Pilots are calling for tests to be carried out to see what would happen if a drone hit a passenger jet after a spate of near misses.
A whopping 23 near catastrophes prompted the worry, and airlines now want to know what would actually happen if one of those little drones got into the engine of an airliner – and they don’t think the outcome would be good.
Former RAF and British Airways pilot Steve Landells warned that a drone hitting a commercial plane could result in uncontrolled engine failure or a smashed cockpit windscreen, The Independent reports.
Mr Landells, a flight safety specialist, said there is a large amount of data on the effects of bird strikes on planes, but it’s not a representation of what would happen with a drone, because ‘birds don’t have a big lump of lithium battery in them’ – very true.
He told the Press Association it is ‘very likely’ that if the battery of a drone entered the core of a jet engine, it would cause unconfined engine failure. And, like the plane which got a drone stuck in its engine after taking off from Las Vegas last September, would most likely become engulfed in flames and smoke.
You end up with… bits of metal going anywhere they like. That could be through fuel tanks, through hydraulic lines and even into the cabin.
As a pilot, I don’t want to be sitting there when that’s going on.
And apparently, even with all these catastrophic scenarios, no tests with drones have been done before.
Those flying drones close to aircrafts, though, can go to jail for up to 5 years. So it’s probably best none of you drone-owners ever fly yours close to one – for your future and ours.