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Fri, Dec 21, 2018

No Evidence That A Drone Collided With An Airliner In Mexico

Aeromexico 737s Radome Damage Could Have Been Structural Failure

Last week, another breathless report of a drone colliding with an airliner made the media and Internet rounds. In this instance, an Aeromexico Boeing 737 was on approach to Tijuana when the crew heard a "pretty loud bang". The airplane landed safely, and photos of the nose of the airplane show fairly extensive damage to its radome.

With no evidence of blood or feathers, a bird strike was not the obvious cause, so a drone became the likely culprit, at least in the minds of some.

But according to DroneDJ reports that the Aviation Safety Network reports that "there is no confirmation or evidence that a drone strike actually took place. Cases are known of nose cone structural failures without any collision, such as to a LAM B737 in Mozambique in 2017. This incident was initially and erroneously blamed on a drone strike."

ASN continues to say that "cases are also known to have radome implosion over time due to previous birdstrikes as was the case with F-100 DAGPH on 1 July, 2010."

The website Fstoppers reports that in a recording of radio communications between the flight crew and ATC, the pilots mention a possible bird strike but say they did not see anything. The airport is near the U.S. border, and the approach to the runway being used by the airplane takes it over U.S. territory. Drone flights are prohibited in the area from ground level up to 2,000 feet, according to an FAA NOTAM.

The airplane was manufactured by Boeing in 2001.

(Image from AFAC Casa Branca via Facebook)

FMI: DroneDJ, Air Safety Network, Fstoppers

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