Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bird Strike at Night

Last weekend I went up with a local pilot so that he could get night current and he also wanted me to provide some instruction on how to use his autopilot. We took off around 9:30PM and spent some time doing landings at the Ogden Airport and then flew around north of the airport on the autopilot. Around 10:30PM we started heading back to Salt Lake International when we heard a thud and felt a small bump (surprisingly small). Given that it was dark it was rather hard to see outside the cockpit to see if anything may have happened. After a couple of minutes of looking with my flashlight I could see some bent metal out on the left wing and believed we had struck a bird. After landing it was confirmed. Birds don't play nice with airplanes.

We had been on autopilot when it happened and the pilot immediately disconnected the autopilot. Luckily coming off autopilot no control issues were detected. The plane flew just the same. Even during the landing we didn't notice anything unusual.

The bird caused quite a bit of damage. The leading edge of the wing is obviously damaged. The lower panel rippled due to the main spar getting bent on impact. We got lucky that the bird hit the wing and not the windscreen. I am not so sure how the windscreen would have handled that hit.

Given that it was night we didn't see anything and have no idea what kind of bird it was. But whatever it was, it probably didn't survive!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...I'm so glad it didn't hit the for pointing that out. Yikes. I'm glad it turned out ok. Seth got a kick a out of scaring me into believing it was something worse. Boys!!!! and killing birds Noah...I taught you better than that. :)