Boeing 737 ‘Crashes into Drone’ During Landing
A Boeing 737 passenger jet was reportedly struck by a drone whilst landing at Tijuana airport, Mexico, resulting in significant damage to the aircraft’s nose.
Although the involvement of a drone remains unconfirmed, individuals on social media and operating airline Grupo Aeromexico SAB both say there was a “very strong blow” to the aircraft upon landing.
Upon collision, the pilots requested guidance from air traffic control to ensure safe landing despite the impact. The pilot told the co-pilot “we didn’t see anything, just a strong hit”, although experts suggest it was likely a drone.
Photographs of the damage show airport staff tending to a wide dent, with the aluminium torn open across the nose.
“The exact cause is still being investigated,” stated Aeromexico. “The aircraft landed normally and the passengers’ safety was never compromised.”
Near-miss incidents between drones and aircrafts have dramatically risen from 6 in 2014 to 93 in 2017. Drones have allegedly struck passenger planes in the past, including in London and Canada in 2016 and 2017. A UK drone pilot was also prosecuted for nearly colliding with a police search helicopter during operations.
A recent study by the University of Dayton Research Institute suggests that a consumer drone can cause catastrophic damage to aircraft, despite the size difference. The study found that when a drone collides with an aircraft, it does not disintegrate, but instead tears a huge hole – as seen in the above incident. DJI have called for the study to be withdrawn, arguing it is misleading to the public.
But drones haven’t just been in the news for disturbing aircraft – they are also causing huge problems with wildlife. Reckless users are flying crafts too close to nesting sea birds, causing them to panic and fall off cliffs. Seals have also been under pressure, as drones are flown too close to their breeding sites.