The European Aviation Safety Agency announces today the creation of a task force that will measure the risk of collision between drones and aircraft.
The duties of the task force will be as follows:
• To review all relevant occurrences including the occurrences collected by the European Member States,
• To analyse the existing studies on the subject of impact between drones and aircraft,
• To study the vulnerabilities of aircraft (windshields, engines, and airframe) taking into account the different categories of aircraft (large aeroplanes, general aviation, and helicopters) and their associated design and operational requirements,
• To consider the possibility to do further research and perform actual tests (for example on windshields).
The EASA chair the task force which will be made up of representatives of aircraft and engine manufacturers. The task force will consult the European member states and other relevant stakeholders as well as foreign authorities. At the end of July, it will publish its results and will organise a workshop with stakeholders to present and discuss its findings and recommendations.
The regulatory framework for the safe operations of drones in Europe currently being developed by EASA already addresses the issue of collision between drones and aeroplanes. A combination of measures has been envisaged such as:
• Operate in visual line of sight,
• Fly under 150 m height above ground,
• Be equipped with identification and geo-limitation functions and be registered.
Any operation of drones close to aerodromes would require a specific authorization from the national aviation authority based on a risk assessment.