What happens when a bird hits an airplane?

Airplane travel is the safest travel and daily many people travel by airplane. But one thing that makes air travel sometimes hazardous is a bird strike. The main question arises- Do bird hitting the plane is really hazardous?

Welcome to Engineering Master. In this article, we will discuss what happens when a bird hits an airplane?

At first let us discuss, what is Bird strike? It is a situation when an airborne animal (like a bird) hits an airplane when it flying at lower altitude.

Bird strike doesn’t cause much damage to the airplane. But these collisions always fatal to the birds. The number of accidents caused due to bird strike is very low.

It is impossible to avoid bird strike as we are living in a world having lots of airborne animals (like birds). Birds strike usually occurs when an airplane is at low altitude. Therefore, bird strike mostly occurs at takeoff or landing of airplanes. The reason is obvious as most birds fly at low altitude. So, there is a greater risk of hitting the airplane.

But the question is still there- What happens during the bird strike? Birds usually collide with front-facing edges of the airplane which includes wings and nose of the airplane.

There have been cases of birds hitting the windshield or canopy of airplanes, which can result in the cracking of the surface of the windshield. These cracks can sometimes disrupt the air pressure inside the cabin and result in altitude loss or other flight-related problems. The severity of the damage done by the bird strike depends on a few factors, including speed difference, direction of impact, and the weight and size of the bird.

The most hazardous condition arises when a bird hits the turbine and caught in the engine. This condition is known as jet engine ingestion. After it stuck in the engine, the bird cause disruption in fan blades, which results in partial or complete failure of the engine. Flocks of birds ( a group of same kind of birds) are even more dangerous, as they have more impact collectively.

There are many cases of the bird strike, but a recent incident of US Airways Flight 1549 gain lots of attention. On 19th January 2009, an airplane (Airbus 320 model) made an emergency landing in the Hudson river after being hit by a group of birds after taking off from La Guardia Airport, New York City. But fortunately, no single person died in this incident.


12 thoughts on “What happens when a bird hits an airplane?”

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