News and Events

Relevant occurrences of the quarter October-December 2017

Despite the closure of the Scarpino landfill, the problem of gulls at Genoa airport seems to persist. The November 5 event is similar to others of the past: a flock of gulls settled on the runway suddenly flew up in front of the taking-off aircraft. The most impressive precedent dates back to June 7, 1989, and gave rise to a long sequel of civil proceedings for compensation of the damage suffered by a TNT Bae 146.

In similar circumstances, it was less fortunate and suffered multiple impacts that led to the loss of an engine and the shutdown of two others immediately after the emergency landing. In 1997, however, it was the turn of an Antonov 124 to suffer the same fate but in the trial that followed the defendants managed to prove that the flock of seagulls were not settling on the runway but crossed it at low altitude in an unforeseen and unpredictable way. Despite these two famous court cases, once again we read about flocks of gulls settling on the ground near the runway without anyone, not the bird control, nor the Tower, nor anybody else, seeing and dispersing them.

  • 27 September – Toronto
    Air Canada ERJ190, during the initial climb through 1000 feet a bird impacted the right hand engine and causing minor damage; the crew landed back about 25’ later;
  • 1 October – Istanbul
    THY A321, during the initial climb flew through a flock of birds and received a number of bird strikes prompting the crew to land back about 17’later;  an engine inspection revealed damage; 
  • 1 October – Chandigarh (India)
    Jet Airways B737, at the departure received a bird strike into one of the engines prompting the crew to continue the flight but diverting to Delhi, where the aircraft landed safely about 110’ later; reportedly a number of fan blades were found damaged;
  • 3 October – Sacramento (CA)
    Southwest B737, on final approach a bird impacted the aircraft and caused minor damage; the aircraft was unable to continue its schedule however; 
  • 3 October – Conklin (Christina Lake Airstrip, AB Canada)
    Sunwest Dash 8, on landing collided with two deer that suddenly crossed the runway; the aircraft received minor damage to the radome, nose landing gear doors and left propeller;
  • 9 October – Wilmington (NC)
    PSA Airlines CRJ900, during the take-off run hit a coyote that caused damage to the nose gear; the aircraft landed back 30’ later and the flight was cancelled; 
  • 9 October – Rockford (IL)
    UPS B757, bird strike during the approach; minor damage to a landing light; 
  • 11 October – Managua
    American Airlines B737, during the take-off run a vulture impacted an engine causing its failure; immediate return 10’ later; the engine was severely damaged; 
  • 12 October – Orlando (FL)
    American Airlines A321, bird strike during the approach; minor damage; 
  • 13 October – Mombasa (Kenya)
    THY B737, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird;  the crew entered a hold to burn off fuel for about 2.5 hours and landed  back about 2:50 hours after departure; 
  • 14 October – Salt Lake City (UT)
    Delta B737, was climbing through 6000 ft. when a bird impacted the nose of the aircraft; in the absence of any abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination (65’); damage to the radome;
  • 17 October – Leipzig
    Eurowings A320, during the take-off run the crew rejected take-off at high speed; the aircraft was subsequently towed to the apron with the fire engines in trail but was able to depart about 2 hours later.  According to some sources the take-off was rejected due to a bird strike; according to some eye witnesses the aircraft did not hit any birds instead, the TWR instructed the crew to abort the take-off, as a follow-me-driver observed a large flock of birds along the runway;
  • 19 October – Sao Paulo
    LATAM Brazil B777, during the initial climb a bird impacted the right engine; the crew continued the climb up to the cruise flight level but then decided to return to Sao Paulo due to the bird strike, about 3 hours after departure; 

    (The right engine seen after the landing; photo taken from 
  • 20 October – Melbourne
    Virgin Australia B737, during the climb the crew  reported excessive left hand engine vibrations and decided to return to Melbourne advising that an eagle carrying a rabbit had just impacted their #1 engine; the aircraft landed back about 17 minutes after take-off;
  • 20 October – McAllen (TX)
    Mesa Airlines CRJ900, on final approach a bird impacted the nose of the aircraft;  
    the return flight was cancelled; minor damage to the nose cone; 
  • 21 October – Fort Lauderdale (FL)
    Southwest B737, after take-off the aircraft sustained a bird strike to the nose gear; in the absence of abnormal indications, the crew continued the flight until they decided to divert to Baltimore due to a hydraulic leak further to the bird strike onto the nose wheel hydraulic line; 
  • 23 October – Boston
    JetBlue A320, after take-off the crew reported they had a bird strike at the left side that may have impacted the engine, it was probably a flock of sea gulls; during the procedures for completing the checklist and burning off fuel, the weather rapidly deteriorated in Boston and therefore the crew decided to divert to New York JFK. They advised everything appeared to be functioning normally, but maintained the emergency status and wanted emergency services follow them to the gate at JFK where they landed safely about 3:10 hours after departure; 
  • 23 October – Goa (India)
    Indigo A320, was accelerating for takeoff when a stray dog entered the runway prompting the crew to rejected takeoff at high speed (about 150 kts); the aircraft slowed safely but became disabled with a number of main tyres deflating due to brakes overheating; it was able to depart about 2:50 hours later; 
  • 25 October – Seoul (Gimpo)
    Asiana Airlines A321, in the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to stop the climb and land back about 25 minutes after departure;  several fan blades were damaged; 
  • 26 October – Vienna
    Austrian B767, during the initial climb the right engine ingested several birds; the crew initially continued to climb but later landed back after one hour; the flight was cancelled and the passengers were rebooked onto other flights; 
  • 26 October – between Charlotte (NC) and Orlando (FL)
    American Airlines A321,after an uneventful flight an inspection revealed that the aircraft sustained damage to the nose cone as result of a bird strike;
  • 26 October – Salt Lake City
    Delta B757,  during the approach an engine ingested a bird, briefly stalled and recovered;  other aircraft reported seeing a flock of birds around 500 feet AGL; 
  • 29 October – Minneapolis
    Republic Airlines ERJ175, bird strike on final approach; the aircraft sustained minor damage to a windscreen wiper; 
  • 29 October – Coimbatore (India)
    Air Arabia A320, during the approach a bird, reportedly a peacock, impacted 
    the aircraft and penetrated the left  wing root fairing; the aircraft was unable to depart for the return flight and remained on the ground for about 17 hours;  
  • 31 October – Salt Lake City
    Jetblue A320, in the initial climb the crew reported they had received a bird hit; 
    after a first decision  to continue the flight they landed back about 40’ later; reported damage to engines and leading edge of wings;  
  • 2 November – Fukuoka
    JAL B737, during the initial climb at 6000 feet suffered a bird ingestion into the left engine and landed back about 50 minutes after departure; 
  • 3 November – Wellington
    Air New Zealand A320, rejected takeoff at high speed (about 100 knots) due a bird strike affecting an engine; the aircraft was able to depart about one hour after the rejected takeoff;
  • 4 November – Saint Louis (MO)
    Southwest B737, on final a bird impacted an engine cowling causing minor damage;
  • 5 November – Des Moines (MI)
    Endeavor Air CRJ900 on finalapproach the aircraft received a number of bird strikes and sustained substantial damage;
  • 5 November – Washington (DC)
    Southwest B737, on approach received multiple bird strikes that caused damage to the radome and the wings;
  • 5 November, Rhodes
    Ryanair B737, during the acceleration for takeoffthe crew observed a pack of dogs straying onto the runway but was unable to prevent the aircraft hitting one of them;  the crew continued takeoff but landed back about 13 minutes after departure; since a control revealed no damage, the aircraft was released back to service;
  • 5 November – Genoa
    Volotea B717, was accelerating for takeoff when a flock of sea gulls flew up from the runway; one of the birds impacted the right hand windshield prompting the crew to successfully reject takeoff at high speed (about 125 knots over ground); 
  • 7 November – Salt Lake City (UT)
    Jetblue A320, on final approach about 5nm before touchdown a bird impacted the right hand wing causing minor damage;
  • 11 November – Rio Branco (Brazil)
    LATAM A321, during the initial climb a bird hit the aircraft; immediate return 22’ after take off;
  • 12 November -  Vishakhapatnam (India)
    Indigo A320, during the acceleration for takeoff, the crew observed a wild boar on the runway;  being unable to deviate around the boar, the crew decided to rotate the aircraft early but to return to the airport to have the aircraft checked for any possible damage. Given the need to burn fuel, the aircraft landed back after one hour in flight; no damage reported further to the inspection;
  • 14 November – Alghero
    Ryanair B737, during the approach an engine ingested a gull; next flight left with a 6,5 hour delay; 
  • 14 November – Miami (FL)
    American Airlines A319, on approach a goose struck the aircraft and remained embedded in the radome; the aircraft remained on the ground for about 11 hours;

    (The goose hanging off the radome – Photo by Planespottermania Taken from 
  • 15 November – Tampa (FL)
    Southwest B737, bird strike at take-off;  in the absence of any abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination about 2:20 hours later; on arrival an inspection revealed that the aircraft sustained damage to the horizontal stabilizer  which made it unable to continue its schedule;
  • 15 November- Chennai (India)
    an aircraft bound to Ahmedabad, type and airline unkown, suffered a bird strike at 5,500 ft. and was forced to land back;
  • 16 November – Chennai (India)
    Indigo A320, at take off a bird struck the aircraft near the left hand engine prompting the crew to land back about 15’ minutes after departure;damage to a landing light and the leading edge of the wing;
  • 17 November – Philadelphia (PA)
    American Airlines A321, during the initial climb the climb a bird impacted the aircraft; the crew burned off fuel and returned to the departure airport about 2:11 hours after departure; 
    damage to fuselage and flap track; 
  • 18 November - Kathmandu
    Nepal Airlines A320, during the  approach an eagle impacted the nose of the aircraft, momentarily blended with the nose section causing a large dent and dropped off;

    (L’A320 dopo l’atterraggio; foto di SusheelBhattarai tratta da 
  • 18 November - Delhi (India)
    GoAir A320, during the initial climb a bird struck the aircraft prompting the crew to land back about 20’ minutes after departure; the nose of the aircraft sustained damage;
  • 19 November – Johannesburg
    Mango B737, during the initial climb out a bird impacted the left hand engine inlet causing a dent; the crew decided to land back that happened 25’ after departure;

    (The left engine. Photo by Sergio Davids taken from
  • 19 November – Sacramento (CA)
    Horizon Air DHC8, on approach a bird impacted the nose of the aircraft; the aircraft sustained substantial damage;
  • 22 November – San Francisco
    United B737, was accelerating when the crew rejected takeoff at about 90 knots over ground due to a bird strike, probably with a turkey vulture;
  • 22 Novembre – San Francisco
    Skywest ERJ175, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to land back about 10 minutes after departure;
  • 24 November – Coffs Harbour (Australia)
    Sunstate Dash 8, on a final approach a bat impacted the aircraft; 
    the aircraft was unable to continue its next sector; the impacted bat,belonging to the genus Pteropus,is locally known as Flying Foxand can have a wingspan up to 1,80mt. and a weigh up to 1,60 kg.
  • 29 November – Saint Petersburg
    Aeroflot B737, on approach a bird impacted the radome and remained embedded; return flight cancelled;
  • 29 November – Sacramento (CA)
    Southwest B737, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike at the right hand side;  the right hand engine rolled back a little bit and the crew decided to land back 8’ after take off;
  • 1 December – Amsterdam
    Transavia B737, bird strike on landing that does not allow the aircraft to fly the next leg;
  • 3 December – Torreon (Mexico)
    VivaAerobus A320, during the approach flew through a flock of birds and suffered several impacts on the right engine; the aircraft however departed for the next scheduled flight and continued to operate on schedule throughout the rest of the day as well as the following day. Later on the Authority confirmed the right engine sustained unknown damage; the occurrence was rated a serious incident.
  • 4 December – Sacramento (CA)
    Delta A320, during the initial climb at about 1000 ft. flew through a flock of birds and suffered several impacts; the crew decided to land back immediately declaring emergency.An inspection revealed evidence of ingestion in both engines and damage to the left wing slats and the radome;  bird strikesigns were visible on both engines, the windshield, both wings, and the nose; bird carcasses of 11 Snow Geese (Ansercaerulescens) and 1 Ross’ Goose (Anserrossii)involved in the strike have been found later;
  • 6 December – Enschede (Olanda)
    KLM, B747, at least three roe deer crossed the active runway immediately after theaircraft  landing; 

    (The roe deer crossing the runway. Photo by SjoerdDrost taken from
  • 9 December – Spokane (WA)
    United B737, during the approach flew through a flock of birds and suffered multiple impacts; damage to the wings and the tail;
  • 10 December – Oakland (CA)
    Fedex B767, bird strike during the approach; unknown damage;
  • 17 December – Istanbul (Ataturk)
    THY A321, during the initial climb was struck by a bird and landed back 17’ after departure;
  • 22 December – Chennai
    Air Asia A320, rejected take off at low speed further to the ingestion of a bird into the left engine; a number of fan blades found damaged;
  • 31 December – Hamburg
    British Airways A319, on final a bird struck the aircraft destroying one of the pitot tubes; return flight cancelled; 

Accidents and investigation reports: VT-SUC and VH-OLM

The Indian Authority AAIB released the final report ( regarding the investigation on the accident occurred on 4.12.2015 to the aircraft Bombardier Q 400 at the airport of Jabalpur.

During the night landing the aircraft hit a number of wild boars that had entered in the airport and were crossing the runway. The investigation highlighted several breaches in the perimeter wall as well as poor maintenance.

The Australian Authority released the final report ( ) further to the investigation regarding the event of Jan 9 2015, occurred to a SAAB 340 aircraft on Moruya airport. After the landing, a flock of “galhas” took off from the grass west of the runway and impacted the aircraft.  The crew carried out a visual examination but did not identify any damage. However, after the next flight the crew observed that the tip of one of the left propeller blades had detached.

Birds, Courts and passengers' rights

Recently, has been brought to our attention the story of a Polish passenger who complained about the delay of her flight asking for the financial compensation as provided for by the European legislation. The airline claimed that the compensation was not due because the delay was caused by a bird strike, which constitutes an "extraordinary circumstance" that exonerates it from liability, as recently established by a sentence of the European Court of Justice

However, the passenger did not believe in the official version and did not lose heart. She therefore invoked the provision of the art. 5 para. 3 of the European Regulation 261/2004 which lays down an obligation for the carrier to prove the actual occurrence of the extraordinary circumstance, a bird strike in this case. Nothing’s that simple, because it would be enough to produce a copy of the bird strike reporting form that, at least in Europe, all carriers must fill to report the event to the Authority.

But this is where the problems start because the airline objected that such information should be considered confidential, and so did the competent authorities the passenger has so far addressed.  To be honest, they do not deny that eventually an answer could be given but only at the end of long drawn-out procedures and at the discretion of the authority itself that might even refuse.

A first general consideration concerns the alleged extraordinariness of these events that frankly appears incomprehensible even by looking at public statistics, including ours. Bird strikes are, on the contrary, daily events and a delay due to these is the norm. Evidently, judges do not speak the same language used in aviation. And that would not be a novelty.

A second reflection concerns the protection of the passenger’s rights: opposing to those the protection of the airline privacy is even more incomprehensible because we really do not understand what is the good to be protected. A collision with a bird is not a shame to hide, nor an issue that concerns only certain areas or airports. It is a phenomenon unfortunately widely spread and affecting everyone.

It is therefore legitimate to suspect that, under the pretext of the privacy protection, some airlines hide behind the "extraordinary circumstance" other reasons of delay, this time dependent on the airline itself, which would instead result in financial compensation. In other words, to save money on the back of passengers. And this was certainly not the will of the European legislator or, we believe, of the Court of Justice. A well-known Italian politician once said that thinking the worst of someone is a sin, but most of the time you are spot on. 

It’s time to begin fixing all this.

Notice of Proposed Amendment EASA: our comment

The European Agency for the Aviation Safety (EASA) recently proposed to amend the CS-E (certification specifications for engines) to require the applicant to demonstrate the ability of a turbine engine to cope with the ingestion of a medium flocking bird into the engine core and solicited comments on this issue. Cpt. Paul Eschenfelder and Dr. Valter Battistoni (owner and manager of this website) submitted to EASA their observations.

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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