following is a selected list of wildlife strikes to civil and military
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through an interagency
agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration, compiles a database of all
reported bird/wildlife strikes to U.S. civil aircraft and to foreign carriers
experiencing strikes in the USA. Over 87,000 strike reports from over 1,650
airports have been compiled, 1990-2008 (over 7,500 strikes in 2008). The FAA
estimates that this represents only about 20% of the strikes that have
occurred. The following historical examples of strikes from 1905-1989 and
examples from the database from 1990-2008 are presented to show the serious
impact that strikes by birds or other wildlife can have on aircraft. These
examples demonstrate the widespread and diverse nature of the problem and are
not intended to criticize individual airports. Many of the strike examples
reported here occurred off airport property during descent, approach or climb.
7 September 1905. From the Wright
Brothers diaries, “Orville … flew 4,751 meters in 4 minutes 45 seconds, four
complete circles.Twice passed over
fence into Beard's cornfield.Chased
flock of birds for two rounds and killed one which fell on top of the upper
surface and after a time fell off when swinging a sharp curve.”This was the first reported bird-aircraft
strike.Because of the location near Dayton, Ohio and time of year, the bird struck was probably a
3 April 1912.Calbraith Rodgers, the first person to fly across the continental USA, was also the first to die as a result of a
bird strike. On 3 April 1912, Rodgers’ Wright Pusher struck a gull,
causing the aircraft to crash into the surf at Long Beach, California.Rodgers was pinned under the
wreckage and drowned.
10 March 1960.A
Lockheed Electra turbo-prop ingested European starlings into all 4 engines
during takeoff from Boston Logan Airport (MA).The plane crashed into BostonHarbor, killing 62 people.Following this accident, the FAA initiated
action to develop minimum bird ingestion standards for turbine-powered engines.
26 February 1973.On departure from Atlanta, Georgia's Peachtree-Dekalb
Airport, a Lear 24 jet struck a flock of brown-headed cowbirds attracted to a
nearby trash transfer station.Engine
failure resulted.The aircraft crashed,
killing 8 people and seriously injuring 1 person on the ground.This incident prompted the FAA to develop
guidelines concerning the location of solid waste disposal facilities on or
12 November 1975.On
departure roll from John F. Kennedy International Airport (NY), the pilot of a
DC-10 aborted takeoff after ingesting gulls into 1 engine.The plane ran off runway and caught fire as a
result of engine fire and overheated brakes.The resultant fire destroyed the aircraft.All 138 people on board, airline personnel
trained in emergency evacuation, evacuated safely.Following this accident, the National
Transportation Safety Board recommended the FAA evaluate the effect of bird
ingestion on large, high-bypass, turbofan engines and the adequacy of engine
certification standards.The FAA
Initiated a nationwide data collection effort to document bird strike and
engine ingestion events.
25 July 1978.A Convair 580 departing Kalamazoo Airport (MI) ingested erican kestrel into an engine on
takeoff.Aircraft auto-feathered and
crashed in nearby field, injuring 3 of 43 passengers.
18 June 1983.The
pilot of a Bellanca 1730, landing at Clifford TX, saw
2 “buzzards” on final approach.He added
power and maneuvered to avoid them, then continued approach.This resulted in landing beyond intended
point.The middle of runway was higher
than either end; therefore, pilot was unable to see a large canine moving
toward the landing area until aircraft was halfway down runway.A go-around was initiated but the lowered
landing gear hit some treetops causing the pilot to loose control.The aircraft came to rest in a milo field about 250 yards from initial tree impact after
flying through additional trees.Aircraft suffered substantial damage, and 2 people in aircraft were
6 January 1985.A
Beechcraft King Air 90 departing Smith Reynolds Airport (NC) at dusk hit a
large feral dog on runway just at rotation.Aircraft suffered substantial damage.
17 March 1987.A Boeing-737 struck an 80-pound
deer at Chicago O’Hare (IL) airport.The
aircraft suffered over $114,000 in damage.
5 November 1990.During takeoff at Michiana Regional Airport
(IN), a BA-31 flew through a flock of mourning doves.Several birds were ingested in both engines
and takeoff was aborted.Both engines
were destroyed.Cost of repairs was $1
million and time out of service was 60 hours.
30 December 1991.A
Citation 550, taking off from Angelina County Airport (TX) struck a turkey
vulture.The strike caused major damage
to #1 engine and resulting shrapnel caused minor damage to the wing and fuselage.Cost of repairs was $550,000 and time out of
service was 2 weeks.
2 February 1992.A
Piper Cherokee struck a deer at rotation during takeoff from Sandstone
Municipal Airport (MN).The pilot
attempted to turn back to airport but impacted into trees just south of
airport.Aircraft was destroyed and
pilot seriously injured.
3 December 1993.A
Cessna 550 struck a flock of geese during initial climb out of DuPage County Airport (IL).Pilot heard a loud bang and aircraft yawed to left and right.Instruments showed loss of power to #2 engine and a substantial fuel leak on the left side.An emergency was declared and the aircraft
landed at MidwayAirport.Cost to repair 2 engines was $800,000 and time out of service was about
21 October 1994.A
Cessna 210 struck a coyote during landing roll at Higginsville Industrial
Municipal Airport (MO) at night.Nose
gear collapsed, causing the propeller to hit runway, resulting in major damage
to engine and crankshaft.
3 June 1995. An
Air France Concorde, at about 10 feet AGL while landing at John F. Kennedy
International Airport (NY), ingested 1 or 2 Canada geese into the #3 engine.The engine suffered an uncontained
failure.Shrapnel from the #3 engine
destroyed the #4 engine and cut several hydraulic lines and control
cables.The pilot was able to land the
plane safely but the runway was closed for several hours.Damage to the Concorde was estimated at over
$7 million.The French Aviation
Authority sued the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and eventually settled out of court for
5 October 1996.ABoeing-727 departing
Washington Reagan National Airport (DC) struck a flock of gulls just after
takeoff, ingesting at least 1 bird.One
engine began to vibrate and was shut down. A burning smell entered the cockpit.An emergency was declared and the aircraft,
carrying 52 passengers, landed at Washington National.Several engine blades were damaged.
7 January 1997.An MD-80 aircraft struck over 400 blackbirds just after takeoff from
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (TX).Almost every part of the plane was hit.Pilot declared an emergency and returned to land without event.Substantial damage was found on various parts
of the aircraft and the #1 engine had to be replaced.The runway was closed for 1 hour.The birds had been attracted to an
un-harvested wheat field on the airport.
9 January 1998.While climbing through 3,000 feet, following takeoff from Houston
Intercontinental Airport (TX), a Boeing-727 struck a flock of snow geese with
3-5 birds ingested into 1 engine.The
engine lost all power and was destroyed.The radome was torn from aircraft and leading edges of both wings were
tube for first officer was torn off.Intense vibration was experienced in airframe and noise level in cockpit
increased to point that communication among crewmembers became difficult.An emergency was declared.The flight returned safely to Houston with major damage to aircraft.
22 February 1999.A
Boeing-757 departing Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (KY)
had to return and make emergency landing after hitting large flock of
starlings.Both engines and 1 wing
received extensive damage.About 400
dead starlings were found on runway area.
07 February 2000.An
American-owned cargo company’s DC-10-30 departing Subic Bay, Philippines ingested a fruit bat into 1 engine at 250
feet AGL.Aircraft returned to airport.Five damaged fan blades had to be replaced.Time out of service was 3 days.Total repair and related costs exceeded $3
21 January 2001.The
#3 engine on an MD-11 departing Portland International Airport (OR) ingested a
herring gull during take-off run. The bird ingestion resulted in a fractured
fan blade. Damage from the fan blade fracture resulted in the liberation of the
forward section of the inlet cowl. Portions of the inlet cowl were ingested
back into the engine and shredded. The pilot aborted takeoff during which two
tires failed. The 217 passengers were safely deplaned and rerouted to other
flights. Bird ID by Smithsonian, Division of Birds.
09 March 2002.A
Canadair RJ 200 at Dulles International Airport (VA) struck 2 wild turkeys
during the takeoff roll.One shattered
the windshield spraying the cockpit with glass fragments and remains.Another hit the fuselage and was
ingested.There was a 14- by 4-inch
section of fuselage skin damaged below the windshield seal on the flight
officer’s side.Cost of repairs
estimated at $200,000.Time out of
service was at least 2 weeks.
19 October 2002.A
Boeing 767 departing Logan International Airport (MA) encountered a flock of
over 20 double-crested cormorants. At least 1 cormorant was ingested into #2 engine. There were immediate indications of engine surging followed
by compression stall and smoke from engine. The engine was shutdown. Overweight
landing with 1 engine was made without incident. Nose cowl was dented and
punctured. There was significant fan blade damage with abnormal engine
vibration. One fan blade was found on the runway. Aircraft was towed to the
ramp.Hydraulic lines were leaking and
several bolts were sheared off inside engine. Many pieces fell out when the
cowling was opened. Aircraft was out of service for 3 days. Cost of repairs was
8 January 2003.A
Bombardier de Havilland Dash 8 collided with a flock of lesser scaup at 1,300 feet AGL on approach to Rogue Valley International
Airport (OR).At least 1 bird penetrated
the cabin and hit the pilot who turned control over to the first officer for
landing. Emergency power switched on when the birds penetrated the radome and
damaged the DC power system and instruments systems. The pilot was treated for
cuts and released from the hospital.
04 September 2003.A
Fokker 100 struck a flock of at least 5 Canada geese over runway shortly after takeoff at
LaGuardia Airport (NY), ingesting 1 or 2 geese into #2 engine.Engine vibration occurred.Pilot was unable to shut engine down with the
fuel cutoff lever so fire handle was pulled and engine finally shut down, but
vibration continued. The flight was diverted to nearby JFKInternationalAirport where a landing was made. The NTSB found a
20- by 36-inch wide depression on right side of nose behind radome. Maximum
depth was 4 inches. Impact marks on right wing. A fan blade separated from the
disk and penetrated the fuselage.Several fan blades were deformed. Holes were found in the engine
cowling.Remains were recovered and
identified by Wildlife Services.
17 February 2004.A
Boeing 757 during takeoff run from Portland International Airport (OR) hit 5
mallards and returned with 1 engine out. At least 1 bird was ingested and parts
of 5 birds were collected from the runway. Engine damage was not repairable and
engine had to be replaced. Cost was $2.5 million and time out of service was 3
15 April 2004.An Airbus 319 climbing out of Portland International Airport (OR)
ingested a great blue heron into the #2 engine, causing extensive damage. Pilot
shut the engine down as a precaution and made an emergency landing. Runway was
closed 38 minutes for cleaning. Flight was cancelled. Engine and nose cowl were
replaced. Time out of service was 72 hours. Damage totaled $388,000.
14 June 2004. A Boeing 737 struck a great horned owl
during a nighttime landing roll at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport
(PA).The bird severed a cable in front
main gear. The steering failed, the aircraft ran off
the runway and became stuck in mud.Passengers were bused to the terminal. They replaced 2 nose wheels, 2
main wheels and brakes. Aircraft out of service was 24 hours. Cost estimated at
16 September 2004. A MD 80 departing Chicago O’Hare (IL) hit
several double-crested cormorants at 3,000 feet AGL and 4 miles from airport.The #1 engine caught fire and failed, sending
metal debris to the ground in a Chicago neighborhood.The aircraft made an emergency landing back
at O’Hare with no injuries to the 107 passengers.
24 October 2004. A Boeing 767 departing Chicago O’Hare (IL)
hit a flock of birds during takeoff run.A compressor stall caused the engine to flame out.A fire department got calls from local
residents who reported seeing flames coming from the plane. Pilot dumped
approximately 11,000 gallons of fuel over Lake Michigan before returning to land. Feathers found in
engine were sent to the Smithsonian, Division of Birds for identification.
30 March 2005.A SA 227, landing at Dade-Collier Training and Transportation Airport
(FL), hit the last deer in a group of 8 crossing the runway, causing a prop to
detach and puncture the fuselage. Also damaged was the nose wheel steering and
right engine nacelle. Aircraft was a write-off due to cost of repairs $580,000
being close to the plane’s value of $650,000.
1 September 2005.A Falcon 20 departing Lorain County (OH) Airport hit a flock of mourning
doves at rotation, causing the #1 engine to flame out. As the gear was
retracted, the aircraft hit another flock which caused the #2 engine RPM to roll-back. The pilot was not able to
sustain airspeed or altitude and crash-landed, sliding through a ditch and
airport perimeter fence, crossing a highway and ending in a corn field.
Aircraft sustained major structural damage beyond economical repairs. Both
pilots were taken to hospital. Costs totaled $1.4 million.
16 October 2005.A
BE-1900 departing Ogdensburg International (NY) struck a coyote during take-off
run. The nose gear collapsed causing the plane to skid to a stop on the runway.
Propeller blades went through the skin of the aircraft. Engine #1 and #2,
propellers, landing gear, nose, fuselage had major damage.Insurance declared aircraft a total loss.
Cost of repairs would have been $1.5 million.
30 December 2005.A Bell 206 helicopter Pilot
flying a Bell 206 helicopter at 500
feet AGL near Washington,
LA looked up from instruments to see a
large vulture crashing into the windshield. He was temporarily blinded by blood
and wind. After regaining control, the pilot tried to land in a bean field
nearby but blood was hampering his vision and the left skid hit the ground
first causing the aircraft to tip on its side. Pilot was taken to the hospital
and had several surgeries to repair his face, teeth and eye.Aircraft was damaged beyond repair.Cost of repairs would have been $1.5 million.
1 January 2006.A B-757 ingested a great blue heron into an engine during take-off at
Portland International (OR).Engine was
shut down and a one-engine landing was made. Fan section of the engine was
replaced.Time out of service was 15
hours. Cost was $244,000.
3 August 2006.A Cessna Citation 560 departing a
General Aviation airport in Indiana
geese on the take-off run.Left engine
ingested birds causing an uncontained failure. Aircraft went off the runway
during the aborted takeoff. Top cowling and fan were replaced. ID by the
Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Aircraft was out of service for 13 days and
costs were estimated at $750,000.
18 August 2006. A CL-RJ 200 departing Salt
flew through a flock of northern pintails (ducks) at 500 feet AGL.Pilot saw 2 birds and felt them hit the
engines. Engines began to vibrate.Aircraft landed without incident and was towed to the hanger. ID by the
Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Time out of service was over 24 hours and costs
to repair engines totaled $811,825.
8 December 2006.The Captain of a B-767 departing JFKInternationalAirport
saw 2 birds during initial climb.After
bird was ingested into #2 engine, pilot returned
aircraft to JFK on Alert 3-3. One badly damaged great blue heron was recovered
from the runway. Carcass appeared to have gone through the #2 engine. The
engine was replaced and passengers were put on a replacement aircraft.
15 March 2007.A
B-767 departing Chicago O’Hare encountered a flock of birds at <500 feet AGL.
People on ground reported flames shooting out of the #1 engine. The aircraft
returned to land without incident and was towed to the terminal.Birds were ingested in both engines, but only
1 engine was damaged.Remains of nine
male canvasback ducks were found near the departure end of runway 9R. ID by the
Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Time out of service was 12 days. Estimated cost
for repairs is $1.8 million. Cost for aircraft’s time out of service was
7 July 2007.A U.S.
carrier B-767 flew through a large flock of yellow-legged gulls at 20 feet AGL
during departure at FiumcinoInternationalAirport
(Rome, Italy).The pilot dumped fuel before returning to
land on one engine. Besides birds being ingested into both engines, birds hit
the cockpit window, right engine nose cowl, wing, and right main undercarriage.
The main gear struts were deflated. Some of the fan blades had large chunks
taken out. The left engine had many fan blades damaged midway along the blade
leading edge.Both engines were
replaced.The replacement engines had to
be flown to Rome from the USA.ID by ornithologist, a
member of Bird Strike Committee Italy.Time out of service 1 week.
25 August 2007.Pilot of B-737 departing TexasEl PasoAirport
reported loud bang in cockpit at 14,000 feet AGL
during climb. Loud rushing air noise, cabin started to depressurize. Cabin alt
horn went off, oxygen masks were donned.Pilot descended to 10,000 feet, notified flight attendants of situation,
and then landed at El Paso. Found
large hole under captain’s left foot side. Also, hole in left horizontal
stabilizer the size of a football. First officer’s side of cockpit had a dent.
Blood and feathers were found. No birds were seen in flight. Ground crew said
“turkey buzzards” were in area. Bird was identified as marbled godwit by
Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Cost of repairs was $144,064. Time out of
service was 3 days.
28 August 2007.The pilot of a CRJ-700 declared an emergency after a black vulture
smashed in the front fuselage between the radome and the windshield at 2,300
feet AGL on approach to the Louisville,
KY International Airport.The strike ripped the skin, broke the
avionics door, broke a stringer in half and bent 2 bulkheads. Maintenance made
temporary repairs, then aircraft was ferried out for
permanent repairs. ID by Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Cost of repairs was
$200,000. Time out of service was 2 weeks.
11 October 2007.A CRJ-700 departing Denver International struck a flock of sandhill cranes at 1,500 feet AGL.
The captain said several “geese” came at them, and they heard 3-4 thuds. The
right engine immediately began to run roughly and the VIB gauge was fluctuating
rapidly from one extreme to the other. Captain declared an emergency and said
he didn’t think he was going to make it back to DEN. The aircraft landed
safely. The engine fan was damaged and there were dents along the left wing
leading edge slat.ID by Smithsonian,
Division of Birds. NTSB investigated.
23 October 2007.A Piper 44 flying at 3,400 feet AGL
disappeared during a night training flight from Minneapolis,
MN to Grand Forks,
ND.The instructor and student pilot did not report any difficulties or
anomalies prior to the accident. Wreckage was found 36 hours later, partially
submerged upside down in a bog. The NTSB sent part of a wing with suspected
bird remains inside to the Smithsonian.Remains identified as Canada goose. The damage that crippled the
aircraft was to the left horizontal stabilator. NTSB
investigated. Two fatalities.
22 November 2007.Pilot of a B-767 (U.S.
carrier) at Nice Cote d'Azur (France)
noticed a flock of gulls on runway during take off. As the aircraft rotated,
the flock lifted off the runway. Shortly after that the crew felt multiple
strikes and vibrations and returned to land. The #2 engine had fan blade
damage. One piece of a fan blade broke off and exited out the front and the
core nozzle fell off. The engine was replaced. Birds ID’d
as yellow-legged gulls by Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Time out of service
was 12 days. Cost of repairs was $8,925,000 and other cost was $196,000.
27 November 2007.A CRJ-200 descending into Memphis International Airport (TN) encountered
a flock of large birds, sustaining ingestion into both engines, a cracked nose
panel, damage to the right wing root and left horizontal stabilizer, and left
engine anti-ice cowling.Bird remains
were subsequently identified as snow geese. Maintenance made temporary repairs
before aircraft could be flown for more permanent repairs.
29 January 2008.Flight crew of B-747 reported minor noise
and vibration shortly after lift-off from LouisvilleInternationalAirport.Noise and vibrations later subsided.Upon landing at destination, damage was found
to 3 fan blades on the #2 engine. A piece of a liberated fan blade penetrated
the cowl. Six fan blade pairs, the fan case outer-front acoustic panel and
inlet cowl were replaced. ID by Smithsonian, Division of Birds.
20 June 2008.During takeoff run at Chicago O’Hare, a B-747 bound for China
ingested a red-tailed hawk. The flight continued takeoff and climbed to 11,000
feet to dump fuel and then returned to the airport with one engine out. Several
blades had significant damage. Both the #1 and #2 engines had vibrations but
the #2 engine was not damaged.Aircraft
taken out of service for repairs; passengers had to be boarded onto another
24 July 2008
Morristown Muni (NJ)
Phase of Flight:
Effect on Flight:
Engine #2 and wing
Comments from Report:During takeoff run a flock of 2-10 geese
were struck. The #2 engine ingested a Canada goose causing damage and the wing
was also damaged. Takeoff was aborted. Aircraft was out of service for 8 days
and cost totaled $3 million.
11 September 2008
Atlanta Intl. (GA)
Phase of Flight:
Climb (5’ AGL)
Effect on Flight:
Engine shut down, precautionary landing
Comments from Report:The number 1 engine was totaled.Odor and haze in cabin. Vibration in engine.
Two-ten birds reported as struck. Aircraft made an emergency landing. ID by
Smithsonian, Division of Birds. Remains taken from nose and runway.
25 October 2008
Salt Lake City (UT)
Phase of Flight:
Effect on Flight:
Ferruginous hawk (juvenile)
Comments from Report:Hawk was ingested on takeoff. Pilot was
able to abort takeoff on the runway.Runway
was closed 30 minutes for cleanup. Airline mechanics reported that the cost
of 4 tires, 4 brake assemblies and 4 fan blades would be $554,400. This cost
does not include labor and down time. Final estimate for repairs was around
$3.2 million. Airline policy requires pilots be removed from service. ID by
Wildlife Services biologist.
06 December 2008
New Orleans Intl (LA)
Phase of Flight:
Climb (500’ AGL)
Effect on Flight:
Engine shut down and Precautionary landing
Comments from Report:During climb-out, 4 birds appeared on the
nose out of the dark. Birds tried to dive and were lost from view on right side
followed by a loud thump and #2 engine vibrations. We declared an emergency,and landed. Post
flight inspection found major engine damage.There were many deformed fan and exhaust blades. ID by Smithsonian,
Division of Birds.
Aircraft(Worldwide, at least 107 military aircraft have been destroyed because
of bird strikes, 1990-2008.Most of
these incidents involved fighter or fighter-trainer jet aircraft.The following is a list of larger,
specialized military aircraft that were destroyed because of bird strikes).
15 July 1996;
Belgian Air Force Lockheed C-130; Eindhoven,
The aircraft struck a large flock of starlings during approach and crashed
short of the runway. All four crew members and 30 of the 37 passengers were killed.
14 July 1996;
NATO E-3 AWACS; Aktion,
The aircraft struck a flock of birds during takeoff. The crew aborted the
takeoff and the aircraft overran the runway. The aircraft was not repaired, but
none of the crew was seriously injured.
22 September 1995; U.S. Air Force E-3 AWACS; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska:
During takeoff as the aircraft was passing rotation speed, the aircraft struck
about three dozen Canada geese, ingesting at least three into engine two and at
least one into engine one. The aircraft was unable to maintain controlled
flight and crashed in a forest about 1 mile (1.6 km) beyond the runway. All 24
occupants were killed.
September 1987; U.S.
Air Force B1-B; Colorado,
Aircraft lost control and crashed after a large bird (American white pelican) struck
the wing root area and damage a hydraulic system. The aircraft was on a low
level, high speed training mission. Only three of the six occupants were able
to successfully bail out. .
1980; Royal Air Force Nimrod; KinlossScotland:
Aircraft lost control and crashed after ingesting a number of birds into