NTSB Investigating Collision Between Drone, U.S. Army Helicopter

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Inflight collision of UAS and helicopter- figure 1

WASHINGTON — (Oct. 5, 2017) The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the Sept. 21 collision between a civilian drone and an Army UH-60 helicopter east of Staten Island, New York.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. Sept. 21, the drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, and the helicopter collided.  The Army helicopter sustained damage to its main rotor blade, window frame and transmission deck.  A motor and arm from a small drone, identified as a DJI Phantom 4, were recovered from the helicopter. The NTSB was notified of the incident Sept. 22 and began its investigation that day. In the following days investigators were able to identify and subsequently interview the drone operator. The drone operator also provided flight data logs for the incident flight.

The NTSB is investigating the incident because the drone was a civilian aircraft. DJI and the Federal Aviation Administration are participating in the investigation. The Army is conducting a mishap investigation.

The NTSB’s investigation is ongoing and investigators are reviewing air traffic control radar data, flight data from the helicopter, the flight data logs provided by the drone operator and FAA airspace and temporary flight restriction documents.