[AlaskaRC] Do Consumer Drones Endanger the National Airspace? Evidence from Wildlife Strike Data
Dirk & Alison
atdg588 at acsalaska.net
Thu Mar 17 16:55:05 AKDT 2016
Excerpts from the linked article below:
In December 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new interim final rule that for the first time imposed regulation on the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as model aircraft. In the name of a safe national airspace, the new regulations require operators of drones weighing more than 250g (0.55 pounds) to register with the agency.
Yet many drones weighing more than 250g are little more than toys. Do they really pose a risk to the airspace? To explore this question, we examine 25 years of data from the FAA’s wildlife strike database. Although aircraft collide with birds many thousands of times per year, only a tiny fraction of those collisions result in damage to the aircraft, much less human injuries or deaths. The most serious reported incidents typically involved flocks of large birds. Since the addition of UAS to the airspace is similar in many respects to an increase in the bird population, we conclude that the risk to the airspace caused by small drones (for example, weighing up to 2kg, or 4.41 pounds) flying in solitary formation is minimal.
Since the probability of any collision with any UAS is around 3.06x10−5 per 100,000 flight hours, countries that have even higher cutoffs for regulation than 2kg can be said to be acting responsibly. For example, the United Kingdom and Denmark have a 7kg threshold above which recreational UAS operators must inform their nearest air traffic controller or fly in an approved flying site. For registration, France recently moved to a 2kg threshold, while Canada still has a generous 35kg threshold.
Although UAS at the above thresholds are more likely to cause damage and injury than the 250g cutoff adopted by the FAA, we still estimate that the probability of a collision remains at an acceptable level.
What makes Hammond and Dourado’s research seem even more credible is that they aren’t the only ones who’ve dug through data and come up with similar conclusions. In a 2015 study conducted by the <https://www.modelaircraft.org/gov/docs/AMAAnalysis-Closer-Look-at-FAA-Drone-Data_091415.pdf> Academy of Model Aeronautics, research showed the accuracy of reported near-miss incidents between an airplane and small drone appears to be wildly off. The most strikingly errant statistic concerned just how much of a “close call” each of the 764 near-misses actually were. According to the AMA, just 27 (or 3.5 percent) could feasibly be designated as near misses or near collisions.
link to article that summarizes the above study but with many more pesky adverts.
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