accidents'

RAT 5
21st Apr 2016, 05:32
In The Daily Telegraph 'letters' last Saturday was this contribution. Is it correct?

'Bandit Drones.'
"A drone flight made over a garden was already illegal. Drones are regulated by CAA (UK) under ANO and unlicensed drones are prohibited from flying over property or people." Chris Attwell...Bristol.

I'm only the messenger. Hold your fire.

peekay4
21st Apr 2016, 06:17
Yes, DJI do dominate.

No they don't. That data is for US drones used for commercial purposes in 2014, based on dollar value.

But the vast majority of drones today aren't being used for commercial purposes. And using dollar value doesn't correlate with the number of drones actually being sold (and flown) in the market.

For every DJI drone there are probably 20 more drones sold by companies like Syma, UDI, Hubsan, etc.

aox
21st Apr 2016, 08:07
How about we all refrain from demonising drones and their controllers until ...

On another forum, someone said he didn't want a drone with geo-fencing, but would agree to it if the airlines would pay him for use of his airspace.

I calmly said it isn't his airspace, and the airlines do indeed pay for services associated with their use of airspace.

It's gone quiet, so maybe I won't get into an argument about abstruse concepts like controlled and prohibited airspace, or worse ...

DroneDog
21st Apr 2016, 08:12
I'm afraid controlled airspace is coming, well at least at the moment for drones anyhow one such company is called AIRMAP.
At the moment they are working with the major drone makers to provide Geo fencing data...for a fee.

How long before AIRMAP and its competitors want a slice of the leisure and commercial aircraft market?

DroneDog
21st Apr 2016, 08:22
If I may add, I was driving the outrage bus concerned that a drone had been is collision with an aircraft in the proximity of an airport . Such actions destroy the drone industry/hobby for all forcing draconian legalisation on all.

i have been flying RC models heli's etc since the late 90's and yes the old school approach really does factor is safety. I cringe watching some footage of drones flying over busy roads motorways etc with no regard to a failure.
I also charter full size heli's etc it just depends on the job. A particular requirement may be a mix of both.

The story on the collision seems to have gone quiet with some forums suggesting it was a work of fiction. If anyone on this forum knows what really happen please enlighten me.
Otherwise stories of commercial pilots 'crying wolf' does not help the issue.

Nige321
21st Apr 2016, 16:11
Soooo... It might not have been a 'drone'...
It might have been a plastic bag... (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/21/drone-believed-to-have-hit-british-airways-flight-may-have-been/)

Transport minister Robert Goodwill admitted authorities had not yet confirmed whether what struck the Airbus A320 was a remote-controlled device.

msjh
21st Apr 2016, 16:30
Soooo... It might not have been a 'drone'...
It might have been a plastic bag... (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/21/drone-believed-to-have-hit-british-airways-flight-may-have-been/)
I can tell you that's causing a sigh of relief from responsible drone pilots.