The egregious DJI demand letter makes people wonder just who is in control of the airspace integration narrative. The reality of the situation is that person works for DJI, which is a Chinese Toy Company. The man that conducted the research does impact physics research at UDRI for a living, his bio is below.
We must also remember that the person making the demands on behalf of DJI for the retraction is the same person that gave a consensus on the 250-gram FAA drone registration.
The demand letter makes flawed assumptions.
The top speed of the Airplane; the Mooney M20 family of aircraft had several power plant variations.
Closing speed: the forward velocity of two objects that are approaching each other.
Birds don’t strike the leading edge of the wings.
A Factor of safety (FoS) expresses how much stronger a system is than it needs to be for an intended load.
How many Phantom 2s were sold or are still flying today? Is there a way to find out? (I sent an email to DJI asking for an estimate.)
People don’t fly DJI drones over 400’ AGL.
The work was done with the input of Sinclair which is part of ASSURE.
Is the research perfect? No, I do not believe it is perfect just like anything else. Is it better than the data the Drone industry has? Yes, much better than the independent studies that we have—which is none. Before the Registration Task Force, I had approached the Small UAV Coalition (DJI was still a member at the time) about funding some research. The work was to be done by NASA under the supervision of an independent Principal Investigator. The members, to the best of my knowledge, were not interested. Some even suggested that the FAA should pay for all of the research. I also suggested pealing off a few million dollars for kinetic energy testing on the NASA UAS into the NAS call before the UTM project kickoff. I guess NASA folks on the call did not dig the idea of trying to define the risk that drones pose to the NAS before figuring out how to manage the airspace?
In closing, I would caution folks against the armchair Monday morning engineering, as it just makes the community look foolish. A lot of science has gone into aviation safety, and just because a catastrophic event hasn’t happened, that is no guarantee that it cannot happen. That argument is not science; it is luck. What we need as an industry is our own data (self-funded) that we can use to prove our point scientifically without conjecture and feelings. The regulatory situation has by in large been based on feelings, opinions, and conjecture, and many people believe it is getting worse and not better.
UDRI’s statement –
Kevin Poormon’s bio from the website –https://udayton.edu/directory/udri/appliedmechanics/poormon-kevin.php
Group Leader, Impact Physics – Distinguished Research Engineer
Mr. Poormon has been involved in over 100 research programs involving foreign object damage (FOD), which includes bird strike testing, hail impact testing, and turbine/fan blade containment. Mr. Poormon has performed bird strike testing of aircraft transparencies, fan blades, fan platforms, spinners, OGVs, IGVs, and engine inlet structures. In addition, he conducts tests for Crash Survivable Memory Units used in flight data recorders to certify impact shock survivability. Kevin is responsible for the development and design of range facility improvements and modifications necessary to meet special test requirements. Kevin has an extensive background in the use of high-rate data collection equipment, flash radiography, and high-speed cameras used to record terminal ballistic events.
In support of the University’s two-stage, light-gas gun facilities, Kevin has been involved with several programs investigating the effectiveness of various meteoroid and orbital debris protection shields utilized on the space station. He has also been a principal investigator for several armor penetration programs. In these programs, Kevin evaluated the penetration performance of various long rod penetrators into steel, aluminum, ceramic, and limestone. Much of the experimental data produced in these programs was used to validate or modify hydrocode models of penetration characteristics.
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Dayton, 1988
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Dayton, 1987
Hypervelocity Impact Society (HVIS)