Drone collides with US Army Black Hawk

A file image of a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter from the 3-238th General Support Aviation Battalion from Grand Ledge, Mich. (US Military/Wikimedia Commons)
A file image of a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. (US Military/Wikimedia Commons)

A remotely-piloted aircraft collided with a US Army UH-60M Black Hawk while it was flying at 500ft over a residential neighbourhood on Staten Island, New York on September 23.

Believed to be the first time a drone has collided with a helicopter in flight, the incident happened at about 1930 local time while two Black Hawks, from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were on a security mission for the United Nations General Assembly above the Midland Beach section of the island.

The US Army confirmed the drone struck the left side of fuselage just behind the co-pilot’s door with debris from the disintegrated drone striking one of the Black Hawk’s four main rotor blades causing minor damage.

The Black Hawk made a normal approach and landing at the nearby Linden Airport in New Jersey.

“There were no adverse impacts to the flight,” said 82nd Airborne Division spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino.

“One blade was dented in two spots and requires replacement and there is a dented window.”

A piece of the drone was found to be lodged in the oil cooler at the bottom of the helicopter’s main rotor system. An image of the collected debris suggests the drone was a DJI Phantom.

Although New York City bans drones from flying in most locations, those registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are permitted to fly above just a handful of New York’s city parks.

The US Army, New York Police Department and the FAA are investigating the incident.

Comments

  1. Mick181 says

    Have fun with your Drones while it lasts, can see severe restrictions or even Bans comming eventually. Time to bring in laws with severe penalties for their missuse.

  2. Philip says

    Yes, Agree – if you look at the cost differential of a drone vs the damage of any impact to aircraft or helos, its not going to take much more to get them banned or regulated to specific areas.

    They are equally then worthy ‘flies-in-the-ointment’ to assist in containing flight operations for an adversary though. Just a thought.

  3. says

    Funny, currently just watching 2 drones flying at 800 feet above me in a controlled zone. Laws need to be very strict with hefty penalties.

  4. Allan says

    Time to ban all uav`s that are not operated by a responsible/licenced operator. It`s only a matter of time before one idiot causes an incident to awful to contemplate.

  5. PAUL says

    Agree All drone operators should have to pass exams operating anything that can fly above 50ft in controlled airspace- they should at least have a pass in Aviation Law to gain an operators license & then registered & fitted with GPS.

  6. Boleropilot says

    I recently read the specifications for one of the newer drones with the latest technology – it stated that the range of the drone is 7km – that’s about 20,000 feet, folks, if the operator decides to go straight up…..and for those who don’t know about the capabilities of these little monsters, they don’t have to be in the sight of the operator. Most have cameras that transmit video back to the operator, plus little niceties like Return To Base with the press of a button – some will even do that if the battery gets low or the drone starts to move out of range.

    I live in a rural area and have been a radio control (fixed wing) enthusiast for about three decades. I am currently building a hexacopter from scratch (just to prove I can do it – talk about a steep learning curve) and I see both GA and RAAus aircraft below 1,000 feet passing over our property on a regular basis.

    IF I ever get my drone flying it will be heading to the deck asap if I even hear an aircraft nearby – hopefully the young bloke who lives at the top of a nearby hill will do the same thing (I have spoken to him and his parents – they are fine, he’s a surly teenager).

    What could possibly go wrong ?