Over the last decade, aerial drones have been increasingly used by both professional and inexperienced users resulting in few impact incidents throughout the world. Transport Canada (TC) has already implemented regulations dealing with the operation of drones, especially in sensitive areas such as airports where a safe distance must be observed. However, the risk of impacting an aircraft at low altitude remains from both malicious and careless operators.
NRC- Aerospace Research Centre has been performing bird impact testing both on aircraft structures, windshields as well as on engines since the 1960s where a number of pneumatic guns with various sizes have been developed and run for various clients. Over that period, NRC’s bird guns were used to fire bird carcasses in accordance with ASTM standard (F330 – 16) to certify aircraft materials, gelatin synthetic birds for research purposes as well as steel balls. The latter test aimed at certifying a bullet-proof windshield of a fighter aircraft with a firing ball velocity reaching 1237 km/h (1.036 Mach, 668 knots).
The main objective of this collaborative work between Transport Canada, Defence Research and Development Canada and the National Research Council Canada is to perform experiments simulating real impacts between drones (Quadcopters) and aircraft components (windshield and wing sections) at representative conditions (impact velocity, mass and type of projectile). However, a series of tests on flat aluminum plates with two thicknesses was first carried out to:
assess impact force
determine plate deformation at various locations
assess drone damage
This report gives an overall description of the test setup for plate impact testing and provides experimental data along with analysis and discussion.