FAA: quadcopters are not dangerous to people


The FAA published an article about the danger of quadcopter accidents when they involve people. In short it comes to the conclusion that quadcopters are not dangerous to people.

So, contrary to popular belief, the risks associated with quadcopters falling out of the sky are much smaller than people thought.

Although the FAA says they can’t definitely answer  the question “what might happen if a drone hits a person on the ground?”  they do link to a study by a consortium of universities. This consortium includes the University of Alabama-Huntsville; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Mississippi State University; and the University of Kansas, through the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). ASSURE represents 23 of the world’s leading research institutions and 100 leading industry and government partners.  So it’s fair to say this consortium has an idea what they’re talking about.

And their conclusion is that quadcopters are far less dangerous than was thought up until now. In fact, quadcopters are not dangerous to people when they fall out of the sky.

You can read all about it here but in short, we’re save.

This is great news but a second part of this study is still coming. And that might be even more important.

In the second part of this study (which will start in June 2o17) ASSURE will look at the danger of quadcopter (drone) collisions with airplanes. Why do I say this might be even more important? Because in discussions the risk to people rarely comes up. In the media it comes up even less. But there is a witch hunt when it comes to quadcopters and airplanes.

We keep reading about another “near miss”. I won’t even get into the fact that a near miss would technically be a hit. But we do keep hearing about alleged quadcopter/drone sightings by pilots. Some of these turn out to be plastic bags, others we don’t hear anything about afterwards. But it does shape the public opinion about quadcopters . So if this new research can show that quadcopters /drones are not dangerous to airplanes that would be a major step forward in preventing even more restrictive legislation from being introduced.

Related article:  Choosing the Right Quadcopter Frame

I think this is great news. But what do you think? Do you agree quadcopters are not dangerous to people or do you have a different opinion? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments.

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2 Responses

  1. Will Atkinson says:

    I very much believe that people are more at risk from a falling tree branch than getting hit and injured by a falling Drone……with an exception. Almost all of the current consumer drones are light fun drones, or a camera platform generally used out in the Ag community, or around the industrial/commercial locations….thus out of the mainstream of pedestrian traffic. Even if one of these lightweights fell from the sky….not a big deal. However, as we see the drones enter the delivery market for goods, that requires a larger and heavier design which now can have some impact on a pedestrian. But, the old addage of big sky small airplane still holds true and the chances of having one fall out of the sky and hit someone are remote as I see it.

  2. David says:

    I agree with Will about the risk from a tree is far FAR bigger than getting hit by a drone! I think this is going to create a whole new kind of insurance industry just for drones. It’s ridiculous but the FAA is the one building up the foundation for this ie registration

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