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Watch This Video of Bird Smashing Into Cockpit Window At 50 Feet

Bird Strikes are no bueno.

Bird strikes on aircraft are never a good thing. According to the Bird Strike Committee, bird strikes cause an estimated $900 million dollars in damage each year.  They have claimed over 250 lives since 1988.  They also famously forced a US Airways A320 to ditch in the Hudson River after a dual engine bird strike turned the jet into a glider back in 2009.

This video above shows what a bird strike looks like from the cockpit of an Airbus A320.  While startling and distracting, the bird does not appear to cause any visible damage to the aircraft or systems.  The plane lands normally seconds later at Kiev, Ukraine.  Cockpit windows are built to be able to withstand bird strikes because they are manufactured with multiple laminated layers that make them very resilient to birds, even at high speeds.  While windscreens are very strong, there are many cases where large birds at high speeds have overpowered the windscreen and cracked it.  In some rare cases, some large birds have even penetrated the cockpit as the windscreen failed.

At low altitudes, certain aircraft are actually limited to a lower max speed with the windscreen being the limiting factor due to a bird strike.  Additionally, most aircraft and airliners operate with automatically heated windscreens or have a procedure to keep low windshield heat on during flight to prevent a cold soaked windscreen on approach.  A brittle and cold windscreen lowers the strength of the windscreen  and therefore its ability to absorb an impact.