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What happens when a drone gets ingested by an aircraft engine, FAA ready to conduct live test

The inclusion of large numbers of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) may pose unique hazards to other aircraft sharing the airspace. ( More...

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Greg Mermel 5
Sounds like a new episode of Mythbusters.
Foreign Object Damage, no matter what. Now, dependent on the size and materials of the drone and the construction of the engine blades will determine how much damage/destruction occurs.
I would venture to say a commercial drone versus a newer engine with composite blades will be dramatically catastrophic.
Jasper Buck 4
You folks might enjoy this video of GE testing one of its engine models. Manufactures also test windshields in a similar fashion. And pitot tubes. And AOA vanes. And on and on.

James Willich 1
I remember a story from many moons ago where a manufacturer was testing windshields and every single one failed in a magnificent manner. Every turkey fired out of the cannon went straight through the windshield without hesitation. The manufacturer was getting concerned that the windshield glass was going to have to be prohibitively thick and therefore heavy. We're talking approaching 6" thick of treated glass and laminate. Eventually, they reached out to another manufacturer for guidance and after letting them spend a pile more money on testing the competitor asked a simple question:

"Did you thaw the turkeys first?"
ToddBaldwin3 2
That story has been around for years, although this is the first time I’ve seen it with turkeys. Usually it’s associated with frozen chickens fired at windshields for British trains, sometimes its Australian engineers testing train windshields. Having observed a few chicken cannon tests, we never used frozen birds to start with. The birds are purchased live and euthanized just prior to testing.
ToddBaldwin3 2
That will be some expensive testing.
Jim Ward 2
Not being an aviation expert I’ll take a stab at this one
and say the engine won’t work any more.?
Ric Ben 3
Commercial drones can cause serious damage to an engine. Some Hobbyist Drones can carry anywhere from 2-4 pounds as a payload and are not as dangerous as the “Heavy Lift” category drones. There you are looking at something over 10 lbs. Some Heavy Lift drones carry above 40 pounds, and the Norwegian company Griff Aviation has recently introduced a drone that can carry over 400 pounds.
djames225 0
Oh but hobbyists drones could be just as dangerous. Remember these drones all use LiPo batteries, and shredding a LiPo battery can do some serious holy """" things.
sparkie624 2
True Hobbyist are not going to fly in the vicinity of planes or an airport. They will either fly at home, never higher than tree top level, or at Sanctioned RC Air Fields. Those who fly near planes are not true hobbyist and are down right stupid.... I have been flying RC Planes and Quads since 2008. I never fly over 400 feet, and our Fields is 5.2 NM from the local airport and is not inline with any approach path. The RC Hobby operates under AMA Guidelines.

To answer your statement, anyone who is a True Hobbyist following published guidelines would never ever for any reason be anywhere close to a real A/C. The only exception is sanctioned events at airshows where the RC Hobbyist have been invited to perform.... Either we are flying or they are flying in that situation and never any variance from that. - the True Hobbyist get a bad name when someone gets in trouble with a drone and we are all bad in the public's eye. Equivalent of saying ALL Drivers are bad because one drives Drunk or all guns are bad because someone got shot with one. The True hobbyist gets a bad name, mostly because of media misreporting the events.
djames225 3 are preaching to the choir, but it is not just "true hobbyists" I am referring to.
I am a true hobbyist as well as COM, and up until 4 yrs ago, Part 107 rated. Many hobbyists do not fly just at home and do push that 400' envelope, however, as you mentioned, a good true hobbyists knows the proper guidelines but gets branded bad by idiots. It is those same idiots that could wreck havick on an aircraft using just a hobbyists drone, such as a P4A or Yuneec H+. Hell even some whoop drones carry a nasty size battery.

As Ric pointed out,Hobbyists, or better worded ProSumer, drones can cause damage.
lynx318 0
Hobbyists aren't he issue, it's whackos on a vendetta or protesters doing stupid things that, for some bizarre reason, don't take in that innocent lives are at stake. There is also a possibility of Amazon, or such, commercial drones may go off course or whatever due to a software fail taking them in path of a jetliner. Surprised this hasn't come up for testing sooner.
djames225 1
If you noticed we said "true hobbyists"..and it is with the drones many hobbyist use such as the Phantom. It isn't just wackos either. You be surprised how many non-true hobbyists like pushing the envelope and just plain being stupid. Those are the idiots who make the good flyers look bad.
The Amazon, UPS etc delivery drones have a redundancy system. They go off course, they land. Prosumer drones go off course...they sometimes land/RTH..other times do whatever the H they want.
sparkie624 1
Exactly... It is the Non-RC Hobbyist flying drones that is at the heart of all the regulations... You rarely hear of a Real Hobbyist involved in any situation.
sparkie624 0
Only time I go near 400 feet is flying my large twin foamy... To be honest, I rarely go over 200 and mostly stay in pattern...
WhiteKnight77 1
I wonder which will, or would, cause more damage, a frozen chicken, or a drone? It will be interesting to see test footage.
Jasper Buck 2
Actualy the birds (chicken, duck, goose, etc.) need not b frozen. In fact they need not be an actual bird. It can be a man made object similar in size and composition to a real bird. The FAA's guidance on Bird Ingestion Certification Standards can be found here:

The regulatory requirements are in Title 14 CFR 33.76 (Design and Construction; Turbine Aircraft Engines; Bird Ingestion.) Ice testing is in the same rule.

Best Regards

Capt. J Buck
FAA (ret.)
Torsten Hoff 1
The chickens used in testing are not frozen. They should be easier to digest than some of the components in drones, like the motors. Everything else in a drone is of pretty lightweight construction for obvious reasons. The batteries (typically lithium ion) make up a substantial amount of the mass, but the material is actually quite soft.
John Yarno 1
Bet it is no different than chickens.......
D Rotten 1
LOL....Seriously? Do we REALLY need 'tests' to KNOW the outcome?? Sounds like a ruse to spend (STEAL) Tax Payer $$$$$$!If a drone goes in to an aircraft WILL go DOWN. Do we really NEED to know how much 'damage' it does to an engine??? It's like needing to know the color of every passengers underwear when the plane crashes. Do we NEED to KNOW that? Will it change the OUTCOME? NO!
Brent Lee 1
Once more pissing away our tax dollars...
sparkie624 0
I am not sure I buy the test as performed.... There is more to consider.... Power Settings, Size of the Drone (as they are incorrectly called, they are actually called "QuadCopters" until some idiot started marketing them to the general public. They are not new, been around for a long time. I have had one since 2010 and now have 4 ranging from 4" across to 2 feet across. Back to the topic... the more power the Jet Engine is producing is going to be proportional to the damage caused. With today's modern fan engines, FOD is designed to be directed outboard and not through the core. In this case, very little to no damage at lower power settings (like on approach), However on Takeoff the damage could be quite severe to the Fan Blades. Keep in mind that 90% of the air bypasses on the modern jet engine. On approach if someone saw a Drone, I would question it.... The plane is going 150 mph approx and the drone is almost standing still, and if the Drone hits the engine, it will come from below. Kind of like watching a nat pass your car going down the interstate... You do not see it, but you see the results of it when he hits your windshield.
WhiteKnight77 1
With the testing being designated as comprehenive, it looks like the intention is to test at different power settings, or at least should be. Without knowing the actual plan for testing, we do not know how they intend to do such.

It would also be smart to test with different sizes of UAS vehicles.
djames225 1
Sparkie...too many just look at the materials that could damage. Few are looking at some of the chemical components that could be worse.
As I mentioned to Ric above, shredding LiPo batteries, themselves, can inflict some serious damage, and some of these drones carry 6S batteries of a fairly decent size. These tests will be interesting to see
Torsten Hoff 1
“Drone” is the generic term, “quadcopter” is a specific type. I own two drones, one is a quadcopter and one is a hexacopter.
djames225 1
And don't forget octocopters and even RC helicopters..
skylab72 0
Not to mention fixed-wing drones...


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