Risk in the Sky?

Share this video on

What's Hot

What's New

Top Grossing

Top of the Chart


Stephen Mann : This video proves absolutely nothing. You can throw, at 200 MPH, anything weighing 2 pounds at a sheet of 2024-O .04" aluminum, typical of aircraft wings, and get this damage. I've seen worse hail damage. Plus, you can't see the wing spar in this video, so why is there a conclusion of spar damage? This "test" was a waste of time and material as it is atypical of possible real world events. It appears that this demonstration was designed to heighten anti-drone paranoia. Typically, no aircraft below 400 ft., where most drones operate, will be flying that fast. On final approach most airliners are flying between 130 to 160 knots, and by the time a landing aircraft is below 500 ft. the flaps and slats are deployed and the A/C is probably going 120 knots. General aviation aircraft, like the Mooney in this video, are typically flying between 70-110 knots on final approach. Even slower on takeoff. If the purpose of this video is to somehow "prove" that a drone is going to take down an airliner, know that the Mooney wing uses a thinner aluminum (0.038") than an airliner (0.04 to 0.05"). This made the Mooney lighter and faster, which was a marketing design. I've had more than a few bird strikes during landing (none during takeoff that I was aware of). Some were Canadian geese that weigh 10-15 pounds. There was never any damage to the aircraft beyond cleaning up the bird guts from the wing. Ingesting a small bird is a non-event, and the pilot probably wouldn't know there was a bird strike. Larger birds can damage the engine, but no single bird ingestion has ever brought down a multi-engine airliner. And no personal drone has ever caused a civil aviation crash.

Drone Watcher : What is really worrying is the damage that wing caused to the drone!

Bert Osterberg : The test was done at twice the velocity that even bird strikes were performed. The plane wouldn’t achieve that speed unless it was in a nosedive and headed to a fatal crash. All other crash tests were at half the speed performed by everyone else, even the government. Dayton could be held liable for singling out DJI with falsified data designed to damage their business

Eric Jaakkola : Who's going to be flying 250 mph at less than 400 feet?

Otter Tail Channel : Pretty cool how they propelled that drone with no propellers.

Gregg Kemp : Why isn't Hillary Clinton in prison?

Jeff Session : This is why pilots need to maintain proper altitudes

David Newmon : Surprised to see so many people defending the drone. Duck bones squash and squirt. The drone is more dense. Also, the battery could very likely start a fire in the fuel tanks inside the wing. Lithium battery fires are all but impossible to distinguish.

RCnerd74 : The solution is simple. Don't fly your drone where full scale planes are flying...

Michael Davidson : We all understand your point, you fly near airports or at dangerous altitudes, you should get prosecuted! But drones are just as dangerous as SWANS, GOOSE & EAGLES. Google in images "a damaging bird strike" and see what the bird can do to an airplane. The point is, drones are getting smaller and lighter. DJI along with FAA are already implementing a system that would track and trace drones down to their serial numbers if you are flying near airports. There is already a great number of restrictions on flying drones. So instead of spreading fear, maybe try naming your article something like "Impact of a drone against a tiny plane's wing"

ABMNS PRODUCTION : Damn, so imagine what a bird can do since they are far away more heavy than most average consumer multirotors. What was the speed of quadcopter by the way, it looks pretty damn fast, i imagine it was supposed to replicate the real speed of a full size aircraft. What kind of aircraft that wing belongs to? What material? Please you are an university, educate your audiance, give us more scientific informations...

Kalle Braun : Das geht nur mit einem Plastikflieger, würde man zentimeterdicken Stahl, wie bei den Stahlträger in den Zwillingstürmen, verwenden so würde der zentimeterdicke Stahl von dem Flugzeugflügel einfach durchschnitten werden.

Werner - bugre_FPV : Dear @University of Dayton Why is the bird impact test not on the same video so we also could compare and see it? Please share it and also add it to your press release. Why was the drone so perfectly aligned, that the front arms penetrated as nails into the wing of the Mooney20? In real "live" what is the chance that a drone is flying totally leveled and aligned to the wing's inclination ? Why had the drone no props on? Maybe to avoid that it would change the drone's trajectory/deflecting it ? How did you simulate the air pressure that travels in front of an aircraft that also would impact the drone's collision trajectory?

Florian Crazzi : WTF , Such a Piss Weak plane did cut Steel columns at world trade center and punch Holes in all tree rings of the Pentagram . . . . WOW

SmartestManSays : Now consider an aluminum wing sliced through steel and concrete on 911! Har har har har har har har har har. But we all saw in on the toob!!! Har har har.

Michael Campbell : People have good points here, but the video has a larger point which is detailed in the article that is linked in the description of the video. Just sayin'

doigal12345 : Remind me again what the birdstrike requirement is for CS-23 airframe?

Underwhere5 : A drone did that to the wing? I thought they were sturdy enough to go thru buildings???

ray lang : A bird strike does the same kind of damage.

Ian P : I don't have a problem with the video and what it portrays. If people are dumb enough to fly drones near aeroplanes or at a height that aeroplanes/helicopters can collide with them then they deserve everything they get. What I do have a problem with is how this always seems to be portrayed as 'every drone pilot'. Licensing drones/pilots will not alleviate the problem, as if they are going to fly illegally high in the first instance, they are highly unlikely to have a license/permission to fly. Why is this seen as the magic wand? What we do need is for there to be a way of tracing ownership on drones sold so that if there is a problem, the finger points clearly in the direction of the perpetrators and action can be taken. There are far more responsible drone pilots out there than there are other less responsible pilots. Please don't tar everyone with the same brush.

Sabre22 : Unless it causes a fuel leak and subsequent fire. A drone strike on a appears to be survivable. However what about an engine swallowing a drone with gas powered engines. Or a strike on the cockpit glass with a small explosive charge .

Kamon23 : Consumer drones generally do not fly that high. I mean birds would cause the same sometimes worse damage.

pimpciak : Put a bumper on that sucker ;p

blancolirio : Thanks for posting! Good research. Now it would be interesting to put all the aerodynamic forces on the wing and see how it holds up. Or maybe do a sandbag load test on this damaged wing...

William Silva : What were the test conditions? Drone weight? Speed of impact? What is the strength of the wing material? Thanks!

Victoria Air Photos and Survey : Thanks Dayton University for this study. It highlight the forces of kinetic energy at high speeds verse aircraft aluminum alloy. Drone safety and regulation is very important. I think one should be certified before they can even buy them. What the video does not show, is the more likely than not post crash fire and explosion that would ensue with the charged LIPO battery located inside the drone. Obviously, fuel is stored in the wings. Here is an example of a LIPO fire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RS3oX__odI&list=PLR0qA7ug8sgRn8asI15p7Pf_Z1wpN5gvb&index=26&t=0s

GHSTRDR FPV : Not much actual 'Risk in the Sky' if you fact check. To start with, the test scenario is extremely unlikely to the point of being contrived. The odds are extremely small for a drone to be high enough to meet a plane flying at that speed or for a plane to be going that speed where drones are likely to be flying. Despite that, it's interesting to note that the video shows no evidence of catastrophic damage to the plane's wing, meaning that the wing in this video is not shown to be at a clear risk of failure. For context it's probably worth mentioning that there has been a grand total of three drone/aircraft collisions worldwide thus far and that in all instances the aircraft were flyable after each incident. Not to mention that there have been zero documented fatalities or life threatening injuries caused by civilian operated drones ever, under any circumstances. In terms of 'Risk in the Sky' aircraft are a much bigger danger to other aircraft than UAVs are. Based on documented evidence on collisions between aircraft and aircraft/UAV collisions, and even if we throw out all evidence older than two or so years old to 'level the playing field' it's abundantly clear that collisions between aircraft are both more likely to occur and more likely to pose a risk of fatality or life threatening injury than collisions between aircraft and UAVs. That's before getting into all of the other causes of air crashes, which are manifold. Just some simple facts, which anyone is free to check (or dispute) themselves on Wikipedia.

Craig Issod : This is a worst case "suggestion" which will hopefully boost some more real-world testing. Hopefully the financing is in place. If it wasn't for 100's of people bragging on YT and elsewhere that they fly vastly higher than 4-500 feet, we wouldn't have as much to worry about. But they do. So we do. Also, what happens if a heavier drone is sucked into a private jet engine at even 150 knts on landing? I hardly think we need to test that scenario since destruction of the engine seems almost a sure thing. The remaining question would be how the particular plane and engine react (is there a fire, explosion, etc.). Remember, the odds the great recession happening were incredibly tiny. The odds of the election of GW (3,000 jews in Palm Beach County voting for a Holocaust denier) were something like 2 in five billion. "Against all odds" is something that happens quite often, which is why testing is usually to the worst possible case - or even worse than that. That is how you know the limits.

Veluwe-Zoomrr : Off-world theoretical tests by scientists in their tower, to exacerbate damage which will never happen. What happens here is drone bashing at its finest, which will most likely never ever happen. A plane much likelier gets a bird strike or hail. A) Most small private aircraft fly between 60 to 120 mph, maybe 150 mph. B) If you do have a faster plane, you dont fly fast at the low altitudes where drones usually fly and are allowed to fly. That is: Drones at 100m (328ft). Airplanes between GND and airfield departure/approach patterns 300-600m (1000-2000ft). The Money will reach the tested speed at 1600m, so highly unlikely C) The Money M20 is a rather uncommon type, why not a Cesna 172? because the speed is too slow? D) To make it an unambiguous test, you should make a comparison, also use a bird carcass or an ice block with the same weight and make it a split-screen video. Why not test a likely practical "possible" scenario?

Kyle : Aircraft move forward a drone isn't going to catch up with the back of a wingtip then crash into it. It's not even needed to do any kind of test because the damage they do is equivalent of a bird strike and there is more birds in the sky then drones. Let's be honest this isn't research the government wants to do more tests so they can ban drones completely from flying because they know they can be used as weapons

Andrew McLellan : Drone pilots should not be flying in restricted areas but the University of Dayton video is actually really embarrassing for the University. They should be committed to good science and not fear mongering for publicity. They should be reviewing realistic speeds and determining risks and probabilities of mid air collisions from multiple causes for a realistic comparison. I would categorize this video as anti-science.

William Dye : Yes, the speed is much higher than what one would expect in a typical real-world drone strike, but that does not make the test a publicity scam. Structural engineers often test materials at extremes as well as typical cases. Same for software testing (my own field). Sooner or later even the edge cases will occur in the real world, so it makes sense to run a controlled test to find out what to expect.

Wilhelm Taylor : Like we really need just one more thing to endanger commercial air travel. After many years the airlines have learned to overcome many of the dangers inherent in air travel but how do you deal with this one? I can see ISIS getting ideas.

Edymnion : Except that you threw a drone at the wing of a small aircraft at speeds which it would never realistically occur. If we want to mock up imaginary scenarios that won't actually happen, I'm sure we could get the Mythbusters to shoot a chicken through a tank if we gave them enough budget.

rontz : Speaking about a bird: where's the part with the bird? And how is the wing of a little 4-seated plane comparing to a commercial transport aircraft's leading edge structure? Doesn't seem like a video made for research-pusposes, but made for making afraid of drones.

CineTechGeek : This is irrelevant. A large bird would do exactly the same thing. This is over hyped info to justify unrealistic restrictions.. Large birds are far more common the drones and also have incidents like this. It is extremely unlikely to bring a plane down.

DYORD : Not accurate.. drone would just slide following the airflow on the wings. My point is, make a video of a drone crashing on to the running turbine/engine.

William Alexander : Reminds me of the testing after the Columbia accident where they fired foam at Space Shuttle Leading edge heat shield tiles. At high impact speeds it doesn't require a lot of weight to cause a lot of damage.

jason Michaud : Why would a m20 be flying at 200mph under the 400' ceiling that UAF's typically operate at?

Stuart Kinzler : It's only a matter of time before terrorists equip drones with explosive devices and aim them at commercial airliners as a way to bring them down with catastrophic results. Drones are too cheap and readily accessible. It's just too easy. It wouldn't take much effort. It would be a whole lot easier than a 9-1-1 type attack, and it wouldn't necessarily result in the death of the individual(s) perpetrating the attack. It could be a coördinated attack by many individuals for added effect. Sure, it’s illegal, but that little detail didn’t stop the 9-1-1 hijackers. This whole drone craze has made me totally stop flying. I see it as inevitable. It’s not a matter of IF.... it’s only a matter of WHEN. The good guys are using them to kill terrorists, and there’s no reason the terrorists won’t use them to hit back. What’s being done to stop them?

Trent Cox : This is a bunch of bs. Test was conducted inconsistent to testing standards and should be removed or footnoted. Can’t believe a university allowed this to be posted.

Christian Balme : On dirait que le drone n'a pas ses hélices ?

shane holman : If you check out their channel...they barely get on each video 4 to 6 likes/dislikes. This video was likely made to pull more viewers to their channel. This video likes/dislikes was probably the pinnacle of success for them. Go and see...many videos have no likes or dislikes.

Jonathan Calderon : this "experiment" proves nothing, you never stated how fast you threw the drone into the craft. Read the many other comments below that debunk this trash. "And no personal drone has ever caused a civil aviation crash." Took it from Stephan Mann below

TheShaDowZ1 : before we look at all this b.s they are spreading does anyone else see all the dents and discoloring in that wing it looks like they just folded a sheet of metal back over the spot they already tested

Yetcha : Planes are flying too low 😂😂😂

solaris8x86 : DJI copters are very danger.

_shifty : weak test. you also claim a bunch of "other research" that you never show.

Allyn Onderdonk : That strike was at a much higher speed than that aircraft would typically be able to achieve at drone altitudes. Not only that cruise altitudes are typically far beyond drone capabilities which is where higher speeds are involved. Also at 200 mph and above the laminar flow would take most of if not all of the drone under the wing faster than you could say lickedy split. The air flow would protect the wing somewhat by deflecting objects. Yes this does seem to be propaganda aimed at paranoia. Most of these drone strikes have resulted in the drone exploding and some scratched paint only. In fact most of the planes couldn't even find the damage. I am a pilot as well, and this experiment was bunk. No airflow around the wing. The Mooney M20 typically maxes out at 200 mph (full power cruise)and is the maximum capability of the wing plus a likely extra speed that the drone can't reach in a horizontal attitude. These speeds wouldn't happen on climb out and landing typically, as they are outside the performance envelope. Worst case scenario test, without real world variables NOT in wind tunnel test. BUNK!

Ordaichte Poileas : I like how all the news, government agencies and techies like kimkomando push everyone to this video as if it has happened. I have been flying for 40+ years and haven't even hit a bird.