Foxbat bird strike

9100 bird strikeI’m sorry to say that Foxbat 100 – the 100th Foxbat officially delivered in Australia – has suffered a bird strike while conducting training circuits at home airfield of Caboolture in south east Queensland.

Although seriously shaken up, instructor Bill Haynes and his student escaped uninjured and landed the aircraft safely. As well as the photo here of the damage I have others and they are not pretty. Apart from the windshield damage, the bird may also have damaged a propeller blade.

In Australia, there are typically 1,500-2,000 reported bird strikes every year. Most of these involve larger aircraft (eg Boeing 737) and happen during take-off or landing roll. There are plenty of photos of bird strike damage on the internet – some of them spectacular. It is unusual for bird strikes to cause injury (or worse) to pilots and crew, although a small number of fatalities in light aircraft over the years in Australia may have been caused by bird strikes. Here’s a link to an ATSB Review of Bird Strikes 2002-2011 published in 2012.

You will recall, I’m sure, the famous incident of US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus A320, which suffered multiple bird strikes just after take-off, causing the shut down of both engines. The pilot, ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and his crew successfully landed the aircraft in the Hudson River with no injuries or loss of life. In case you haven’t already seen it, here’s a link to an excellent Reconstruction of Flight 1549 into the Hudson River.

Caboolture has always been potentially risky for bird strikes – there is a rubbish tip quite close to the airfield perimeter and there are always large flocks of Ibis scavenging the tip.

The aircraft has now been repaired and cleaned and is back flying.

Remember – bird strikes are a real possibility near and around most coastal airfields, so keep your eyes open and don’t think the birds will get out of the way. Particularly, stupid Ibis!