BirdStrike

TigerFlyer

New Member
I'm an infrequent poster but regular visitor jetcareers. Yesterday I had an experience that I think others will find interesting. While on a very short local flight I encountered a large flock of small black birds that I could not avoid. I was level at 2,000ft and scanning for traffic. Center to left, center to right, center to left, and when I returned to center something caught my eye. I wasn't sure what I saw so I continued looking. Then the flock turned and I could see all of them, very close. Most of the bird were to the left of center so I turned to the right and pitched up. About 3/4 of the birds turned to my left and descended. I could see their change in direction progress through most of the flock but then the remaining 1/4 broke from the rest of the group. They pitched up and turned to the right...directly into my flight path. At that point I knew I was going to fly right through them as they were extremely close. I made a small, last ditch effort to avoid them by turning to the left but it was unsuccessful. They flew right into my path. Birds began hitting the airplane. I saw one coming directly for the windscreen and instinctively ducked. More birds hit the airplane. The noise was extremely loud and then passed. When I looked back out the windscreen there were three distinct impact locations with blood, feathers, and visceral material. I immediately executed a 180 degree turn and headed for the airport that was about 8 miles away. Once the turn was completed I noticed a different smell and it seemed I was loosing RPM. I checked the gauges and everything appeared normal but I added a little power. I looked at the left wing and there was numerous impact points with dents and missing paint. I found the right wing in the same condition. The plane I was flying, a Grumman Tiger, has wet wings at the inboard 1/3 sections so I looked closely for any leaking fuel and noted the level on the gauges. I turned on the electric fuel pump. While my adrenaline was definitely pumping I knew I needed to fly the airplane. I kept my altitude and speed up on final and made an uneventful landing. I shutdown the engine and hoped out to take a look. I counted 13 separate impact point on both wings, the windscreen and the cowl. Pretty scary stuff but I feel thankful the windscreen withheld the impact. I think most of the damage is cosmetic but am meeting a mechanic this afternoon to get a professional opinion. More to follow later...
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
hmmm.. makes you wonder why the birds turned and flew right into the plane?! glad you weren't hurt... sad that they were....but hey - same natural selection standards!
 

stultus

New Member
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Just be glad they weren't Gulls


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For sure. I saw a gull strike on a windscreen once and it wasn't pretty.

So was this your plane or were you renting?
 

Mahesh

New Member
Glad to see you made it out ok!

I had a really close call once. I was turning downwind to base once and I suddenly spotted two hawks flying straight into me. I had the sun in my eyes too so icouldn't see properly. I think they passed below and left of me by 20 or 30 feet. Whew!

Mahesh
 

TigerFlyer

New Member
So was this your plane or were you renting?
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My plane. The real bummer thing is I passed the instrument written last week and after a lesson on Tuesday night my instructor gave me the required signoff to take the instrument practical. He directed me to call the examiner and schedule a date. Yesterday's flight was just a "quickie" to warm the oil for an oil change. Not sure if the plane is airworthy and not sure what this means for the check ride. I guess I'll find out soon enough as I'm meeting a mechanic this afternoon and an insurance guy tomorrow.
 

Mahesh

New Member
Ohh I was renting. I was working on my PPL when this happened. I was about 8 hours or so from my check ride. Scared me to death.

Mahesh
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
I know a guy flying a UH-1 Huey who had a snake strike ... yep a snake strike. He hit a hawk which had a snake in its claws and the snake came in through the green house window and landed on his chest / lap, while the rotor system ate up the bird, bloody mess it was. It freaked him out pretty good.

BTW nice job. If ever presented with this again remember that birds when the feel threatened will dive so climb or maintain altitude is a generall rule of thumb. Did it smell like chicken?
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I'm an infrequent poster but regular visitor jetcareers. Yesterday I had an experience that I think others will find interesting......More to follow later...

[/ QUOTE ]

Man, wish I had a nickel for every wing ding I've gotten over the past nine or so years.

You said you were at 2000' , what was your absolute altitude?

From your post it seemed like you did a good job handling the situation. But I'm sure that is little consolation considering the leading edge damage. From my experience, it's unusual for blackbirds to climb into the flight path, they normally dive. Now you gotta watch a duck because it's hard to tell what they'll do. I have seen them turn back into the path after being clear.And I learned my lesson one time with a Great Blue Heron.

When I used to fly round motors birds weren't a problem. Once I got within a half mile or so of the field the birds had heard me and left. With the turbine though they don't always do that. Anyway I had dropped into a field to start spraying on my first swath. About a half mile ahead of me the Heron popped up out of a ditch and started flying away from me and away from my swath.I was watching him closely as I got closer but the bird kept flying away. I was coming up on a parallel treeline and I cut my eyes away from the bird and checked clearance with the trees. When I checked back I didn't see the bird again so I didn't give it another thought. And then I saw it again. It had been hidden in a blind spot by my upper wing and it had turned back into my path. BAM! Hit my wingtip on the upper left wing, the fiberglass tip square on. I shut off the spray and pulled up then. The fiberglass had shattered pretty good and part of it was whipping in the wind. After about thirty seconds the whole fiberglass portion of the tip had been shed. So I went back in and finished the load. When I got back to my strip I shut down and walked over to look at the damage. That freaking bird had done quite a nice job demolishing the tip. But what was really wild was the smell. My plane reeked of dead fish from the bird splatter. Had to go get a new tip and have it mounted. The darn bird cost me $500.
 

TigerFlyer

New Member
You said you were at 2000' , what was your absolute altitude?
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Absolute altitude was 1995, I had crossed a shore line from a bay.


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From my experience, it's unusual for blackbirds to climb into the flight path, they normally dive.
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That's what I thought too. What I find very intersting is that the group split. The majority dove and I thought I was in the clear. Then the remaining 1/4 changed there mind and climbed right into my flight path. Pretty strange.

I just got back from the airport where I met a mechanic/friend and he said the plane isn't airworthy. he pointed out a few areas about 12-18" back from the leading edge that have slight creases. He suspect there may be internal/rib damage. So much for my check ride. Arhhh!
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

I just got back from the airport where I met a mechanic/friend and he said the plane isn't airworthy. he pointed out a few areas about 12-18" back from the leading edge that have slight creases. He suspect there may be internal/rib damage. So much for my check ride. Arhhh!

[/ QUOTE ]

Oh man, sorry to hear that.
That really sucks. But you know, that raises a good question. How is sheet metal repaired on aTiger? Traditional rivet? Or is it possible to do the repair with the "Bede bond"?

You know, something else too. Those blackbirds were WAY high. I'm trying to think back, but I can't seem to remembber ever seeing them that high!
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
I actually had a bird strike on my commercial checkride. Scared the living crap out of me!!! We were at about 2500 feet agl, decending to do a chandelle, and here the darn bird cam eout of the blue. Got hit by the prop, then the remains got the windshield pretty good.

So, I asked the examiner if we needed to head back to the airport.....but he said I wasn't getting out of the chandelle that easily....
 

stultus

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

So much for my check ride. Arhhh!

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Bummer. You could always do as we poor folks do and rent something for the checkride.
 
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