Geese, Fuselage

Amy headed for NY for four days; for the first time I’m taking care of Miles alone for an extended period. This morning, she calls when she’s supposed to be in the air – her plane headed out of OAK had run into a flock of migrating geese over the bay, their bodies thudding into the fuselage. She said it sounded like parts were being ripped off the plane. Then, inevitably, one was sucked into the right jet engine. Passengers felt the plane lurch in the air, blood and entrails all over the wing. Smoke started to pour out of the engine. The captain cool as a cucumber: “Those darn geese.” They turned around, landed. Stranded. Had to bring a spare plane in from another city. She returned home to reschedule. On the phone to Jet Blue, she learned that the same thing happened again an hour later, to another flight.

The wrong version of man vs. nature.

Music: The Lemon Drops :: I Live In The Springtime

6 Replies to “Geese, Fuselage”

  1. It’s relief that Amy’s flight landed back at Oakland safely. Guess that’s another reason why modern airliners have more than one engine.

    Too bad for the geese, too.

  2. An Israeli orinthologist proved to the Israeli airforce that migratory bird patterns are consistent and that it is possible to have flights avoid these.

    “Although Israel has laws that protect migrating birds, the massive migrations have created a grave safety problem for both the Israel Air Force and the birds. A joint study conducted over the past decade by the Israel Air Force and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel led to several solutions that have reduced the number of accidents involving aircraft and birds by 88 percent, thereby helping to protect pilots, aircraft, and the migrating birds that fill Israel’s skies by the millions twice each year.”

    http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Environment/birds.html

  3. I would think that airports would at least have a staffer or a set of techniques dedicated to getting birds out of the take-off and landing patterns (Amy informs me that this happened immediately on take-off, so the birds were very close to the airport).

  4. My father used to work for Pratt & Whitney (you know, the aircraft engine company that splits a virtual duopoly with GE – Rolls Royce coming in a distant third?). He once told me about the “Bird Gun” they used to use – they stuffed seagulls (I honestly can’t remember if he told me they were alive or not – one hopes for the latter) into this gun and would shoot the birds into a running turbine during testing to see how it would handle this sometimes unavoidable scenario. (Please note: this is not to be confused with the “French/British Rail Frozen Chicken Episode”.)

    Fortunately, times have changed and they don’t shoot anything into the engines anymore (at least from what I was told about P&W testing practices): instead, they strap explosives to the turbine blades and detonate while the turbine’s running.

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