Mythbusters, please help! (Open Letter)

(Image: Wikipedia)

Dear Jamie, Adam, Tori, Kari, Grant and production crew,

I'm a huge fan and watch your show since the first episode!

I'm sure you have by now noticed the dire situation in which not only us "drone"-hobbyists but in fact all R/C-hobbyists are in!

Fearmongers and your US FAA are painting horrible pictures of airliners going down in flames after colliding with a 2kg foam R/C plane or a comparable multicopter almost on a daily basis.

My dad having been CFO of a major German airline and thus me having run around in maintenance halls a lot when I was little, I believe that is a myth and many of us hobbyists believe it's propaganda.

There is no doubt that we hobbyists have an obligation to be safe at all times and nobody is advising unsafe behavior! But there is a difference between advising safety in a reasonable way and fearmongering!

Therefore, I would like to ask you to do a "drone dangers" episode! You already have shot chickens, frozen and not, into aircraft windows. Please now shoot R/C airplanes and multicopters into aircraft and aircraft engines, so everybody knows once and for all, what is going to happen and what isn't.

Please bust the drone myths!


Views: 3531

Comment by Justin Martin on May 10, 2014 at 5:22am
Bad, bad idea....

First off, I've seen a 2kg bird tear a whole 6 feet deep into the wing of a fighter. And believe 110% that a 2kg foam plane, with camera, motor, and battery could do a lot worse.

This being said, if Mythbusters did an episode, it would most likely backfire, and unintentionally paint the hobby with a bad image, again...

On that note, look up the mythbusters episode where they borrowed Nasa's (?) Bird cannon, to shoot 4-6 pound birds at the cockpit of a typical aircraft, simulating in-flight damage....
Comment by Alex Lee on May 10, 2014 at 5:22am

Good idea. You may want to formally submit it.

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Comment by Stefan Gofferje on May 10, 2014 at 5:26am


A Fighter goes much faster than a passenger jet and I watched the episode(s) with the birds. They basically had to deep-freeze the birds to do major damage and in another episode, they were using a small Cessna without bird-certified windshield.

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on May 10, 2014 at 5:45am

Just to be clear:

I'm not saying, an R/C-model isn't gonna do any kind of damage to an airplane!

I'm just saying, an airplane is not going to explode in flames and fall down like a stone after contact with an R/C airplane.

You have to take into account that the most probably collision point would be somewhere in lower altitudes, which would mean for the plane either around departure or arrival. In both cases, airplanes are far away from their cruising speed. A landing airliner goes around 250-300km/h, depending on model and approach phase...

Comment by Stefan Gofferje on May 10, 2014 at 5:46am

The R/C hobby is around for - what - 120 years? I haven't heard of any full size aircraft going down after a collision with an R/C plane yet...

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on May 10, 2014 at 6:17am

Hi Stefan

I posted this information on the near miss blog post also:

Here is a site that lists some civilian and military aircraft bird strikes: Bird Strikes

It appears, in some instances, even a low speed (aircraft/bird) turbine engine ingestion of a live, not frozen, bird can damage the engine beyond recovery.



Comment by Stuart Brookes on May 10, 2014 at 6:20am

Seems pointless to me, sUAS shouldn't be flown near landing/taking off aircraft full stop regardless of damage levels caused.


Comment by Badman Teddy Edward on May 10, 2014 at 6:44am
Nod to Stuart.
One hopes sense is in everybody.
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on May 10, 2014 at 7:38am

Don't agree with this at all.

While a pigeon, composed of soft tissue and small amounts of very low density bone might not damage an airplane.  I'm sure a 100+ gram chunk of metal (the motor) almost certainly would.

Also, replace 2kg foam airplane, with 5kg of motors, carbon fiber tubing and lithium batteries, then repeat test.

Comment by Sgt Ric on May 10, 2014 at 8:06am
I don't think it's wise to try to show the world that it's OK to have a model aircraft hit their airliner and MAYBE not cause much damage.


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