You are here

Europe's air safety agency to study aircraft-drone collision risk

[BERLIN] Europe's air safety watchdog Wednesday said it would examine the risk of collision between drones and aircraft, as the use of such unmanned flying devices grows.

A task force of aircraft and engine manufacturers will look into the "vulnerabilities of aircraft" including their windshields, engines airframes, said the European Aviation Safety Agency in a statement.

The group will also "review all relevant occurrences" and analyse existing studies on impact between drones and aircraft.

Results of the taskforce will be published in July and a workshop held to discuss its findings.

The EASA last year said it was developing a set of regulations governing usage of drones, in a bid to limit the risk of collision with aeroplanes.

"A combination of measures are envisaged such as: operate in visual line of sight, fly under 150 metres (500 feet) height above ground, be equipped with identification and geo-limitation functions and be registered," it said.

Under the rules, usage of drones close to aerodromes would also require special authorisation.

As private use of drones grows, authorities are anxious to avoid any risk of accidents.

The biggest risk to a plane would be a direct hit on a jet engine because the batteries of drones contain highly flammable lithium.

Last month, a drone flying at more than 2,000 metres altitude came close to an Aer Lingus plane as it approached Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

The UK Airprox Board, an air safety agency, said last month there were 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft in the six months between April and October last year.

AFP