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    Since Gary works to very high standards of reporting, I doubt very much that he fabricated this "drone strike" to garner any kind of publicity.

    Most likely this incident will eventually be buried along with all of the other aircraft "drone" sighting and/or damage reports that are put down to an "unknown object".


    TCIII Admin

  • Gary, I like you, so I hope I'm missing something here.  Who, besides you, is reporting it may have been a drone?

    The FAA just says "unknown object". There is no other report anywhere I can find that references this incident at all, drone or otherwise. It appears the only person reporting the incident at all is you.  And the only one claiming it might have been a drone is you.  Please tell me you didn't find this report of an object hitting a plane, and make it into a drone story for your website?  I really hope this isn't the case. sUAS news is a nice website.  And everyone here tries to tone down the media driven drone hysteria.  Making up a report like this just contributes to the hysteria.

  • Also, regarding the Afghan incident, they got hit by an RQ-7, something that is weighs over 150kg. What did they expect would happen.

  • My 2 cents:

    1. The damage on the left tail wing is right behind the left motor/propeller. Any object that would have hit it would have most likely gone through the props which would have taken the brunt of the damage.
    2. Can't be a bird since that would have left biological material.
    3. They would get an idea of what it could have been by looking at the damaged area for material.
    4. If its a UAS, it would most likely be a fixed wing on FPV or fixed wing in Auto mode.
    5. Minimum altitude an aircraft is supposed to maintain in cruise is 3000ft AGL (I have a PPT). So this happened either in takeoff or landing unless he was low for some other reason.

    If it was a UAS, so be it. Nothing can be said except that that UAS pilot should have been more prudent (unless it was a runaway) and its a sad precident (would have happened sooner or later)

    Also Gary's point about the difference between MIL UAVs usage and civilian UAVs usage makes sense

    But I strongly recent the fact that it is being claimed as a UAS hit when no one knows what hit the aircraft and is also so mentioned in the report.

  • Interesting that there are two distinct damage areas probably about 150-200mm apart and one less than another.  I don't know what this might imply of the object that hit it, but I would suggest that whatever it hit needs at least two concentrated mass points with one being substantially larger than another.  Not very conclusive, I know...

    Also, the airflow circulation around the fuselage is pretty non-intuitive, so that it hit only the HS is not very meaningful.  With prop wash and wing downwash and tailplane interaction, the chances of something being "sucked" into the path of the HS whilst avoiding everything else is quite some distance from non-zero, I would suggest.

  • Its hard to tell what really struck that leading edge, but it would be interesting to know though.

  • Gary,

    FPV + twenty something = lets try it, trust me I know some local flyers that have done it. I've also raise three boys and have seen things they and their friends have gotten up to. When I was young Evil Knievel was bad ass, now kids do things that would make him cringe.

    We are talking one possible drone strike and all of a sudden it is impossible, no the odds are against it, but that means it is possible. This may not occur for another 20 years now for all we know. Also remember birds have a built in collision avoidance system and I'm sure if you have ever driven a car you'll have seen it in action.

    I close my comments on this by saying if the odds were 1:10^100000000000000000000000000000000 this may have been the one.

  • Hi Greg,

    I had hoped to drop this, but what you are saying is nonsense, a Phantom basically disappears somewhere between 500 and 1000 feet and if they can't see it they can't control it, most of them do not really want to lose sight of their $500.00 + Phantom investment and the little lightweight much less dangerous toys disappear a lot closer than that.

    You can fly over any city you wan't right now and you are not going to see "drones" popping up over a thousand feet anywhere.

    and that goes for 1850 feet as well although they have still not clarified AGL or ASL.

    As I said the problem was not whether the "drone" was physically capable of reaching those altitudes, it is just the severe problem with them being totally not line of sight or visible.

    The exception is the guys who fly their AMA RC gliders who are trying to get high enough to find the right thermals and they are almost always over their RC clubs field.

    In the future when the FAA permits flight above 400 feet, they will only do it under very controlled circumstances and in the meantime the problem for manned pilots flying above 1000 feet just doesn't exist. (And the only place manned pilots are ever allowed to be under 1000 feet is on approach to or taking off from an airport or over uninhabited areas (which are 500 feet AGL minimum).

    Frankly the only way we are likely to see a collision at these claimed high altitudes is when one of the pilots opens his window in flight and throws a Phantom out of it so it will hit the tail - Hmm!

    If the infinite numbers of drones thing was working here, there would be several thousand times more bird strikes than their are.

  • Yes Hal if you look at the chart the accident happened at about 1850' AGL since aircraft reference ASL and the ground looks to be  about 650 ASL.

  • Problem is drones are mainly concentrated around populated areas, low level manned flight mainly occurs around populated areas. The uneducated drone flyer is exactly the guy that will try to go higher and farther soon as they get bored. They will mainly get away with it because odds are in their favor. 

    This whole bored scenario is why it is in the best interest of commercial operators to play safe and when approached by the curious promote the hobby of FPV racing. Explain the aerobatic and speed elements, seal it with mentioning the leagues and the million dollar investment from the owner of the Miami Dolphins. So many people grew up with first person shooter games and FPV racing is a perfect adrenaline rush for them. 

    We can make the skies safer by telling people how boring our toys are :-)

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