Last December, Fstoppers emitted serious doubt about a potential collision between a drone and a Boeing 737. Six months later, a Boeing investigation on behalf of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the radome damage on the airliner was most likely cause by an improper installation and had nothing to do with drone.
A few days ago, Bloomberg news revealed that a Boeing examination of the “crimped nose cone by the company’s forensic experts ruled out a collision with a drone or any other object, including birds, according to a report it submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month.”
In 2017, a similar case occurred in Mozambique when another Boeing 737 received damage on its radome during approach. At the time, the LAM airline and media talked about a drone collision, but the official investigation discarded this explanation and concluded that a “material failure” caused the nose damage.
In my initial report of the incident in December 2018, I explained that “a modicum of decency should be observed, as recent history shows that all the previous drone collision reports with passenger jets were false or misinterpreted. A little bit of intellectual honesty goes a long way. Usually, by the time the official report is released a few month later, no one bothers to correct the wrong initial statement.”
Indeed, like the Mozambique mishap, no drone was involved in Mexico. DJI reached the same conclusion in a statement by saying that “It would be nice if every news outlet that ran a scary story speculating about a drone collision would correct their coverage, but we know that probably won’t happen. Instead, we hope this will spur the media, the drone industry, government officials and the general public to be skeptical the next time they hear an unverified allegation that a drone had a close call with an airplane thousands of feet in the air.”
Hopefully, that type of story won't spread that easily next time.
Cover photo by Julian Dufort on Unsplash