The European Cockpit Association (ECA) calls for urgent action following the publication of the results of drone collisions tests with aircraft and helicopter carried out by independent researchers funded jointly by ECA member the British Airline Pilots’ Association, the UK Department for Transport and the UK Military Aviation Authority.
The results of the independent tests are a robust proof that drone impacts on aircraft windscreens and helicopter rotors can be catastrophic, even at relatively modest speeds with small drones.
Testing show that drones can cause more damage than a bird of equivalent mass at the same speed. Therefore it is particularly important that recreational drone users strictly follow the local rules and regulations on flying drones. No-fly zones such as the vicinity of airfields, heliports or accident sites where emergency medical helicopter services might operate and the altitude limitations for flying drones must be respected.
Johan Glantz, ECA Executive Board Director, said, “The results of the independent tests prove that there is a possibility of a catastrophic consequence from a drone colliding with an aircraft. That means this identified risk needs to be adequately mitigated with appropriate measures, such as the qualification and training for recreational drone users, additional technology installed in drones, and effective awareness campaign among the mass-market drone users.”
The results of the independent tests prove that there is a possibility of a catastrophic consequence from a drone colliding with an aircraft
ECA believes the national and European authorities must now review the findings of the report as a matter of urgency and act to control this proven threat.
ECA is calling for:
- Awareness campaigns promoting a responsible use of drones;
- Robust qualification standards and training for recreational drone pilots, and licensing for professional UAS pilots;
- Compulsory registration of drones and drone users, to improve traceability, and promote adherence to existing regulations;
- Mandatory geo-fencing around airports to reduce conflict with aircraft;
- Investment in technology to allow air traffic controllers to “see” drones, to possibly predict when a conflict with a manned aircraft is possible;
- Effective enforcement of rules concerning the use of drones by properly trained and funded officials;
The report can be found here.