Friday, August 6, 2010

Flying Feathered Foe

B777 escorted by flying feathers...or so it appears.

These next three pictures were sent by reader, Andrew.

This guy was coming from Phoenix into Show Low at 11,000 feet, about 20 miles west.
I talked to him shortly after I took this 3rd picture.
He never saw anything, just BAM!
Bird strike at 250kts or so. Wind.
Had glasses on, took them off and put a spare pair on, landed at Show Low.
Ambulance. 18 stitches. Black eyes. Blood everywhere in the cockpit.
When I took the photos, one quick pass had already been made at cleaning it out. He literally
just came from the hospital to see his plane.
He was obviously scared shitless, but amazingly calm. When I left Show Low, an A&P had been
flown in and was taping over the window, they were having a new one flown in...will take a couple
of days. $15K+ for that windscreen. A very minor ding where the bird's head hit on the frame,
but otherwise, except for the blood, no damage to the plane.
They haven't determined the make/model of the bird. Nothing left.

Well that 3:30 a.m wake up seemed to come extra early this morning. But a straight out departure off runway 25 in Ottawa to a straight in approach on runway 23 in Toronto proved uneventful especially with two large Tim Hortons consumed. Usually, I only have one but this morning I upped the dosage.

With only an hour to ready for a turn to Halifax required an aircraft change and we noticed we inherited a snag, the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) was U/S (unserviceable).
This meant an air start at the gate to start the number one engine, push back from the gate for a cross bleed engine start, making sure there is air conditioned air for the passengers and checklists after checklists. Yes, I was thinking maybe a third "Timmies" would help.

Just as I checked in with departure on 128.8 off 24 Right a flock of geese flew over us no less than 50 feet. There must have been ten getting their organized "Vee" in check.
Yes, Captain Sully came to mind and yes I looked over to Lake Ontario. That kind of adrenaline can't be replicated by a "Timmies." I know my jumpseat passenger didn't see them. The flight was jammed and we had a commuting flight attendant in the jumpseat keeling over in his shoulder seat straps having been up all night from a Bogota flight. "His lights were on but no one was home."

Visibility in Halifax went from a 1/4 mile in fog to busting wide open for our arrival, albeit 40 minutes late.

Captain Doug was at controls when two sparrows zoomed by our windscreen on departure out of Halifax on 23. Yet another flight attendant commuting to work in the jumpseat missed seeing them as well.

Birds do not have TCAS, transponders, radios, flight plans and can't be picked up by radar all that well, but share our airspace. It's why Captain Doug is reluctant to exceed the usual 250 knots below 10,000 feet when given the green light. The above photos exemplify my thinking.

I'm nearing 17,500 hours and my only experience with a feathered foe occurred over 20 years ago while departing runway 25 in Ottawa in the four engine "smurf jet" Bae 146. We ingested a tweetie bird in the number two engine causing a fire warning. The captain noticed when he brought the engine to idle the warning stopped. We returned to Ottawa to an uneventful landing.


Giulia said...

Those photos send shivers down my spine!! Brrrr

Giulia :(

From the Flight Deck said...

Giulia. I was reluctant to post them because of their graphic nature. After all, this blog is "G" rated. :)

However, as my blog states, "anything and everything on aviation" I thought it would give a slant of reality.

Daniel said...

A Alaskan Airlines jet just hit a eagle. And well, hes just feathers now since he wen't right in the engine. Good thing they were below V1 and could abort.

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Daniel. Thanks for the link. Presently, in Ottawa about to launch for Toronto and then to Halifax and back to Toronto late tonight.

Daniel said...

Oh, sounds fun!