Eurofighter Landing At Bavarian Airport Hits Drone, Gets Damaged

Eurofighter drone
Image created by The Aviationist for illustration purposes using a photo by Martin Agüera/Eurofighter and DJI.

A Eurofighter approaching Manching airport hit a drone last week. The pilot did not notice the collision, but damage was found after landing.

The German Police is investigating an incident that occurred last week in Bavaria, Germany, when a Eurofighter reportedly hit a drone on approach for landing at Manching Airport, near Ingolstadt, where Airbus produces and assembles the Eurofighter jets destined to the German Air Force.

The collision, that did not compromise the flight safety of the Eurofighter, took place on Wednesday May 22, 2024, although it was reported by the Upper Bavaria North Police Headquarters only on Monday May 27.

The police stated that the collision occurred about 300 meters east of the runway over an uninhabited area. The pilot did not notice anything but the post-flight inspection highlighted some damage (whose extent is still being determined and was not disclosed).

Since drone flights are prohibited around the airport the German Police has launched an investigation into dangerous interference with air traffic and breaches of the Aviation Security Act. According to local media outlets, they are asking for witnesses and have set up an upload portal for images and videos.

The police emphasize that drones may only be flown near airports with the airport operator’s permission, as unauthorized flights pose a risk to air traffic.

The risk of drone interferences

Drone interferences are frequently reported around airports, military training areas as well as airshow areas. On Aug. 4, 2017, a drone was spotted flying dangerously close to the Blue Angels as the demo team was displaying at Seafair Airshow over Lake Washington. On May 12, 2020, a camera drone almost collided with the Blue Angels during their America Strong flyover in Detroit.

Generally speaking, flying a private drone near an airport is not only prohibited, but also extremely dangerous for the damage a COTS quadcopter could cause to an aircraft:

  • If a drone gets ingested into an aircraft’s engine, it can cause a significant damage. The engine may malfunction or even fail, which could lead to a catastrophic situation, especially during critical phases of flight like takeoff or landing.
  • A drone striking an aircraft’s windshield could cause cracks or shatter the canopy. This can impair the pilot’s visibility and create hazardous conditions in the cockpit.
  • Drones can cause damage to the aircraft’s wings, fuselage, or control surfaces. Even small drones, due to their rigid components and high-speed impact, can create dents, punctures, or other structural compromises. Moreover, it could cause a fire.
  • In some cases, a drone collision could affect the aircraft’s control surfaces, such as ailerons, elevators, or rudders. This can make the aircraft harder to control or cause it to behave unpredictably.

For all these reasons, there are strict regulations and no-fly zones around airports to prevent drones from operating in these areas.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.