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UK Plans To Crash Drones Into (Empty) Passenger Jets Mid-Air For Safety Testing
JackInCT - 19-10-2016 at 15:51

UK Plans To Crash Drones Into (Empty) Passenger Jets Mid-Air For Safety Testing

Verbatim C & P

After a number of close calls in recent months, UK officials are committed to safety testing drones that share the air with passenger jets by crashing them into one another mid-flight.

Committing more than £250,000 ($304,962), the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority teamed with the Ministry of Defense to carry out the tests on 5,000 square miles of restricted airspace in Snowdonia, Wales. Dr. Peter Downer of the Ministry of Defense told Daily Mail:

"We are conducting mid-air collision studies for the CAA to look at impact of aircraft with unmanned vehicles.

There is a series of trials about the security risks and we need to continue this with a commercial study. There will be further studies of mid-air collisions of drone impact with fuselage and windows."

According to the National Air Traffic Service, there are now more than two million drones competing for airspace in Britain. Many more are set to come online in the coming years as everyone from Amazon to Dominos makes a bid to increase delivery capacity through use of drones.

Testing on empty flights is an attempt to learn more about the potential ramifications if one of Britain’s reported 23 near-misses over a six month period were to actually make contact. Still, it seems like a toddler mentality of ramming things together to see what happens — not that we have a problem with that.

Me here: I, for one, do hope that this article is either factually all wrong, or, by deliberate intent of its author, has left out key pieces of information that would mitigate the risks involved. For one thing, it doesn't mention what size drones will be used (I presume that size is a matter of how much each one weighs), as well as how fast the aircraft and the drone are going when they collide.

As a matter of personal discretion, I think that I will postpone my planned trip to Snowdonia, Wales, not that anyone should interpret that to mean that I have concluded that the personnel in the Department for Transport are a bunch of fools/lunatics/whatever. And for those on this board who are more cynical than I am, please do not conclude that the US govt put the Department for Transport up to this plan, unless they have solid proof of that--just saying!!

Nimuae - 19-10-2016 at 19:41

What a total waste of money !

marymary100 - 19-10-2016 at 22:28

Drones are a danger until proven otherwise.

JackInCT - 19-10-2016 at 22:30

Originally posted by Nimuae
What a total waste of money !

if you think these tests are a complete waste of taxpayer's money, consider this. The captain of the Titanic probably went to bed thinking 'what could go wrong'.

So I looked up this place in Wales via Google, and it has a very large national park; it is NOT completely uninhabited.

The media article didn't specify just where/what area these tests would be conducted in (although there's a system where restricted flying areas are posted that airman are supposed to be up to date on at all times; so that restricted area is (or will be) posted somewhere on some UK govt aircraft 'stuff' website, and the geographic area is mapped [overlay style] on it), and of course anyone can access that information.

If one of these passenger planes happens to crash during a test, and injures/kills someone on the ground, I leave it to your imagination what the liability award would turn out to be in a court of law.

LSemmens - 20-10-2016 at 02:03

These sort of tests are performed quite regularly. Not necessarily intentionally crashing a 'plane, but, if it were to happen they do have mitigating factors. A test of this would most likely be occurring over an area set aside for just such purposes, like a bombing range, so that should anything untoward happen, the risk of life and limb is minimised. I don't see the impact of many of these drones to be much worse than bird strike, however, given that drones are not made of flesh and blood, it could cause more damage and that, I'd suggest, is what they are testing. Just for a bit of info This is what happens if a jet engine ingests a flying budgie! Of course we've all probably heard the old one about frozen chickens and jet engines. I'm happy that they are testing to see what sort of damage such beasties could do to an aeroplane flying at several hundred mph. Almost the same as being hit by a bullet.

JackInCT - 20-10-2016 at 12:48

We interrupt this program to bring you this special announcement from the Ministry Of Transport....Oops