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Planes Hit Turtles More Often than Drones Planes Hit Turtles More Often than Drones

Planes Hit Turtles More Often than Drones

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Given the recent news story about a skier who nearly got hit by a crashing drone, as well as talk about companies like Amazon experimenting with drone delivery, it's only natural to wonder what the impact of drones might be on air travel. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also called for the registration of all drones weighing anywhere from 250 grams to 55 pounds.

But drones may not be the airline industry's biggest collision concern -- yet, at least.

A better object to be concerned about, says Popular Science, would be the turtle. That's right, the slow-moving, shelled creature that last we knew doesn't get off the ground much.

PopSci reports that economist and technologist Eli Dourado combed through the FAA's own database of plane/wildlife collisions and subsequently made a chart illustrating the number of turtle strikes versus drone strikes. Going back to 1990, the data shows that there were 198 turtle strikes and absolutely no drone strikes. What's more, Dourado found that there were reports of strikes involving a great variety of reptiles and mammals.

The reason, then, for his emphasis on turtles?

“I picked turtles because turtles are funny,” Dourado told PopSci, “You don’t think of turtles as posing much of a threat to planes, and they don’t. If we’ve hit turtles 198 times and drones 0 times, then maybe we are worrying too much about collisions with drones.”

The article goes on to note that previous studies demonstrated that drones weighing less than three pounds "show no more risk to airplanes than small birds, especially if flown below 400 feet and more than 5 miles away from airports, as the law already requires."

Turtles, though...look out.

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Read 2430 times Last modified on Friday, 25 December 2015 14:02
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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