The terrifying damage drones can do to passenger planes has been revealed in shocking footage of tests carried out earlier this year.

Thousands of passengers are currently stranded after two drones were spotted near the runway at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.

Authorities took the decision to close the airport, diverting planes already in the air and cancelling many others yet to take off.

This remarkable footage, from the University of Dayton Research Institute’s Impact Physics Lab in Ohio, US, shows how even small drones can pose a risk to manned aircraft.

It may explain why bosses at Gatwick chose to close the runways and not risk the lives of pilots, crews, passengers or those on the ground.

The research was a comparative study between a bird strike and a drone strike on an aircraft wing, using a drone similar in weight to many hobby drones.

A wing was selected to represent a leading edge structure of a commercial transport aircraft.

The drone and gel bird were the same weight and were launched at rates designed to reflect the relative combined speed of a fully intact drone traveling toward a commercial transport aircraft moving at a high approach speed.

Kevin Poormon, group leader for impact physics at UDRI, said: “We’ve performed bird-strike testing for 40 years, and we’ve seen the kind of damage birds can do.

"Drones are similar in weight to some birds, and so we’ve watched with growing concern as reports of near collisions have increased."

And, as the footage shows, the impact was significant. The drone is almost swallowed by the wing, leaving a huge gaping hole in the structure.

Experts say drones could have "catastrophic consequences" if they hit aircraft.

Dr Rob Hunter, head of flight safety at the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), said: "The public needs to understand that drones are not just toys and could have catastrophic consequences if they collide with an aircraft.

"We know a lot of drones will be under people’s Christmas trees and we implore them to ensure they’re aware of the rules and fly their drones in a safe and sensible manner.

"These drone sightings at Gatwick are further evidence that tougher laws and enforcement are required to keep drones clear of manned flights.

"BALPA is also calling for the Government to consider toughening the law to create a larger no-fly zone around airports.

"We need to ensure people flying drones take responsibility for their actions and do so responsibly with the knowledge that if they endanger an aircraft they could face jail."

Dr Hunter added: "Even two kilograms of metal and plastic, including the battery, hitting an aircraft windscreen or engine or a helicopter tail rotor, could be catastrophic.

"People who buy these devices need to make sure that they know the rules and stick to them, so they don’t put anyone’s life in danger.

"Pilots don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun but if you are going to use drones the message is clear: Know the laws or expect serious consequences.

"Before taking to the air have a really good think about where you are, keep your drone in sight, consider what aircraft might be flying about and keep clear – it is your responsibility."

According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), there were already 117 near misses between manned aircraft and drones up until November this year, compared to 93 for the whole of 2017.

This is not the first time an incident involving drones has been reported at London Gatwick.

In October, it was reported that a drone "put 130 lives at risk" after nearly hitting an aircraft approaching the airport over the summer.

Read More


  • Fire-spitting dragon drones
  • Drones pour tear gas in war zone
  • 1,300 dancing drones light sky
  • Schoolboys’ lives saved by drone

Source: Read Full Article