If you’ve flown planes long enough, you’re bound to strike a bird. With many airports located near migratory routes, water and farmland, the risk is real. Tools are out there to predict times of high bird activity. There is even a network of radars that can be used to detect bird activity. Unfortunately, there are just too many birds out there and too much activity near where birds fly/live to avoid issues.
Most bird strikes are pretty benign for the pilot and crew. A smear on the windscreen, a couple of feathers on the fuselage, or a tiny dent in the aircraft’s skin is the only proof that you hit a bird. Occasionally a small bird will fly into the engine resulting in little to no damage to the engine but making the jet smell a bit like fried chicken. Then there are those rare times (like US Airways flight 1549) where a birdstrike can bring down an aircraft.
5.) Large Bird Almost Rips Tip Tank Off of L-159 Jet
Czech fighter pilot Abel Zbynek was flying his L-159 jet when a bird struck the outer edge of his right wing. It ripped a large gash into the leading edge leading to a fluttering tip tank and control issues. Abel stayed calm. He initially thought to eject but as he slowed the jet the buffeting of the jet slowed down too. Spoiler alert: Abel successfully landed the crippled jet.
4.) Bird Strikes C-17 on Departure Roll
In what might be some of the best footage of a bird strike, Youtuber HD Melbourne Aviation posted an amazing video capture of a March AFB tail ingesting a bird on its takeoff roll during the 2019 Avalon Airshow in Melbourne. Fortunately, the incident happened relatively early in the takeoff roll for the C-17. The crew rightly rejected the takeoff . With great brakes and an aircraft at a relatively light airshow weight, the aircraft safely stopped the jet with the only casualty being the bird. The crew also probably smelt a bit of burnt chicken in the cockpit and cargo compartment.
3.) FedEx Boeing 777 Chews up birds on landing
Aviation videographer Cargospotter caught a pretty unique situation in beautiful 4k footage at Liege Airport. A FedEx Boeing 777 cargo jet hit a number of birds just before commencing its touchdown flare. The 777 pilot did a great job of continuing to fly the jet. He or she didn’t get distracted by the birds during such a critical phase of flight.
While it doesn’t appear to sustain any damage, it left quite a mess on the runway. A Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing afterwards noticed the mess and requested a crew to clean the runway of bird guts. It’s a pretty incredible sight in that Cargospotter not only captured the bird strike but then he also filmed the clearing of the runway and a gorgeous ‘Queen of the Skies’ departing on a wet runway.
2.) T-38 Strikes a Bird in the Clouds
Who knew that birds could fly in the weather? Here’s video of a T-38 on a training sortie when it struck a bird. The crazy part is that the jet was in IFR. Birds have been known to fly in the clouds. Some birds are also commonly spotted above a low layer of clouds. Fortunately for this crew, they were able to declare an emergency and return safely. What’s the lesson? Always be prepared for an emergency. Even birds fly in clouds! Footage: Youtube 15EFlyer
1.) Wrong place at the wrong time for this bird
YouTube spotter RN Plane Spotting Prague caught some unique footage of the Travel Service Boeing 737-900ER rotating right into the path of a bird. The unlucky bird was directly ingested into the engine. They must have never noticed (or smelled) the bird strike. The crew continued to its destination and landed safely. Continuing flight after such a noticeable bird strike is pretty unusual. We’re just glad it worked out in this case.