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EASA task force to study risk of collision between drones and aircraft
4 May 2016

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the creation of a task force to assess the risk of collision between drones and aircraft.

EASA will chair the task force which will include representatives of aircraft and engine manufacturers. The task force will consult the European member states and other relevant stakeholders as well as foreign authorities. At the end of July, it will publish its results and will organise a workshop with stakeholders to present and discuss its findings and recommendations

The task force will:

  • Review all relevant occurrences including the occurrences collected by the European Member States,
  • Analyse the existing studies on the subject of impact between drones and aircraft,
  • Study the vulnerabilities of aircraft (windshields, engines, and airframe) taking into account the different categories of aircraft (large aeroplanes, general aviation, and helicopters) and their associated design and operational requirements,
  • Consider the possibility to do further research and perform actual tests (for example on windshields).

A 2015 scientific impact analysis by Aero Kinetics Results showed that a drone strike to the windshield and engine ingestion of a commercial airliner would cause damage and economic losses, while a head-on rotorcraft drone strike would cause significant damage and be non-survivable.

Virginia Tech also studied drone strike effects, among others using a simulation of the effects of a drone being ingested in a turbofan engine: