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Significant Bird Strikes

The following is a selected list of recent bird strikes to civil and military aircraft.

Civil Aircraft (USA), Large Military Aircraft

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 38,000 strike reports from 1,300 airports have been compiled, 1990-2001 (about 5,900 strikes in 2000). The FAA estimates that this represents only about 20% of the strikes that have occurred. The following examples from the database 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

Civil Aircraft (USA)

Date: 03 June 1995
Aircraft: Concorde
Airport: John F. Kennedy (NY)
Phase of Flight: Landing roll
Effect on Flight: Aircraft was towed to gate
Damage: Engines
Wildlife Species: Canada geese
Comments from Report: Aircraft ingested a Canada goose into the #3 engine which had an uncontained failure causing parts to go into the #4 engine. Both engines were destroyed. Flames and smoke were seen coming from both engines. Cost was over $9 million. Aircraft was out of service for 5 days. The NY Port Authority paid $5.3 million in compensation for losses.

Date: 10 December 1995
Aircraft: B-747
Airport: John F. Kennedy (NY)
Phase of Flight: Approach (7500’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Not reported
Damage: Engines, cowling, wing, fuselage
Wildlife Species: Snow geese
Comments from Report: As the aircraft broke through a cloudbank at 7500 feet, it was struck by a flock of snow geese, which sounded like sandbags hitting. The impact destroyed one engine, damaged several fan blades on another and extensively damaged the airframe. Repairs cost approximately $6 million.

Date: 31 March 1996
Aircraft: B-737
Airport: Kansas City Intl. (MO)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Medium to large bird
Comments from Report: Airport operations found a piece of inlet cooling duct on runway from a B-737 that had just taken off. Aircraft returned and landed safely. Engine had several damaged guide vanes. Aircraft was out of service about 24 hours.

Date: 2 June 1996
Aircraft: B-737
Airport: Chicago Midway (IL)
Phase of Flight: Climb (100’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Gull
Comments from Report: Ingested a gull during climb out. Tower observed flames from #2 engine and advised pilot who declared an emergency and returned to land without incident. Emergency equipment was on the runway. Aircraft landed using single engine landing procedures. Core and all fan blades were damaged. Engine was rebuilt.

Date: 7 January 1997
Aircraft: MD-80
Airport: Dallas-Fort Worth (TX)
Phase of Flight: Climb (50’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine & wing
Wildlife Species: Blackbirds (437)
Comments from Report: Aircraft struck over 400 birds just after take off. 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. #1 engine had to be replaced. Runway was closed for an hour. Personnel were sent to disperse another large flock on the airfield.

Date: 27 January 1997
Aircraft: DC-10
Airport: Los Angeles Intl. (CA)
Phase of Flight: Climb
Effect on Flight: Engine shut down
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Gull
Comments from Report: Crew thinks they hit a gull shortly after take off. #3 engine had a vibration with oil quantity fluctuation. When oil quantity dropped to zero, Ύ of the way to Japan, the engine was shut down. Crew had planned to divert to Anchorage but decided against it due to poor weather. Feathers found in engine after landing. Cost $1.5 million.

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Date: 15 November 1997
Aircraft: Airbus 320
Airport: John Wayne (CA)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Large bird
Comments from Report: A large bird was ingested into one of the two engines causing a fire. Passengers heard a loud boom, then the aircraft dropped momentarily before recovering altitude. The aircraft circled for 30 minutes before making an emergency landing. There were no injuries. Bird hit blades on starboard fan which broke or bent all blades causing damage to cowling and to system behind the fan. Engine changed. Time out of service 30+ hrs. Cost of repairs $300,000 and other cost $800,000.

Date: 17 December 1997
Aircraft: Bellanca Super Viking
Airport: Jefferson County (OH)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aircraft lost power
Damage: Destroyed
Wildlife Species: White-tailed deer
Comments from Report: Aircraft hit a deer on take off and lost power, crashing into a heavily wooded area. Aircraft was destroyed. Pilot was life-flighted out and passenger had minor injuries.

Date: 09 January 1998
Aircraft: B-727
Airport: Houston Intercontinental (TX)
Phase of Flight: Climb (6,000’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine, radome, right wing
Wildlife Species: Snow geese
Comments from Report: Aircraft was climbing through 6,000’ when a flock of snow geese was encountered. Three to five birds were ingested. Engine lost all power and was destroyed, radome was torn from the aircraft and leading edges of both wings were damaged, pitot tube for first officer was torn off. Intense vibration in airframe and noise level in cockpit increased to the point that communication between crewmembers became difficult. Emergency was declared. Flight returned safely to Houston. Time out of service was 216 hours and cost was $468,000.

Date: 22 February 1999
Aircraft: B-757-200
Airport: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Intl. (KY)
Phase of Flight: Take off (rotation)
Effect on Flight: Emergency landing
Damage: Both engines and wing
Wildlife Species: European starlings
Comments from Report: Number 2 engine was destroyed. Extensive damage to right wing. Massive clean-up of 400 birds. Cost of repairs at least $500,000. NTSB investigating.

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Date: 12 June 1999
Aircraft: Beechcraft 90
Airport: Westchester County (NY)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aborted take off
Damage: Landing gear, nose, engines, props, wings, fuselage, lights
Wildlife Species: Coyote
Comments from Report: Nose gear was torn from aircraft causing other parts of plane to be damaged. Time out of service 5 months, lost revenue $55,000 and cost of repairs $550,000.

Date: 14 July 2000
Aircraft: Fk-100
Airport: Chicago O’Hare Intl. (IL)
Phase of Flight: Takeoff
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: American crow
Comments from Report: Pilot heard a thump and felt the aircraft yaw slightly to the right. A foul odor filled the cabin. Engine caution light came on. Pilot pulled back power on engine and returned to land. Emergency equipment was standing by. Engine was destroyed.

Date: 23 August 2000
Aircraft: B-747
Airport: Philadelphia Intl. (PA)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aborted take off
Damage: Engine, wing
Wildlife Species: Canada geese
Comments from Report: The aircraft flew through a flock of about 30 Canada geese and ingested 1 or 2 in the #1 engine. The high-speed aborted take off resulted in 9 flat tires. The aircraft was towed to the ramp. Time out of service was 72 hours. Engine was a total loss. Cost was $3 million.

Date: 27 August 2000
Aircraft: B-747
Airport: Los Angeles Intl. (CA)
Phase of Flight: Climb (500’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Emergency landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Western gull
Comments from Report: At least one Western gull was ingested just after take off. Bystanders on a beach heard a giant backfire and saw the jet spewing flames. Three pieces of the engine fell to the ground, one 5-ft piece landed on a beach where people were having a cookout. No one was injured. The pilot dumped 83 tons of fuel over the ocean and then made an emergency landing. The flight had 449 people who were not able to get another flight until the next day. The costs reported do not include room and board. Time out of service was 72 hours and cost of repairs was $400,000.

Date: 08 November 2000
Aircraft: Saab-340
Airport: Aberdeen Regional (SD)
Phase of Flight: Approach (400’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Aircraft was grounded
Damage: Fuselage, wiper, propeller
Wildlife Species: Snow geese
Comments from Report: A flock snow geese was struck. The windshield wiper broke off, hit the prop which broke it into several pieces and threw it through the fuselage. A passenger was injured in the leg with the piece of metal and was taken to the hospital.

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06 December 2000
Aircraft: Emb 120
Airport: Yeager Airport (WV)
Phase of Flight: Landing roll
Effect on Flight: None
Damage: Prop and fuselage
Wildlife Species: White-tailed deer
Comments from Report: Aircraft collided with 2 deer just after landing. The tip of a propeller blade (4" x 3") had separated and punctured the fuselage, injuring a passenger, who later died.

Date: 05 January 2001
Aircraft: B-757
Airport: Miami Intl. (FL)
Phase of Flight: Climb (100’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing, engine shut down
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Turkey vulture
Comments from Report: The number 2 engine ingested one or more turkey vultures just after lift off. There were at least 20 circling vultures. The engine failed and the captain returned to land without incident. Time out of service was 7 days and cost was estimated at between $200,000 and $2 million.

Date: 14 January 2001
Aircraft: Learjet 60
Airport: Troy Municipal (AL)
Phase of Flight: Landing
Effect on Flight: Aircraft slid off runway
Damage: Aircraft destroyed
Wildlife Species: White-tailed deer
Comments from Report: The Learjet collided with two deer and ran off the end of the runway into a ditch because the thrust reversers would not operate. The aircraft burst into flames. Rescuers kept the fire from reaching the pilots for about 40 minutes until they could be removed. The pilot and first officer had serious injuries and were flown to a hospital. The plane was owned by the Dallas Cowboys owner. Cost to replace aircraft $9.5 million. Other costs $25,000.

Date: 21 January 2001
Aircraft: MD-11
Airport: Portland Intl. (OR)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aborted take-off, engine shut down
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Herring gull
Comments from Report: The #3 engine ingested a Herring gull. The engine stall blew of the nose cowl that was sucked back into the engine and shredded. The engine had an uncontained failure. The pilot aborted take-off and blew two tires. 217 passengers were safely deplaned and rerouted to other flights.

Date: 08 March 2001
Aircraft: Bell 206
Airport: Barnes-Jewish Hospital Helipad (MO)
Phase of Flight: Approach (500’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: None
Damage: Windshield
Wildlife Species: Duck
Comments from Report: Aircraft was transporting a heart patient to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, when a duck crashed through the windshield. The pilot was slightly injured and was partially incapacitated. The duck ended up in the patient’s lap.

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Date: 02 April 2001
Aircraft: B-767-300
Airport: Charles de Gaule
Phase of Flight: Climb (14,000’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Nose, radome, wing, fuselage, tail
Wildlife Species: Northern shoveler
Comments from Report: A flock of shovelers was struck causing dents and 11 punctures to the aircraft. One bird entered the cockpit causing depressurization. The pilot had to use an oxygen mask. The aircraft returned safety to the airport. Cost of repairs estimated at over $1 million.

Date: 26 April 2001
Aircraft: B-757-200
Airport: Detroit Metropolitan (MI)
Phase of Flight: Climb (300’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing, engine shut down
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Snow geese
Comments from Report: After take off, flight crew saw several bird strikes to left engine. Engine made loud rumbling noise, EGT rose above 700 degrees and smoke entered the cabin. An emergency was declared and the engine was shut down. Landing was without incident.

Date: 08 June 2001
Aircraft: Airbus 300
Airport: Newark Intl. (NJ)
Phase of Flight: Approach (150’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: None
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Canada geese
Comments from Report: 2-10 birds were ingested which damaged several fan blades. The engine was removed and several sets of fan blades were replaced. Cost was $2.8 million for repairs and other costs.

Date: 09 June 2001
Aircraft: Airbus 300
Airport: Dayton Intl. (OH)
Phase of Flight: Climb (200’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Canada goose
Comments from Report: A Canada goose was ingested into the #2 engine shortly after lift off. The engine had an uncontained failure and a precautionary landing was made. The cost to repair ($3.5 million) was not economical so the engine was scrapped.

Date: 31 July 2001
Aircraft: B-737-500
Airport: Washington Dulles Intl. (DC)
Phase of Flight: Approach (100' AGL)
Effect on Flight: None
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Canada goose
Comments from Report: A Canada goose was ingested during approach. The oil cooler was plugged with bird remains. A set of fan blades and the oil cooler were replaced. Time out of service was 4 days and cost was $430,000. Bird ID by Smithsonian

Date: 06 December 2001
Aircraft: B-737
Airport: Detroit Metropolitan (MI)
Phase of Flight: Climb
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Gulls
Comments from Report: Aircraft struck a flock of gulls, ingesting one after take off. Engine rolled back, and then started compressor stalls. Pilot pulled throttle back to idle and returned to airport. Emergency landing make due to engine flame out. The engine was replaced. Cost estimated at $2.3 million.

Date: 26 aJanuary 2002
Aircraft: B-757
Airport: Denver Intl. (CO)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine
Wildlife Species: Great horned owl
Comments from Report: Aircraft ingested a great horned owl which caused engine vibration. Aircraft returned to land at DEN with substantial fan blade damage. Engine was washed before remains were removed for ID. Maintenance thought there was fur and feathers in the engine. Smithsonian identified the feather remains. Time out of service was 3 days and cost of repairs was $500,000.

Date: 21 February 2002
Aircraft: BE-1900
Airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. (AZ)
Phase of Flight: Climb (400' AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Wing, fuel tank
Wildlife Species: Northern pintail
Comments from Report: Bird penetrated right wing and fuel was rapidly leaking out. Emergency landing was made. Passengers safely deplaned. Smithsonian identified the bird.

Date: 24 February 2002
Aircraft: Fk-100
Airport: Dallas-Fort Worth (TX)
Phase of Flight: Climb (6000’ AGL)
Effect on Flight: Precautionary landing
Damage: Engine, nose, wing
Wildlife Species: Greater white-fronted goose
Comments from Report: Aircraft struck a flock of geese and ingested one after takeoff. Engine vibration caused crew to reduce power to idle. Nose was damaged. Several blades were deformed. Engine was replaced. Bird ID by Smithsonian. Cost of repairs and lost revenue totaled $654,000. Aircraft was out of service for 8 days.

Date: 09 March 2002
Aircraft: Canadair RJ 200
Airport: Dulles Intl. (DC)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aborted take off
Damage: Engine, windshield, fuselage
Wildlife Species: Wild turkeys
Comments from Report: Aircraft struck wild turkeys. One shattered the windshield spraying the cockpit with glass fragments and remains. Another hit the fuselage and was ingested. There was a 14 inch by 4 inch section of fuselage skin damaged below the windshield seal. Cost of repairs estimated at $200,000. Aircraft was out of service for at least two weeks.

Date: 08 May 2002
Aircraft: Beechjet 400
Airport: Burke Lakefront (OH)
Phase of Flight: Take off
Effect on Flight: Aborted take off
Damage: Engines
Wildlife Species: Gulls (ring-billed and herring)
Comments from Report: Pilot revved engines to move gulls from runway. The gulls lifted off, but as the aircraft was taking off, the gulls returned to the runway and were struck. Both engines ingested gulls and were damaged. One had an uncontained failure. the aircraft was towed back to the hanger. 14 carcasses were recovered. Estimated cost was $600,000.

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Large Military Aircraft

15 July 1996; Belgian Air Force Lockheed C-130; Eindhoven, Netherlands: The aircraft struck a flock of birds during approach and crashed short of the runway. All four crew members and 30 of the 37 passengers were killed.
A synopsis of the accident report is available in English, in French, and in Dutch.

14 July 1996; NATO E-3 AWACS; Aktion, Greece: 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 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, USA: Aircraft lost control and crashed after a large bird 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; Kinloss Scotland: Aircraft lost control and crashed after ingesting a number of birds into multiple engines.

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