Birds Pose More Threat to Airspace than Drones, Report Says

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 17, 2016
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FREMONT, CA: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had imposed a strict set of guidelines upon the operation of drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), including a mandatory registration for drones weighing more than 250 grams. The new regulations were imposed, fearing the risk posed by drones to commercial and civilian aircrafts. However, a study conducted by the researchers of the Mercatus Center at George Washington University reveals that FAA is actually exaggerating the threat posed by drones to aircrafts.

The chances of a drone hitting an aircraft are much less than that of a bird strike, the study is established on the basis of 25 years of flight data. According to the report, birds pose even more risk to aircrafts than drones as there are about 160,000 wildlife strikes recorded since 1990. Then again, only 14,314 strikes have resulted in damage, mainly due to the incidents involving large flocks of birds. Moreover, the 25 years of recorded data have only shown 12 fatalities caused by wildlife strikes.

This is a significantly low number considering, there are about 27,000 flights across the US, in a day. The report, therefore questions the FAA’s decision on mandatory registration while suggesting, drones weighing up to 2kg do not pose any sort of risk to airspace. Based on the data, the researchers, Eli Dourado and Samuel Hammond, estimated that drones may hit an airplane once in 1.87 million years.