You’d think that drone users would know by now that their remote-controlled, pilotless aircraft are not to played with around airports. But last Wednesday over Tijuana, Mexico, a 737 passenger jet coming from Guadalajara collided with a drone during its descent into the airport. According to the Grupo Aeromexico SAB, the flight crew heard a “very strong blow” to the plane, and pilots immediately requested assistance from air traffic control to land the plane safely. Significant damage, however, was caused to the nose of the plane.
In a statement, Aeromexico said, “The exact cause is still being investigated. The aircraft landed normally and the passengers’ safety was never compromised.”
Desde Tijuana nos hacen llegar estas imágenes del Radomo de un B737 de Aeromexico en Tijuana.
Nuestra fuente indica que se trató de un impacto a un dron en la aproximación final. pic.twitter.com/YJhKVGKY4W
— FsMex.com (@FsMexcom) December 12, 2018
As consumer drones have become increasingly popular, accidents have been on the rise. In 2016 and 2017, drones reportedly struck passenger jets in London and Canada, respectively, with near-collisions occurring regularly. A study conducted earlier this year by the University of Dayton said that drones can actually do massive damage to an airplane during a direct collision. Kevin Poormon, one of the researchers, said, “We wanted to help the aviation community and the drone industry understand the dangers that even recreational drones can pose to manned aircraft before a significant event occurs.”
Currently, the 737 involved in the Tijuana drone incident is grounded for repairs, and investigators are looking into the incident more closely.