Drone collisions and close calls underscore growing risks

A helicopter’s crash landing in South Carolina last week may have been triggered by a civilian drone, which would make it the first drone-related crash of an aircraft in the U.S.

The incident Wednesday involved a student pilot and an instructor, both of whom told investigators that a small drone appeared directly in front of them, according to a Charleston Police Department report. The instructor took over the controls of the Robinson Helicopter R22 and attempted to avoid a collision, and the tail of the helicopter hit a tree or brush, triggering a crash landing.

Neither the pilot nor the student was injured, though the helicopter’s tail appeared to have significant damage, said a person familiar with the incident, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the inquiry publicly.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

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