Spate of drone collisions, close calls underscore growing risks

A helicopter’s crash landing in South Carolina this 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 on 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 and attempted to avoid a collision, and the tail of the helicopter hit a tree or brush, triggering a crash landing.

A 3DR surveillance drone flies above a burn area in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Sterling, Alaska.


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 Robinson Helicopter

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