Fact Check

Drone Strike

Published June 24, 2015


FACT CHECK: Does a video show a drone airplane clipping the wing of an airliner?

Claim:    A video shows a drone airplane clipping the wing of an airliner.


Origins:     On 23 June 2015, a video purportedly showing a drone airpline clipping the wing of a passenger plane and shearing off the wingtip was uploaded to the web site Liveleak:

Some idiot's drone crossed our take-off path. I'm still alive!

The plane wing shown in the above-displayed video has the same colors as Southwest Airlines, but a closer look reveals that the company's name has been replaced with the URL for visual effects artist Bruce Branit's website, Branit.com:

Shortly after the above-displayed video went viral, Branit published a blog post explaining that it was fake:

Lately, I've been looking for little videos to make with no budget, an iPhone and some CGI. After shooting this footage of NYC as we were climbing out of Laguardia (thanks FAA for finally letting us keep our phones in airplane mode during take-off), I thought it might be a challenge to make something go by or even strike the wing. This is the same air corridor that Captain "Skully" ditched his Airbus A320 in the Hudson after a double bird strike, saving all on-board.

But I chose to make a drone zip past instead of a bird and tear off a section of the winglet.

Branit also published another video showing how he created the "drone hits plane" viral video:

Last updated:    24 June 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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