News and Events

Major occurrences of the quarter January-March 2017
  • 8 January – Los Angeles (CA)
    Southwest B737, bird strike during the initial climb; immediate return 35’ later; the impact caused minor damage to a passenger window;

    (Photo taken from 
  • 10 January – Bournemouth
    Thompson Airways B737, during the initial climb the left engine ingested a gull and emitted a loud bang followed by vibrations; the crew decided to return diverting to Gatwick; 
  • 17 January – Phoenix (AZ)
    American Airlines A319,  during the approach about one mile before touchdown a large bird impacted the aircraft and was ingested into the right engine; damage to be assessed; 
  • 20 January – Curacao
    KLM B747, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; the crew decided to return after having dumped fuel; 
  • 20 January – Lincoln (NE)
    Skywest CRJ200, after take-off crossing 1500 ft. suffered a bird strike; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued to destination (1 hour flight); after landing an inspection revealed damage to the aircraft;
  • 21 January - Charlotte (NC)
    PSA Airlines CRJ 900, during the initial climb at about 500 ft. impacted with some birds; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew decided to continue to destination (Richmond VA) where the radome was found damaged;
  • 21 January – Chicago (IL)
    Nippon Cargo B747, during the initial climb at 1500 ft. flew through a flock of about 20/25 large birds that hit the windscreen and surrounding areas; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew firstly decided to continue the flight to destination (Frankfurt), but later decided to return in order to have the aircraft controlled; 

    (The aircraft and the birds right before the impact; photo taken from 
  • 24 January – St. Louis (MO)
    Gojet CRJ 700, during the initial climb at 4500 ft. a bird hit the windshield causing it to crack; immediate return 10’ later;
  • 24 January – Amsterdam
    Austrian Airlines A319, during the approach at about 2000 ft. flew through a flock of birds, a number of which hit the aircraft; the return flight had to be cancelled due to the damage; 

    (Signs of the impacts on the radome; photo taken from 
  • 26 January – Jackson (MS)
    Delta MD88, during the approach at about 2500 ft. struck a large bird that caused a dent in the nose and damage to the angle of attack sensor;
  • 28 January – Milan (Malpensa)
    PIA B777, during the approach a bird or other unidentified object impacted the aircraft and caused minor damage to the tail; next two flights postponed to the next day;
  • 28 January – Goiania (Brazil)
    Gol B737, during the initial climb at 2350 ft. and at 220 kts. the crew observed a small flock of birds on the left; moments later the left engine begun to vibrate due to bird ingestion prompting the crew to shut it down and return for landing; damage to the inlet and the engine;
  • 2 February – Trieste (Ronchi dei Legionari)
    Lufthansa CRJ900, rejected take off and returned to the parking area due to a suspected bird strike;
  • 2 February – Manchester
    Easyjet A319, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate return;
  • 6 February – Bhopal (India)
    Air India A319, during the initial climb a bird impacted the aircraft; in the absence of abnormal indications, probably remaining unaware of the bird strike, the crew continued the flight, climbed the aircraft to FL320, but about 5 minutes after levelling off at FL320 descended the aircraft to FL270;  the crew then decided to divert to Jaipur  indicating they were diverting due to the adverse weather conditions at destination (Delhi); while on approach the crew reported being low on fuel and requested priority, immediately provided; after landing a fuel leak from one of the engines and the signs of a bird strike weredetected; the airline investigates why the crew remained unaware of the bird strike in flight;
  • 7 February – Fort Lauderdale (FL)
    Southwest B737, bird ingestion into the left engine during the final approach;
  • 9 February – Lagos
    Qatar Airways A330, after take-off a bird hit the left engine; precautionary landing back; 
  • 10 February – Amsterdam
    KLM B787, a suspected bird strike at departure prompted the crew to land back; the aircraft remained on the ground more than two days after landing back;
  • 13 February – Fort Lauderdale (FL)
    Spirit Airlines A319, multiple impact with birds at departure; returned 50’ later; 
  • 13 February – Tucuman
    Aerolineas Argentinas B737, during the approach the right engine ingested a bird; return flight cancelled due to the damage to some fan blades;

    (The damaged fan blades – Photo taken from 
  • 14 February – Brasilia
    LATAM A320, struck a bird at the rotation; returned 18’ later due to the high vibrations caused by the ingestion; 
  • 15 February – Charlotte (NC)
    PSA Airlines CRJ700, in the initial climb the crew reported  a loud bang; a  runway inspection found a dead deer on the runway; then the crew positioned for a low approach to have the gear inspected from the ground receiving the information that all three gear were in position; in the meanwhile either from the tower and from another pilot it appeared there was vapour coming off the right side and the right engine appeared to be leaking; after landing the fire crew confirmed the fuel leak from the right engine, reported a lot of fuel on the runway and foamed the aircraft;  the occupants exited the aircraft rapidly;  damage to the leading edge of the right wing due to the impact with a deer; 

    Five previous incidents are known to have happened at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport involving deer:
    In 1994 a USAir DC-9 returned after hitting a deer on takeoff; no damage. 
    In 1996 a USAir Boeing 737-300 hit several deer after landing; minor damage. 
    In 2002 a Piedmont Airlines DHC-8 hit a deer after landing, causing the nose landing gear to collapse 
    In 2009 a Repubic Airlines ERJ-170 hit a deer after landing on runway 36C; no damage. 
    In 2010 a US Airways Boeing 737-400 hit a deer after landing; no damage;
    (source: Aviation Safety Network)

    (Photo by Shelby Myers taken from 
  • 15 February – Buenos Aires (Ezeiza)
    Aerolineas Argentinas A340, rejected take off at high speed (110 kts) following a bird ingestion into an engine on the right wing;
  • 20 February – Chiclayo (Peru)
    LCPeru B737, bird ingestion into an engine with presence of smoke and smell in cabin; in the absence of abnormal parameters the flight continued to destination (Lima);
  • 24 February – Charlotte (NC)
    Delta MD88, during the initial climb flew through a flock of small birds; after few minutes the crew decided to land back;
  • 27 February – Omaha (NE)
    Southwest B737, multiple bird strike on short final; damage to wings and landing gear;
  • 1 March – Fort Lauderdale (FL)
    Jetblue ERJ190, on final approach a bird impacted the aircraft nose; damage to the nose gear lights;
  • 5 March – Dallas (TX)
    American Airlines A321, on final approach the left hand engine ingested a number of birds receiving damage;
  • 8 March – Tampa (FL)
    United B737, at take-off struck some ducks and made a precautionary landing back;
  • 12 March – Stockholm (or Belgrade)
    Wizzair A320, after landing in Stockholm found signs of a bird strike: feathers and a dent on the nose cone; 
  • 15 March – Berlin (Schoenefeld)
    during the approach at about 3000 ft. struck a bird that caused a large dent in the nose cone; the aircraft could not operate the next leg;
  • 19 March – Minsk (Belarus)
    Belavia B737, during the initial climb at about 500 ft. flew through a flock of birds one of which was ingested into one engine prompting the crew to return immediately 20’ later;
  • 19 March – Christchurch
    Virgin Australia B737, during the initial climb a bird was ingested into an engine causing vibrations due to a fan blade damaged; immediate landing 30’ later;
  • 21 March – Multan (Pakistan)
    Airblue A320, rejected take off at high speed (110 kts.)  due to a bird ingestion into the left engine;
  • 22 March – London (Heathrow)
    Air India B787, during the approach a bird impacted the radome causing a large dent and damaging the weather radar system; next leg cancelled; 

    Photo Mayur Parikhþ taken from
  • 24 March – Kathmandu
    Air Arabia A320, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike that forced the crew to divert to another airport for landing;
  • 25 March – Muscat (Oman)
    Qantas A380, forced to divert to Muscat for weather reasons, on approach impacted with a bird; after landing the  aircraft could not continue the flight to the initial destination;
  • 26 Marzo – San Jose (CA)
    All Nippon Airways B787, on final approach flew through a flock of birds receiving several strikes; return flight cancelled;
  • 27 March – Cordoba (Argentina)
    LATAM Chile A321, during the initial climb flew through a flock of birds some of which were ingested into the left engine; immediate return 25’ later;

Griffons and airports: these are words that DON’T go together well

The European Union is funding a project (LIFE14 NAT / IT / 000484) which has as main objective the improvement of the state of conservation of the Griffon vulture in Sardinia. The project includes, among other issues, the creation of a network of so-called "farmers carnia" to mitigate the food shortage and the release of 60 Griffons from Spain to resolve the critical demographic situation of the existing population.

Farmers carnia" (i.e. charnel-houses) are equipped sites where the farmers are allowed and encouraged to leave livestock carcasses in selected areas where Griffons live. The carcasses will provide food for the Griffons that therefore can feed themselves, as once happened in nature. Furthermore, there will be two additional and similar “feeding stations” to integrate the network of the “farmers carnia”.

The project includes the following Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Sites of Community Importance (SIC): ZONES SPA: ITB013044 - Capo Caccia:  its inner area, known as the "Arca (Ark)", is a permanent wildlife protection oasis (L.R. 23/98), while the coastline is part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio (L. 979/82). That is a permanent oasis of wildlife protection and capture. The area falls within the Porto Conte Regional Park (L.R. 31/89) and it is considered one of the most important breeding sites for the Gyps fulvus and the Hydrobates pelagicus.

ZONES SIC: ITB010042 - Capo Caccia (with the islands Foradada and Piana) and Punta del Giglio - ITB011155 - Lake Baratz, Porto Ferro: the only natural lake in Sardinia, fed only by the catch basin that surrounds it. Geologically the area consists of formations of sedimentary rocks, mainly sandstones and sands, and metamorphic rocks of schist type.

Pending the entry into operation of the “farmers carnia”, one of the feeding stations has been located in Marina di Lioneddu (Porto Conte).

So far, that is what we can read in the project website called "Life Under Griffon Wings"


Due to some unfortunate circumstances, the project designers, and many of the entities in charge of controlling and authorizing it, must have neglected the fact that all the areas described above are located within a 13 km. radius from the civil airport of Alghero.

The distance of 13 km. has been set as a limit, under the national (Civil Aviation Authority) and international (ICAO) regulation, in order to avoid  the settlement of attractive sources for wildlife, considered as  potential hazards to air navigation (Cod.Nav. art. 711).  In fact, the local airport Authority years ago delivered to the Municipality of Alghero, within whose boundaries both the airport and the project areas fall, the so-called constraint maps (Art. 707 C.N.), i.e. the territorial boundaries within which wildlife potential attractive sources are in general not allowed.

At least one of the feeding stations is therefore already existing and active within a radius of 13 km. from the airport, while the others (“farmers carnia”) will be completed as soon as the authorization process will end.

What could be the impact on air navigation safety resulting from a population of more than 60 Griffons hovering above two feeding stations within a zone which should be immune from attractions sources?

The Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) has a wingspan of 2.5 m. and can weigh up to 12 kilos. It can fly up to 6,000 m.  (about 20,000 ft.). Griffons can form separate colonies and are quite loyal to their permanent locations. Usually they move in flocks of several individuals. With a network of feeding stations and “farmers carnia”, it is very likely that the flocks will move from one to another inevitably crossing the take-off and landing paths of Alghero airport.

In Spain, where about 8,000 pairs of Griffons live, statistics show many collisions with military aircraft that often carry out missions at low altitude (certainly more than 14 events from 1987 to 1991- Kitowsky 2011), but also with civil aircraft, causing several casualties among pilots and passengers of small general aviation airplanes.

The following are the updated data of the latest impacts, as reported by the media:

  • 18.07.1996, Pamplona, Robin DR380, crashed after colliding with a Griffon vulture, 3 dead;

  • 13.05.2012, Madrid, Iberia A340, struck a vulture that remained embedded in the nose cone;

  • 16.01.2016, Cerro de las Rabadanes, TB20, struck a vulture, 4 dead;

  • 30.03.2016, Perales, Cessna 172, collided with a vulture, 3 dead;

  • 19.05.2016, Arbizu, Robin DR400, collided with a vulture, 3 dead;

  • 16.09.2016, Palma de Mallorca, Lufthansa A320, struck a vulture that remained embedded in the nose cone;


We think no additional comment is needed.

If no expert will ever support the feasibility of a “zero hazard” with regard to the impacts of aircraft with birds, we really do not feel any need to increase the hazard level if we can easily do without. We hope, therefore, that the project managers would reconsider the location of such attractions sources and restocking, maybe moving them to areas less critical for air navigation.

Finally, we would like to mention a similar experiment underway in India (although for different needs and in a different context) in which however the feeding stations have been located at 100 km. from the nearest airport:

The role of air traffic control in the prevention of wildlife strikes at airports

Air traffic control plays a fundamental role in accident prevention within a generally clear and detailed regulatory framework. However, some air navigation service providers have been involved in legal proceedings following birdstrike events; at least in one case the Control Tower has been sentenced by a Court to refund part of the damage following an assignment of liability.

With this paper  Valter Battistoni aims to provide an analysis of the ICAO regulation on this matter, not just to ascertain possible liabilities of air traffic control in birdstrike events, but rather to assess whether and how the aforementioned regulation takes into account the role of ATC in preventive actions for safety purposes. It will also seek to understand whether the ICAO regulation is applied in a uniform way in the technical manuals of different countries, or if dissimilar interpretations exist. This is also in consideration of the introduction in several airports of new remote sensing instruments, avian radars, which will also pose additional problems of management and responsibility.

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