NTSB Issues Report on Drone Collision with Army Helicopter

The drone operator was not aware of temporary flight restrictions that were in place at the time because of presidential travel and a United Nations General Assembly session, and he did not hold an FAA remote pilot certificate.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report Dec. 14 about a drone collision with a U.S. Army helicopter in September 2017 near Hoffman Island, N.Y. The drone operator failed to see and avoid the helicopter because he was intentionally flying the drone out of visual range and did not have adequate knowledge of regulations and safe operating practices, the board concluded.

The report says the collision took place at 7:20 p.m. and involved a DJI Phantom 4 drone and an Army Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. They collided at an altitude of about 300 feet. The helicopter landed safely, while the drone was destroyed. A small dent was found on the leading edge of one of the helicopter’s four main rotor blades, and parts of the drone were found lodged in the helicopter's engine oil cooler fan.

According to the board's news release and report, the drone operator was unaware of the collision until an NTSB investigator contacted him. "The operator was also not aware of temporary flight restrictions that were in place at the time because of presidential travel and a United Nations General Assembly session. He was flying recreationally and did not hold an FAA remote pilot certificate," NTSB reported.

The full investigative report is available here.

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