A NEW REPORT from the Mercatus Center of Virginia-based George Mason University has determined that the risk of a collision between small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and manned aircraft in the National Airspace System is “minimal.”
The report – authored by Eli Dourado (who recently testified on drones at a Senate committee hearing) and Samuel Hammond – pulls numbers from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) wildlife strike database, which offers information on animal collisions with manned aircraft from 1990-2014.
Taking into account a reported 13,414 collisions – counting both birds and flying mammals – in 2014 and an estimated 10 billion birds in national airspace, the study estimates that “plausibly 1 bird in 1 million collides with an aircraft every year.”
“Even if we take UAS operators to be about as deliberate and skilled at avoiding aircraft as birds, we cannot similarly estimate that 1 UAS in 1 million UAS will collide with aircraft every year.”
This continues the bird strike logic which seems to be unpopular with aviators. But there is no arguing with the statistics – the number of incidents is amazingly low. No question that drone operators should be held to a higher standard, still as a lot of people keep pointing out, nothing has happened yet.
Do the math for yourself. Download the full report.