The unconfirmed report is that a “company survey” aircraft impacted a small UAS at 2,500 feet near Lewis University (KLOT) on August 27, 2015 causing damage to the leading edge of the manned aircraft wing.

More as we get it but this is what we know 

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Comment by John Wiseman on August 28, 2015 at 10:46pm

What's the source of that photo?

Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 28, 2015 at 10:58pm

I can't say at the minute they would rather not be named right now.  Here's another.

I think that looks like the tail not wing, but it will all come out in the wash.

Comment by Greg Nuspel on August 29, 2015 at 3:49am

That is a costly repair: de-ice boot and the leading edge repair, plus the time down.

Comment by Gary McCray on August 29, 2015 at 10:54am

I notice the report says that they "Struck an unknown object while in flight".

So does that mean the UAS thing is just a supposition or is there additional information that suggests the crew saw something?

There doesn't seem to be any doubt that they hit something, but the tail section of that plane is not really in the primary line of fire as opposed to the wings themselves or fuselage, so it seems a very peculiar place to have taken a UAS strike.

In fact, to me at least, it looks more typical of some piece of junk blown up off the runway perhaps during landing.

And yes I do have a private pilots license so at least some small familiarity with this sort of thing.

It will be interesting to see what finally shakes out, a bogus attempt to further disparage UAS by pilots or a legitimate strike.

I hope further verifiable information is forthcoming.

Best Regards,


Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 29, 2015 at 11:15am

Some nice observations Gary.



Comment by Gary McCray on August 29, 2015 at 11:45am

One further comment, notice the claimed 2500 feet altitude, in fact many of the claimed sightings by commercial pilots have been around this altitude or higher.

Think about it, isn't that in itself really suspicious?

Those of us who actually use these things know you can't even really see your "drone" at tat altitude adequately to control it and a "Phantom" is just a speck.

The percentage of hobby UAS being flown at those altitudes is vanishingly small, sure us DIYDrones guys can do it autonomously or with good FPV, but what percent of the drone users does that account for and we are also the ones who know better than to do so.

I would have a lot easier time believing there might be substance to sightings below 400 feet, but close encounters at 2500 feet and above, something stinks there.

Of course the manned pilots making these claims do not share our knowledge of the practical limitations of them.

For the most part most such real high altitude sightings would be of drones that were simply out of control and no longer communicating with their operator.

And that seems like it would be statistically astronomically unlikely.

I welcome other viewpoints on this, but think about it what percentage of our "drone" fleet is currently at or above 2500 feet - right!

Best Regards,


Comment by Greg Nuspel on August 29, 2015 at 12:02pm

I have seen damage just like this but a bit worse when a Navajo struck a duck while in cruise flight. I know it was a duck because I had to clean it up. So this type of damage is possible in flight. Also this aircraft is an Apache.

When they say it was unknown what they hit, just means they didn't see it. Birds tend to leave bits behind after a strike so they can often be identified. 

The problem these days is people are flying FPV at ever increasing distances. Look at this one claiming 80 Km out It's the guys that just have to try and press the envelop to see how far and high they can go. 

I do find it funny that everyone assumes it was a multirotor.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 29, 2015 at 12:09pm

I don't think it was a multi either, and wonder if we will ever really know. I guess they will almost in a Cinderella way see if a prop of a certain size rotating at speed will make those marks, your right about the type as well Greg, it was early in the morning when I received the email. Changed now.

Comment by Gary McCray on August 29, 2015 at 12:25pm

Not saying the damage can't occur in flight, just that it is suspicious it is the tail, not the wings, fuselage or prop which have a hugely higher likelihood of being involved in an in air strike.

Also, wasn't saying it was necessarily a multi, but in the US there are only a tiny number of fixed wing UAS being flown and the vast majority of those would be below 2500 feet too, for the reasons sighted.

At this point, except for plain old RC airplanes it is almost certainly well below 1% of the "drones" being flown are fixed wing.

And although I understand Ag in particular can benefit from higher overflights of their crop lands, that is still a very small usage and many if not most of those are now being flown as type 333 anyway which would mean they would be either not at that altitude or with filed flight plans. 

I stand by my comment that 2500 feet is very suspicious, not that you can't get there, just that almost nobody (at least in the US) purposely flies there and the odds against a plane encounter at that altitude are vanishingly small.

Especially given the relatively large number of so-called sightings at unlikely high altitudes that have occurred - Bah - Humbug!

The Phantom dolts can';t get that high if they try and they rest of us know better.



Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 29, 2015 at 12:29pm

Time will tell on this one, what I am finding interesting is that its not hit network news over there. You would expect there to have been TV reports by now.


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