Last December, a news helicopter may have been hit by a drone. NTSB reached this conclusion based on professional analysis and crew report. The air collision forced the helicopter to make a preventive landing in Los Angeles. Now, this is the sixth highly probable or confirmed drone attack in US airspace.

NTSB said the news helicopter could be hit by a drone

Six suspected or confirmed air collisions or drone attacks did not cause injuries or heavy losses to manned aircraft.

The NTSB released a report on June 29 detailing the investigation into the drone attack reported by the crew of a news helicopter. The air collision occurred on December 4, 2019.

The report points out that when the drone launched the attack, the helicopter flew at 1100 AGL in class G airspace at night. According to NTSB, if the operator obtains a valid exemption from far part 107.29, the flight may be a legal UAV. Helicopters fly near high-rise buildings in downtown Los Angeles, which may mean that if the UAV flies within 400 feet of the building, it is still a legal 1100 AGL UAV flight. The FAA allows unmanned aircraft to fly 400 feet above the building as long as the UAV remains within 400 feet of the side of the building.

Los Angeles police were unable to find any evidence of drones involved in the incident. The damage suffered by the news helicopter is similar to the result of simulating UAV attack on the aircraft. Since no biological substances were found on the helicopter, the risk of bird strike was ruled out.

An American helicopter and a drone collided over Johnson Valley, California

According to AOPA, NTSB has received many reports of collisions between manned aircraft and UAVs, but in most cases, the actual UAV intervention has been excluded. Notable exceptions are:

·Air collision between U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter and DJI phantom 4 UAV near Staten Island, New York. In this case, the UAV operator will the UAV far beyond the line of sight.

·The UAV piloted by an inexperienced leisure UAV pilot collided with a hot-air balloon over derrigues, Idaho in 2018.

·A helicopter and a drone collided over Johnson Valley, California. Both planes participated in the shooting of cross-country race. The windshield of the helicopter was damaged, but no one was injured or injured. AOPA reported that “this incident appears to be the first known collision between a manned aircraft and a UAV piloted by a certified remote pilot operating in accordance with part 107.”

·A suspected drone attack occurred in Hawaii in February 2018, at MSL (median sea level). According to NTSB, there may be drones involved, although there is no conclusive evidence.

·A Cessna 170 pilot reported hitting an object at 2000 feet, a suspected drone attack in Aurora, Oregon. According to NTSB, there may be drones involved, although there is no conclusive evidence.

Although the number of drones flying in the United States has soared in recent years, the number of drone attacks is still very small. However, UAV accidents (such as the incident with the US Navy Blue Angel earlier this year) have raised concerns among aviation safety advocates about illegal UAV flights, especially in controlled airspace or altitude restrictions exceeding 400 feet.

        Editor in charge: PJ

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