Drones Could Wreak Havoc With Passenger Planes’ Engines

By : Jennifer Browne |


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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.

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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.

He said:

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.

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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.


The Independent