Drone Pilot Interviewed After Collision with Army Helicopter
NTSB investigation reveals that the drone operator has been located after striking a Black Hawk helicopter.
In details from the NTSB, the drone that struck an Army helicopter as it was flying off Midland Beach, Staten Island was a consumer-grade DJI Phantom 4, available for under $1,000. It reportedly struck the main rotor blade, window frame, and transmission deck along the side of the aircraft. Despite its relatively small size, the drone did cause damage, but the Black Hawk was able to safely land after the strike.
At least one large piece of the drone was recovered, which allowed the manufacturer to identify the model and may have led to the identifying the owner, although the NTSB only indicates that the owner has been interviewed, without detailing how they were located. No information was given about the drone operator, and the NTSB and FAA are reviewing data to see if any flight restrictions were violated at the time of the crash.
The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.
This is the first collision between a drone and an aircraft, although there have been many close calls with drones and collisions with objects later determined not to be other airborne objects.