Sullenberger: Drones Will Cause Plane Accidents

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who safely landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009, says a drone will cause a plane accident. Sullenberger says, "It's not a matter of if it will happen. It's a matter of when it will happen."

Photo Caption: Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger was captain of the US Airways Flight 1549 that made an unpowered emergency landing in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009.

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about plane accidents, it’s Chesley B. Sullenberger. Of course, “Sully” was captain of the US Airways Flight 1549 that made an unpowered emergency landing in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009.

All 155 occupants, the passengers and crew, survived the “Miracle on the Hudson.” The cause of the accident: multiple bird strikes that caused both engines to fail.

There’s been an increased number of drones nearly colliding with commercial aircraft. The question, for which everyone seems to have a different opinion, is whether a drone strike could cause a plane crash. You knew it was only a matter of before Sullenberger, serving as a CBS News Aviation and Safety Expert, weighed in on the matter. Here’s what he told CBS News:

Related: Why Pilots May Not See Your Drone

“We’ve seen what a six-pound or an eight-pound bird can do to bring down an airplane,” Sullenberger said on “Face the Nation,” referencing the cause of the Miracle on the Hudson. “Imagine what a device containing hard parts like batteries and motors can do that might weigh 25 or possibly up to 55 pounds to bring down an airplane. It’s not a matter of if it will happen. It’s a matter of when it will happen.”

He also says that because drones continue to fall in price and are easy to get, people will “do stupid, reckless, dangerous things with abandon.”

“I’m heartened that the aviation and the legal authorities have raised the penalties for doing these things. Unfortunately, the essential element that’s still missing is the certainty of prosecution because it’s been difficult to catch them in the act. This must stop,” he says.

Watch Sullenberger’s interview on “Face the Nation” below.

[Source:] CBS News

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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