Please select Into the mobile phone version | Continue to access the computer ver.
What are the chances of crashing into commercial aircraft?
631 28 2017-3-20 17:07:41
M_A_V_I_C
Beginner
United States
Offline

Hello.So, heres the thing, when I fly Mavic, I am constantly haunted by the idea that I will crash it into commercial aircraft, such as low-flying personal aircraft like Cessnas and helicopters. I think I live about 10 miles away fom a small airport, and about 17 miles away from the Philadelphia International Airport. I never fly higher than 100 meters, and the Mavic is never further than 4 km away from me. The issue is so serious that I have to constantly refrain myself from pressing the RTH button whenever I hear an aircraft engine. So, are there any statistics for the chances that this would actually happen? What if I were flying elsewhere, such as the Florida Keys? Thanks!
2017-3-20 17:07:41
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/03/16/the-likelihood-of-a-drone-damaging-your-plane-is-actually-really-low/?amp=1
2017-3-20 18:13:07
Use props
DroneFlying
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2533419
Canada
Offline

As long as you stay at or below 400 feet and follow the FAA's other recommendations and rules it's extremely unlikely that you'll ever have any type of collision with another (non-drone) aircraft, and if one did occur it would most likely not be your fault. And that applies regardless of whether you're flying in Pennsylvania or in the Keys.
2017-3-20 18:14:58
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/researchers-say-faa-overestimating-small-drone-risk/amp/
2017-3-20 18:13:39
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

http://mashable.com/2016/03/16/drone-airplane-risk/
2017-3-20 18:14:10
Use props
rick39
Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 11770
United Kingdom
Offline

Risk is subjective to different people, hence the guidelines. Line of sight doesn't extend to 4 kilometres, so you are exposing yourself to higher risk as you wouldn't hear a light aircraft from that far away, and probably wouldn't see it let alone your drone. What are the chances of your drone colliding with an aircraft below 100 meters? Very low. Is the risk increased without the two main sensors (senses) you have to lessen the risk like hearing and sight: yes.
If you lived further away from an airfield the risk would be reduced, but not negated. Guage risk by degree, but lessening the risk you pose has to be the answer to your fear of damage or prosecution.
2017-3-20 18:55:32
Use props
uS6xlc16SqoS
Beginner
Canada
Offline

Commercial aircraft is made of metal. Recreational drone is made from plastic.

Metal vs plastic. Who would win??

Gee I wonder.
2017-3-20 19:39:03
Use props
mstevens
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 5015
United States
Offline

DroneFlying Posted at 2017-3-20 18:14
As long as you stay at or below 400 feet and follow the FAA's other recommendations and rules it's extremely unlikely that you'll ever have any type of collision with another (non-drone) aircraft, and if one did occur it would most likely not be your fault. And that applies regardless of whether you're flying in Pennsylvania or in the Keys.

In the US, by definition if your drone collides with a manned aircraft it is your fault because you are at all times required to give way to manned aircraft.
2017-3-20 19:55:56
Use props
mstevens
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 5015
United States
Offline

uS6xlc16SqoS Posted at 2017-3-20 19:39
Commercial aircraft is made of metal. Recreational drone is made from plastic.

Metal vs plastic. Who would win??

Well, metal commercial aircraft are made of metal. Fabric ones are not. That would include hot air balloons, airships, and old Piper J3's being used to give paid rides to passengers. There are probably wooden and composite commercial aircraft as well.

And are we only worried about crashing a commercial aircraft? No worry about killing off that family of six in their private plane?

You'd be amazed at what can damage even an airliner. Imagine, for example, your plastic drone going in the intake of a jet engine. I think the drone is likely to "win" that one. You could also end up with a chunk of your drone stuck in a control surface. That's not likely to go very well.

In the US the rules are completely clear: you are fully responsible for ensuring your UAV does not interfere with any manned aircraft. The rules say nothing about not worrying about how likely any damage or danger might be or presuming your UAV is too little to cause problems.
2017-3-20 20:01:07
Use props
DroneFlying
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2533419
United States
Offline

mstevens Posted at 2017-3-20 19:55
In the US, by definition if your drone collides with a manned aircraft it is your fault because you are at all times required to give way to manned aircraft.

In the US, by definition if your drone collides with a manned aircraft it is your fault

That's incorrect: your willingness to give way to another aircraft doesn't guarantee that a collision won't occur any more than it does in the case of two cars. And as I stated before, if you're flying at or below 400' and obeying the FAA's other guidelines when it happens, there's a high probability that the other aircraft is flying somewhere that it shouldn't and that you wouldn't be the one in trouble.
2017-3-21 02:17:56
Use props
DroneFlying
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2533419
United States
Offline

mstevens Posted at 2017-3-20 20:01
Well, metal commercial aircraft are made of metal. Fabric ones are not. That would include hot air balloons, airships, and old Piper J3's being used to give paid rides to passengers. There are probably wooden and composite commercial aircraft as well.

And are we only worried about crashing a commercial aircraft? No worry about killing off that family of six in their private plane?

In the US the rules are completely clear

If you think the rules related to drone flight in the U.S. are "completely clear" then you need to spend a little more time researching them, especially before correcting others.
2017-3-21 02:20:26
Use props
Range30
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 199261
United States
Offline

DroneFlying Posted at 2017-3-20 18:14
As long as you stay at or below 400 feet and follow the FAA's other recommendations and rules it's extremely unlikely that you'll ever have any type of collision with another (non-drone) aircraft, and if one did occur it would most likely not be your fault. And that applies regardless of whether you're flying in Pennsylvania or in the Keys.

Perfect Explanation!
2017-3-21 02:44:32
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

to answer the OP's question. If you are asking strictly from a statistical, numbers based, mathematical aspect (vs theoretical forum aspect), the answer to your question, based on statistics? Is "less than 1/2 of 1%"
And based on detailed, documented, fact based studies, (see links above)  if the collision did occur? chances are extremely low of taking down a commercial aircraft.

I realize that to many, it sounds cooler to say otherwise ("you keep doing that and you are going to take down a 767 and then you are going to be in big trouble!") but facts are facts..
2017-3-21 04:37:12
Use props
randy.sauder
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 2136
Canada
Offline

uS6xlc16SqoS Posted at 2017-3-20 19:39
Commercial aircraft is made of metal. Recreational drone is made from plastic.

Metal vs plastic. Who would win??

You underestimate kinetic energy.  Drones are made of highly rigid plastic including metal parts.  A drone strike can be quite an impressive against a jetliner.  Also planes are not as 'metallic' as you might think...
2017-3-21 07:22:11
Use props
jreynolds5
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 66257
United States
Offline

How many jet liners hit geese every year??? A goose is huge compared to a Mavic.
2017-3-21 07:41:29
Use props
hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 281650
  • >>>
Offline

It's always advisable to check the area you are flying in to see what activity might be going on, i.e. Parachute jumping , hand gliding , search and rescue helicopter training ballooning, most of the areas these activities take place in are marked on aeronautical maps and can easily be accessed through internet. If you want to fly safe and with peace of mind then check out the maps for your area, all commercial drone pilots will always check these out.
2017-3-21 09:44:40
Use props
Samoth
Hobbyist
Belgium
Offline

I'm way more scared to fly into a bird, which is much more likely to happen...
2017-3-21 09:57:55
Use props
Mir
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 116702
United States
Offline

Everyone is worried about planes, but helicopters are the big risk. Not only they fly low (right inside your Mavic airspace), but also helicopters are much more vulnerable against drones. If your drone strikes the rotors, there may be trouble. I've had numerous encounters already, all while flying legit. While the chances are low, they still exist.

Last year a CHP helicopter had to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid hitting a Phantom 4, right here where I live. The chopper then circled the phantom 4 until it landed, then dispatched the police to the drone pilot. It was all over the local news.

Always be very aware of your craft's surroundings.
2017-3-21 10:54:26
Use props
jreynolds5
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 66257
United States
Offline

Mir Posted at 2017-3-21 10:54
Everyone is worried about planes, but helicopters are the big risk. Not only they fly low (right inside your Mavic airspace), but also helicopters are much more vulnerable against drones. If your drone strikes the rotors, there may be trouble. I've had numerous encounters already, all while flying legit. While the chances are low, they still exist.

Last year a CHP helicopter had to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid hitting a Phantom 4, right here where I live. The chopper then circled the phantom 4 until it landed, then dispatched the police to the drone pilot. It was all over the local news.

I remember this....it was national news
2017-3-21 10:56:33
Use props
Griffith
Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 9621
United States
Offline

uS6xlc16SqoS Posted at 2017-3-20 19:39
Commercial aircraft is made of metal. Recreational drone is made from plastic.

Metal vs plastic. Who would win??

Well... a plastic drone sucked into a turbine would not be fun.  And even though the FAA restricts aircraft to above 500 ft. I've witnessed many instances where helicopters land and takeoff from non-airport locations.
2017-3-21 11:08:38
Use props
DroneFlying
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2533419
United States
Offline

Griffith Posted at 2017-3-21 11:08
Well... a plastic drone sucked into a turbine would not be fun.  And even though the FAA restricts aircraft to above 500 ft. I've witnessed many instances where helicopters land and takeoff from non-airport locations.

Yes, helicopters in general -- and police helicopters in particular -- get a bit more latitude from the FAA than most other types of aircraft.
2017-3-21 11:11:29
Use props
Trent Mavic
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 334952
United Kingdom
Offline

Very very slim chances of even hitting an aircraft/helicopter... unless of course you're flying around airstrips/airports/heliports too close or above 400ft AGL. In the UK you're not allowed to (legally) go below 500ft unless you are taking off/landing or have an exemption. The US is slightly different in the fact it is 500ft from any person/object/vessel/building I believe so in sparsely populated areas you might find private pilots shooting around low level but wouldn't say it is that common.

A Mavic would not take an aircraft down... unless it was ingested into the engine (Jet) or on a smaller aircraft went through the windscreen obviously causing problems there!
2017-3-21 12:02:32
Use props
hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 281650
  • >>>
Offline

Mir Posted at 2017-3-21 10:54
Everyone is worried about planes, but helicopters are the big risk. Not only they fly low (right inside your Mavic airspace), but also helicopters are much more vulnerable against drones. If your drone strikes the rotors, there may be trouble. I've had numerous encounters already, all while flying legit. While the chances are low, they still exist.

Last year a CHP helicopter had to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid hitting a Phantom 4, right here where I live. The chopper then circled the phantom 4 until it landed, then dispatched the police to the drone pilot. It was all over the local news.

At least if you hit an aeroplane engine it has another one, no redundancy in a chopper if you damage any of the rotors.
2017-3-21 12:13:57
Use props
SR-71Habu
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 50439
United States
Offline

Helo pilot here. Can confirm, there is mild realistic concern in the community regarding drone strikes. Heli's spend most of their lives between 600 and 1200' AGL. And that includes lots of time transitioning to lower altitudes or even cruising around at 100 to 400 AGL. But I've never had a sighting and I think the odds are slim even in major metro centers.
2017-3-21 15:59:24
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

Also.  Rc aircraft have been flying for decades in the skies. And phantoms have been flying for 2-4 years.  And how many aircraft have EVER crashed due to RC craft strike?

How about..NONE
2017-3-21 16:49:12
Use props
mstevens
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 5015
United States
Offline

DroneFlying Posted at 2017-3-21 02:20
In the US the rules are completely clear

If you think the rules related to drone flight in the U.S. are "completely clear" then you need to spend a little more time researching them, especially before correcting others.

I said the rules are completely clear that drone operators are always required to ensure they don't interfere with manned flight operations.

Are you saying that's not true?
2017-3-21 17:49:58
Use props
mstevens
Hobbyist
Flight distance : 5015
United States
Offline

DroneFlying Posted at 2017-3-21 02:17
In the US, by definition if your drone collides with a manned aircraft it is your fault

That's incorrect: your willingness to give way to another aircraft doesn't guarantee that a collision won't occur any more than it does in the case of two cars. And as I stated before, if you're flying at or below 400' and obeying the FAA's other guidelines when it happens, there's a high probability that the other aircraft is flying somewhere that it shouldn't and that you wouldn't be the one in trouble.

I never said that "willingness" to give way would guarantee no collision would occur. I said that because drone operators are always required to avoid interfering with manned flights, any collision between a drone and a manned aircraft will by definition be the responsibility of the drone operator.

No "willingness" is involved here. It's a requirement. The FAA is clear: for recreational UAV pilots, they "Must ALWAYS yield right of way to manned aircraft". That's not a "guideline".

It doesn't matter whether the manned aircraft is operating properly or not. If its pilot isn't flying correctly, that's a separate matter. A drone operator is always required to monitor for other aircraft while flying and always required to avoid them even if they're being flown by idiots. The aircraft pilot may be in trouble, but I guarantee you will be in trouble as well.

Here's an example: your drone collides with a manned hot air balloon during flight. It doesn't matter whether the balloon was where it was supposed to be, whether it was properly equipped, or even whether its pilot was licensed or sober. If you hit it, it's your fault and responsibility. You may or may not be charged with a violation. You may or may not be held liable for damages. You won't have much of a defense, though, if you're charged or sued.

I'm starting to notice that one difference between in-aircraft pilots and UAV pilots is that the former group are acculturated to take full personal responsibility for their actions and to know and follow the rules at all times irrespective of whether they agree with them, while the latter group seems to include many who spend a lot of time and energy explaining why they don't have to follow rules.
2017-3-21 18:15:22
Use props
DroneFlying
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2533419
United States
Offline

mstevens Posted at 2017-3-21 18:15
I never said that "willingness" to give way would guarantee no collision would occur. I said that because drone operators are always required to avoid interfering with manned flights, any collision between a drone and a manned aircraft will by definition be the responsibility of the drone operator.

No "willingness" is involved here. It's a requirement. The FAA is clear: for recreational UAV pilots, they "Must ALWAYS yield right of way to manned aircraft".  That's not a "guideline".

I never said that "willingness" to give way would guarantee no collision would occur.

So you agree that a collision is unlikely (but not impossible) if a drone pilot gives away and follows the FAA's other rules and regulations? Good, because that's the main point I made in the original post with which you disagreed. Presumably what you disagreed with was the statement that an FAA-compliant drone operator probably wouldn't be at fault in a collision. Here's what you wrote:

"In the US, by definition if your drone collides with a manned aircraft it is your fault because you are at all times required to give way to manned aircraft."

Again, it's possible that a drone operator could be in full compliance with the FAA's regulations and recommendations and have another aircraft overtake and collide with the drone even if the drone operator gives way. In that scenario, the drone pilot would not be at fault; therefore it's not correct to say -- as you did -- that a collision is "by definition" the drone operator's fault.

It doesn't matter whether the manned aircraft is operating properly

If a collision occurred it most certainly would matter to the FAA that the drone operator followed the rules and the manned aircraft pilot didn't.
2017-3-22 02:16:27
Use props
fans90d4f438
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 15101
United States
Offline

Imagine a pilot of a private helicopter decided to dip down to 75 feet AGL over a known licensed AMA RC field during a sanctioned event and hits a RC jet flying at 76 feet agl.

You REALLY think the FAA is holding the RC pilot accountable?

Sometimes some of you say ANYTHING to try to win a debate. Lol
2017-3-24 17:37:26
Use props
You need to log in before you can reply Login | Register now

Credit Rules

Close

DJI RecommendsPrevious /1 Next