If you’ve ever used CASA’S Can I Fly There app, you’ll be aware that flying your drone around an airport is a big no-no. But why is this exactly?

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Up until now we’ve heard much about the risk of an impact between a drone and an aircraft, but very little research into the type of damage that a drone might cause in a collision.

Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute have attempted to quantify what this damage could look like by using an air cannon to fire a DJI Phantom 3 drone at an aircraft wing.

The resulting impact is significant, with the wing severely damaged.

During their research, The team also simulate a bird strike, revealing that these cause markedly less damage when compared to a rigid drone. As the researchers mention, large commercial aircraft are likely less vulnerable to drone strike, while smaller aircraft could be severely damaged if struck.

The researchers stress that building drones that break into fragments on impact will reduce impact damage.

“As the drone population increases, the likelihood of these kinds of events is also going to increase,” said Research Engineer Kevin Poolman.