Impact scenarios for collisions with unmanned aerial vehicles and their consequences to rotorcraft

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Franke, F.
Schwab, M.
Engleder A.
Burger, U.
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This paper presents different impact scenarios for collisions between rotorcrafts and small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV) as well as the corresponding consequences. As the popularity and number of sUAV in the airspace increases continuously also increases the risk of a collision between unmanned and manned aircraft. Possible impact scenarios are defined within this paper based on bird strike data. Up to now, there are no relevant data for the collision with a sUAV. But sUAV are similar in size and mass to birds and due to this, bird strike data can be used to determine impact load cases and locations. EASA�s suggestion of drone sizes will be adapted for the collision with rotorcrafts. Furthermore, the structure of a drone is described. A drone consists of at least four main parts, the battery, motors, structure and payload. Each of these components represents another threat and these are evaluated on the basis of their risk potential. The FAA penetration equation and further penetration equations are used to describe analytical the threat of a drone strike to a helicopter. The final analytic results are rated by engineering judgement due to uncertainties in the analytic approaches. Based on these results, a test- and simulation program is developed to fully characterize the threat of a drone strike to manned rotorcraft. The main results are that a drone strike poses a greater danger to rotorcraft than to commercial airliners. Impact tests need to be performed to fully characterize the threat and will be done in further research activities.