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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has created a task force to scientifically and methodically analyze the potential risks of collisions between manned and
unmanned aircraft.

The group, including representatives of aircraft and engine manufacturers, will review “all relevant” occurrences, including those reported by European member states, and analyze existing studies on the subject of “impact between drones and aircraft,” the EASA stated May 4.

“The task force will study the vulnerabilities of aircraft—windshields, engines and airframe—taking into account the different categories of aircraft—large aircraft, general aviation and helicopters—and their associated design and operational requirements,” the agency added.

This is a potentially big deal, and something that certainly needs doing… but. The but is that there is no data set to analyze. Because while the the number of close calls and sitings is increasing,  to date there have been no reported drone strikes. The most recent event at Heathrow was never confirmed, and it was later walked back to a plastic bag by the Transportation Minister.
Regardless of what actually happened, there was no damage to the aircraft which was immediately returned to service – so no data point there either.
According to Rotor & Wing, the FAA announced at XPONENTIAL that they too will be setting up a joint team with the industry this year to track and analyze the safety of commercial unmanned aircraft systems modeled on the agency/industry Commercial Aviation Safety Team.
Similar to EASA, the approach is built on collecting data on operations, accidents and incidents, then analyzing that data to prioritize the allocation of resources to mitigate those threats. I foresee similar challenges for them.
UPDATE looks as though the FAA panel is finally underway (10/16.) Hard to tell if this is the same project – this one is called Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) and talks about it being announced in August, the other panel was announced in May but the descriptions are very similar… Either way, a shortage of data remains

According to the FAA, the group, which was established in August at the White House’s Drone Day, includes a “wide variety of stakeholders from the drone and aviation industries, as well as the government.” Their goal is to “gather and analyze data to enhance safety and operations of drones in the nation’s airspace.

The agency describes the first meeting as “primarily organizational”; however, says the FAA, “team participants were enthusiastic about participating on the UAST and advancing the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace.”

UPDATE Here is a link to a new EASA report on UAS safety related issues with data going back to 1/2010.

read more at aviationweek.com

read more at unmanned-aerial.com

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