By Helton Simões Gomes | UOL, Sao Paulo
A Boeing 737 carrying passengers collided with something in the air as it landed at Tijuana Airport in Mexico, which left the plane’s nose visibly damaged. So far, it could be another accident caused by birds near the runway.
But the suspicion, which has now been investigated, is that the shock was caused by a drone.
Aeromexico, owner of the aircraft, confirmed the collision during the flight on Monday (11), but still finds out what may have caused the accident.
“The exact cause is still under investigation. The aircraft landed normally and passenger safety was not compromised at any time.”
The landing wasn’t that easy. During the landing process, the crew and passengers felt that the plane’s fuselage had been hit by a severe shock. After that, the pilot asked for air traffic control help and was able to safely handle the 737 so that no one got hurt.
With the plane already on the ground, it was possible to see the damage. There was a hole in the nozzle. Mexican media outlets point out that the collision was caused by a drone. One of them, the “FsMex” website, which specializes in aviation coverage, points out unmanned and remotely controlled aircraft responsible for the crash:
“Our source indicates that this is a drone impact during the final approach”
According to the website “PetaPixel”, authorities regulating the Mexican airspace began to investigate the incident.
The presence of drones has increased in the skies. And that has increased the number of aircraft incidents, although taking off drones near airports is banned in most countries that have regulated the matter, such as Brazil.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a study in 2017 that showed how the impact of a drone on an airplane would be far more drastic than that of birds of similar size. The presence of metal parts in the remotely controlled aircraft could have catastrophic effects.
The FAA came to these conclusions from analyzes made using computer models. But researchers at Dayton University decided to test in practice what effects a drone crash would have on an aircraft’s fuselage. With the results of the study, presented in September this year, even released a video showing a four-propeller drone piercing the wing of an aircraft. They also simulated what impact a bird’s impact would have.
“The bird apparently did more damage to the wingtip, but the drone penetrated much deeper into the wing and damaged the central structure, which the bird did not do.” – Kevin Poormon
Researchers tested the impact of a drone crashing on an airplane fuselage
Image: Reproduction / Dayton University