Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation – Structural Impact

Conventional 14 CFR system safety analyses include hazards to flight crew and occupants that may not be applicable to unmanned aircraft. However, UAS operations may pose unique hazards to other aircraft. The effect of an airborne collision between a UAS and a manned aircraft is a concern to the public and government officials at all levels. While the effects of bird impacts on airplanes are well documented, little is known about the effects of more rigid and higher mass UAS on aircraft structures and propulsion systems. Preceding work was focused on Narrow Body Commercial Aircraft and Business Jets operating under FAR 25 requirements. For this next progression of Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation work, three major research areas have been identified:

  • Identify the probability of impact deflection due to boundary layer interactions.
  • Evaluate the severity of small UAS collisions with Rotorcraft.
  • Evaluate the severity of small UAS collisions with General Aviation.



Gerardo Olivares Ph.D
Director | Senior Research Scientist
Computational Mechanics and Crash Dynamics Laboratories
National Institute for Aviation Research
Wichita State University
Phone: 316.680.1817


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