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  • Hi all,

    Greg, military drones in military circumstances are kind of the exact opposite of the circumstance we have here, they are in fact often pursuing or being pursued by manned aircraft, collisions are bound to occur.

    So, all bets are off for military drones.

    But civilian and far more likely hobby "drones" are another matter entirely, presuming (reasonably) that they aren't purposely targeting an aircraft and noting that the current and widely accepted upper altitude limit and FAA rule is 400 feet, at any given moment the number of civilian drones in the entire US airspace at or above 2500 feet AGL is most likely zero.

    Probably on a daily basis 1 might illegally impinge on 2500 feet from error, mechanical failure or just plain stupidity and I think that is a generous estimate at that.

    Also its latency at or above that altitude is most likely to average less than 5 minutes.

    Reasonably you could extrapolate that under current circumstances extended over several thousand years you might expect maybe 1 drone strike or close contact with a manned aircraft.

    When you are talking about manned aircraft, of course the odds are much much better, their are a lot of them and they  are all flying at the same altitude and most of them are VFR without flight plans and they have really big blind spots in 3 dimensions.

    It is only due to the relatively high competence and vigilance of your average private pilot that a lot more in air mishaps don't occur.

    But at present at least, this represents exactly the opposite of the situation with "drones" civilian or hobby ones at least.

    At first, a few stupid people flew their multicopters near airports to take pictures of the planes and because it seemed cool to do so.

    But even there the sightings were often reported at extremely high altitudes (2500 up to 15,000 feet), either most those really were military drones or they were true UFO, because nobody is flying that high, yet anyway.

    I am afraid the drone has become the new UFO and is lumped into an explanation for occurrences that are not understood or as an excuse for some that are.

    Don't get me wrong, there is a real danger, but that is going to be from people deliberately trying to do this, not us and not even the uninformed and uneducated Walmart Phantom buyer.

    And that last sentence is what we and the FAA and HS really will end up needing to worry about.



  • The big sky theory has not been in use since 1958 for collision avoidance.  This summer alone there has been at least 4 mid air collisions between manned aircraft.  Drawing a conclusion that there is not much damage isn't a good idea yet.  Nobody has opened the structure to see what internal damage was caused, the boot could be hiding damage, what was the material of the object that was hit, what was the relative velocities involved, what was the angle of impact, what material was the object made of?  What if it was a foamy flying wing?  Did this occur at 2500 above sea level?  Or 2500 feet above the ground?  The possibility exists that the alleged collision happened low to the ground until it is known.  Aircraft generally fly on MSL, not AGL altitudes.

  • @Greg - quite right! That is the most revealing part of the calculations. The likelihood of accidents due to random events is very low but these results can be skewed significantly by deliberate action. In the case of military manoevers, drones and manned aircraft might share the same airspace and this has a huge impact on the probability of incidents. Similarly, if someone deliberately flies their hobby drone near an airport then this too changes the stats by several orders of magnitude.
  • It's all about the boredom factor: "Okay I've taken some photos now what can I do?"

  • @Scott, I'm with you on that. I crunched the numbers and if you take every drone in the USA into the air and hover them at 2500 feet for ten years, the chance of one of them being hit by a manned aircraft is still vanishingly small!
  • @ Laser, I think a falling piece of ice from another aircraft above, is just as likely as a random drone fly-away!

    @ Austin, I think you mean, what ALLEGED idiot is ALLEGEDLY flying at 2500ft?  Over on this continent we're innocent until PROVEN guilty.  (That's the idea, anyway)

  • Well it had to happen sometime. What idiot is flying at 2500ft. They should be put in prison for doing this. They are ruining a growing industry and more importantly putting peoples lives at risk!

  • We've all read the complaints that some drones, especially new ones that haven't been properly setup, fly out of control and usually crash somewhere nearby. I was wondering if anyone has had an instance of a drone flying straight up and out of view? If this is possible then a climbing drone or a falling drone with flat batteries might cross the 2500 foot level. Perhaps people won't want to incriminate themselves but it might be in all our interests to know if this has ever happened.
  • This is actually a great first drone strike.  Nobody died!  Some pilots refer to that as just a good landing :-)  Not a good situation, but the damage is really piddly in the grand scheme of things.  Definitely not enough to bring an airliner down unless it was stupidly bad timing and a whole bunch of other things went wrong too.  If this is all drone strikes ever amount to, great!

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