A consumer drone may have been the cause of a helicopter crash in South Carolina. The aircraft struck a tree before crashing into a tree. Both a student pilot and instructor, who were uninjured, reported a drone flew into their space, reports the Post and Courier.
The crash happened last Thursday on what was reportedly open land on Daniel Island, that's located in the city of Charleston. The pilot stated a white DJI Phantom drone flew into their flying space. The instructor took over the controls, but the helicopter still crash landed.
Drones are an ongoing problem to airplane pilots and firefighting rescue operations. Even relief efforts during last year's Hurricane Harvey were so hampered by drones, that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded drones, basically warning drone pilots they would face serious fines if they flew anywhere near rescue missions.
The FAA believes drones are such a serious problem, they published a study last year that showed the unmanned aerial vehicles pose a more serious threat to aircraft than even bird strikes. They ran 180 different simulations and found that even drones traveling at low speeds can be a danger if crashing into aircraft.
While both the student pilot and the instructor walked away from the crash in South Carolina, the FAA is now investigating whether a drone did trigger the helicopter's grounding.