Drone Proliferation

Drones Breach Airspace and Create Incidents

Hobbyist and commercial drone operations are exploding as different models enter the market. The FAA reports drone sightings to the tune of over 100 per month.


Drone expansion brings conflict with traditional manned aircraft. Drone operators have caused mid-air collisions, near-miss incidents, and other accidents, raising serious safety concerns. At right is a video still of a drone-airplane wing collision by the University of Dayton Research Institute.


Risks to manned flight fall into three general categories: nefarious actors, inexperienced pilots, and off-nominal conditions. Nefarious actors wish to disrupt the air traffic system or crash a drone into a plane. Although most drone operators strive to act safely, their inexperience and existing off-nominal conditions are a continuous threat. New drone operators are unlikely to have the skill or knowledge to conform to regulations. Inevitable off-nominal conditions such as heavy winds or lost-link may cause drones to operate in unintended airspace. 


To combat this proliferation of unsafe drone operation, pilots need a robust, system-wide alerting system to increase situational awareness of nearby drone activity.

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Drone Crashes into Airplane in University of Dayton Test

Coverage of Drone - Aircraft Incidents

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Drone Collides with Commercial Airliner in Canada

Feds Investigate Drone Collision with Army Helicopter near NYC

Drone and Plane Nearly Collide in Las Vegas Airspace

Drone Collides with British Airways Jet at Heathrow

Embry-Riddle Reports on Drone Collision Risk

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University report on collision risk with drones is posted here. The report recommends the integration of Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability system usage data into aviation information sharing infrastructure to improve awareness of drone activity.