Skip to Content

Can A Drone Crash A Plane? Here Are Some Times It's Happened

Can A Drone Crash A Plane? Here Are Some Times It's Happened

This is the question that many people are asking these days. With more and more drones in the sky, it's important to know what you need to do to keep your drone safe.

In short, yes, a drone can crash an airplane. While the risk of a crash is unlikely there are a number of reasons why this is possible including flying into a plane's engine, obstructing a plane's line of sight, or simply flying above the 400 ft. limit.

In this blog post, we will discuss how drones can impact airplanes and what you need to do to protect yourself from lawsuits or fines from the FAA, where we will cover:

  • What You Need to Know About Drones and Airplanes
  • Drone Safety Tips: 7 Ways to Prevent Your Drone from Crashing An Aircraft
  • 9 real events of drones causing damage
  • Q&A about drones and planes

What You Need to Know About Drones and Airplanes

Drones are becoming more and more popular, but they can also be dangerous. The FAA has strict guidelines for drone pilots to follow in order not to put themselves or others at risk of injury from drones crashing into airplanes – which is a real possibility as there have been several cases where this happened already!

Here we will cover what you need to know about the safety risks associated with flying your own personal unmanned aircraft system (UAS) near an airplane.

What are the safety risks when flying a drone near an airplane?

A collision between the two could cause damage and injuries. This can happen if you:

  • Fly too close
  • Fly 400 feet above ground level within five miles radius around airports
  • If something falls off it like its battery pack then that object may hit someone on board causing serious harm- even death.
  • Flying over people who aren't expecting anything coming their way such as children playing outside might be startled by seeing what they don't expect to see in front of them which is why we always recommend notifying local authorities before taking flight near an airport or any populated area.

Obviously, prevention would be the easiest way to avoid such a crash, so let's explore some tips and ideas on how to do that.

7 Tips to Prevent Your Drone from Crashing an Aircraft

  1. Fly below 400 feet.
  2. Keep your drone in sight at all times and never fly it near an airport or airfield. If you do, make sure to stay five miles away from the runway's perimeter.
  3. Keep a safe distance of 500 meters (about 1640 ft) between yourself and any aircraft that is taking off/landing on runways when flying within a three kilometers radius around airports.
  4. Don't use drones for commercial purposes without permission by FAA regulations: this includes filming movies with them as well! You can be fined up to $25000 if caught doing so.
  5. Don't attach anything heavy like camera equipment onto its body because they might fall out during flight which could cause harm, severe injuries, and even death depending on the size of the object and how high it is when it falls.
  6. You should also make sure to keep the battery charged at all times because if the battery runs out, the drone will shut down, begin descending quickly. This could cause it to break upon impact, or even worse injure someone on its way down.
  7. Don't fly the drone near any airports or air traffic because it could disrupt the airspace. You might also be fined if you are not authorized to fly there and in the worst-case scenario, you could be flying too close to planes and potentially cause an accident.

The FAA has a list of rules for flying drones, you should always follow these guidelines and never break them! If not, then your license will be revoked as well so make sure to do what they say at all times when operating one.

FAA Response to Drone Crashes

The FAA has been working to find ways of preventing drones from crashing into airplanes. One idea is using a drone detection system that would alert pilots when an unmanned aircraft enters the airspace around them. The other option being explored by NASA and others involved in installing nets on airport fences in order to catch any rogue UAVs before they can cause damage or injury!

drone crash faa

This solution may be more difficult than it sounds though as many airports are located near residential areas which could lead some people who live there not wanting their privacy invaded with such measures put up for safety reasons (and this goes without mentioning how expensive these solutions might end-up costing!)

Unfortunately, not everyone has taken the time to read this article nor properly ensure they understand FAA rules around flying their drones near airplanes, so there are several examples of drones hitting airplanes, keep reading below about these instances when drones crashed on airplanes.

9 Examples of drones causing damage

  1. In 2013, a drone crashed into an airplane in Canada. The plane was at the end of its runway and had just taken off when it collided with what is believed to be one or more drones that were flying nearby.
  2. In 2015 there have been two incidents where airplanes narrowly missed hitting unmanned aircraft while taking-off from airports: here are those stories!
  3. On September 11th, 2016 another incident occurred involving a collision between a small private jet carrying six people near Tallahassee Airport as well – this time resulting in only minor damage but still very scary for all involved parties (and passengers).
  4. On April 13th, 2017 over London Heathrow airport which resulted in a lot of delays and cancellations and luckily, not so much property damage.
  5. On July 16th, 2017 another drone hit power lines near JFK airport causing a major blackout affecting thousands across the New York City area; luckily no injuries were reported because nobody else had access into those areas…but still scary, nonetheless.
  6. Drone "attack" on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plane on July 17th, 2017 in Berlin.
  7. On September 29, 2016, a drone crashed into the White House lawns; fortunately, no one was injured.
  8. On December 21, 2016, a drone crashed into the stands at an NFL game in Mexico City injuring several people.
  9. On January 17, 2017, a drone crashed into the stands at an NFL game in Arizona injuring several people.

power line drone crash

As you can see with these examples, flying a drone near an airplane or crowded spaces can be very dangerous for everyone involved, and it's not something to be taken lightly. So, let's look at some additional questions you might have when it comes to drones and planes.

What are the FAA rules for drone flying? Q&A

The FAA has a set of rules for flying drones, and they are as follows:

  • You must be 16 years or older to fly an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in the United States.
  • If you're younger than 18 then your parent's permission is required.
  • if under 14 it requires both parents' permissions plus supervision by someone who holds at least one remote pilot certificate with a UAV rating from any country that can legally issue them- which includes Canada! The person supervising needs their own logbook signed off each time before taking charge.
  • All drone operators need current registration through,or have completed Part 107 of the training course on how to operate within US airspace without violating regulations.

How much does it cost to register a drone with the FAA?

The FAA registration fee is $0.00, it's free to register a drone with the agency!

What happens if you fly a drone above 400 feet?

If you fly a drone above 400 feet, it's considered to be in the airspace of manned aircraft and is subject not only to FAA regulations but also to those from other agencies like air traffic control, among other regulated airspaces.

air space drone radar

How many times have drones crashed planes?

As of this writing, there have been no confirmed reports that a drone has crashed an airplane.

The FAA is not aware at the time of any drones crashing planes in US airspace as it's illegal to fly near airports and aircraft without permission from air traffic control or airport management." (Source: https://www-dot-.faa\.gov/uas/) "The Federal Aviation Administration does know about crashes involving unmanned aerial vehicles overseas but none so far here" – Michael Huerta Director of UAS Integration Office for Department Homeland Security and Transportation Safety Agency (DHS & TSA)

How do you know if your drone is above 400 ft?

The FAA makes it easy to figure out if you can fly your drone with your phone by downloading their mobile app! This app called BVLOS, which is short for Beyond Visual Line of Sight, is available in the App Store and Google Play.


While it is unlikely that a drone will crash an airplane, there are additional risks that you should always be aware of so that you don't place yourself and others in danger. It is also relevant to consider property damage and the associated costs of it.

These are reasons why drones need to be regulated and why we must do our best to abide by these guidelines, and above all steer clear from regulated air spaces unless you have the permission to be there.