Embraer pilot: ‘I think we hit a drone’


The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 2,500 feet (762 meters) when one of the pilots reported: “We just hit something. I believe we hit a drone about 30 seconds ago. We’d like to return to O’Hare”, as can be heard on recordings of the communication (see below).

Shortly before that, the crew of another flight had already informed air traffic control in the Chicago O’Hare tower that they had sighted a drone. When the air traffic controller then asked the Envoy crew if they had also seen a drone, they reported hitting something.

That flight ENY3961 (operated for American Airlines) actually hit a drone has been confirmed in a report from the FAA. In any case, there was no major damage: the aircraft in question was put back into service a day later, according to data from Flightradar24.

Aircraft collisions with drones are quite rare, but near misses are reported regularly. A collision with a drone can potentially cause major damage to aircraft, with all its consequences. Last week, a Cessna 172 collided with a police drone in Buttonville, USA, causing extensive damage.

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