With the recent near-misses that have happened in the past few months regarding drones flying too close to aircrafts, one might say it is only a matter of time before something terrible happens. An incident this week that occurred in in Charleston, South Carolina has been sending headlines to news outlets worldwide and may even cause the impetus to stricter drone regulations.
A Robinson Helicopter Co. R22 helicopter made a crash landing when the student pilot and the instructor of the vehicle spotted a drone dangerously close by. The civilian drone was said to have appeared suddenly, and as an attempt to evade a direct collision with the UAV, the helicopter spun, where its tail ended up hitting a tree. This lead to the helicopter to dive from the air and into the inevitable crash landing reported. On the bright side of this seemingly grim news, both passengers were not injured, and were even open to talking with the authorities about the incident. The helicopter, on the other hand, sustained significant physical damage on its tail area because of the collision, leading to fears of more drone-related aircraft incidents occurring both in the United States and abroad. This incident in South Carolina may very well be the first confirmed drone-related crash report since the increasingly recurring drone near-misses in delegated areas for aircraft the past few months.
The incident sparked demands from both the aviation groups as well as the general public to create tighter regulations when flying civilian drones. More and more incidents happen where drones were caught flying dangerously close to an aircraft’s flight space, leading to fears of damage to the planes or crash landings. Civilian drones have always had restrictions when it comes to flight. They are only limited to within 400 feet off the ground, as well as being on view of its controller. It may come as no surprise but the drones are also not allowed near traditional aircraft. These regulations however still prove helpless against the countless incident reports involving drones and aircrafts. Drone owners are therefore reminded to remain vigilant when their drones are airborne and keep in their minds the safety of both themselves and the people around them.