No pilot is immune from a crash, as proven by a police drone that struck a Cessna 172 in Ontario, Canada.
A Cessna 172 was landing at an airport in Ontario, Canada when it suffered a mid-air strike with a police drone. According to the airplane pilot, the drone struck the front of the aircraft and even struck the prop. Luckily, the airplane made a safe landing without injury to either the pilot or the passenger.
According to the Transport Canada report, the pilot stated, “When exiting the aircraft, they were shocked to see a major dent on the left underside of the engine cowling. The airbox was also bent.” Just a few hours later, “a police detective confirmed a York Regional Police drone had struck their aircraft.”
At first glance, the pilot thought the aircraft had hit a large bird. As the aircraft was jarred upon decent to the airport. There is no further information on why the police pilot was flying close to the airport, or if the pilot had authorization to fly in the airspace. The drone was destroyed on impact, and the plane suffered major damage. The pilot is grateful for a safe landing, and all pilots should be grateful that this accident didn’t cause death.
While drones have an impeccable safety record, drone pilots continue to push the envelope. Whether knowingly or unknowingly… many pilots take flight with blissful intentions. Drone pilots often overlook the real dangers of mixing unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft. This particular example showcases just how important it is to maintain spatial awareness. There have been many reports of public safety agencies acquiring drone equipment, but fail to invest in drone training. As the rate of incidents increase, it might give pause to drone program managers and public agencies. Training is vital and may end up saving a life.
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