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    Bird Strikes JetBlue Plane On LB Airport Take Off, Crew Hears Sound Consistent With Bird Ingested Into Engine; Crew Trained For Such Events & Brings Plane Safely Back To Airport

    (Dec. 26, 2006, with background added) -- A JetBlue flight taking off from LB Airport at about 10:45 a.m., bound for Oakland, experienced a sound consistent with a bird ingested into one of its engines...and applying training for such events, the JetBlue crew made a safe return landing about half an hour later at LB Airport.

    LBFD crews were deployed and on-scene (standard in such circumstances) but fortunately ended up being precautionary only. JetBlue spokesperson Jenny Dervin tells that flight 244's crew responded as trained. They brought the aircraft to about 3,000 feet, assessed the situation, determined what happened was consistent with a bird strike and elected to return to LB Airport, she said.

    The flight landed safely at LB Airport about half an hour after take-off...and went to the gate under its own power, Ms. Dervin said...adding that the 154 customers and six crewmembers aboard were moved to another aircraft for the flight to Oakland.


    Bird strikes are a serious matter...and the FAA has bird abatement policies that apply to all airports nationwide.

    LB Airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson says LB Airport hasn't had many bird strikes...and LGB does have specific bird abatement policies in place. She added that the Airport was involved in the design of upgrades to the Skylinks Golf Course regarding the type of trees and water sources to avoid attracting birds as much as possible. Ms. Diggs-Jackson said the airport is involved in a similar way regarding elements of the coming Douglas Park development.

    An 2005 FAA Manual, Wildlife Hazard Management At Airports, cites selected examples of wildlife strikes.

    It notes that in 1912, a gull vs. plane strike took the life Calbraith Rogers at Long Beach. Rogers, who was the first person to fly across the continental USA, became the the first person to die in a wildlife aircraft strike; a gull hit his plane and it crashed into the surf, pinning Rogers...who drowned. [Photo source: FAA report, supra, crediting Smithsonian Institution.]

    Some more contemporary examples:

    [FAA Manual text]

  • 21 January 2001. An MD-11 departing Portland International Airport (Oregon) ingested a herring gull into the #3 engine during the takeoff run. The engine stall blew off the nose cowl that was sucked back into the engine and shredded. The engine had an uncontained failure. The pilot aborted takeoff and blew two tires. The 217 passengers were safely deplaned and rerouted to other flights. Smithsonian Feather Lab identified bird.

  • 09 March 2002. A Canadair RJ 200 at Dulles International Airport (Virginia) struck two wild turkeys during the takeoff roll. One shattered the windshield spraying the cockpit with glass fragments and remains. Another hit the fuselage and was ingested. There was a 14-by 4-inch section of fuselage skin damaged below the windshield seal on the flight officer’s side. The cost of repairs was estimated at $200,000. Time out of service was at least 2 weeks.

  • 19 October 2002. A Boeing 767 departing Logan International Airport (Massachusetts) encountered a flock of over 20 double-crested cormorants. At least 1 cormorant was ingested into the #2 engine. There were immediate indications of engine surging followed by compression stall and smoke from the engine. The engine was shutdown. An overweight landing with one engine was made without incident. The nose cowl was dented and punctured. There was significant fan blade damage with abnormal engine vibration. One fan blade was found on the runway. The aircraft was towed to the ramp. Hydraulic lines were leaking, and several bolts were sheared off inside engine. Many pieces fell out when the cowling was opened. The aircraft was out of service for 3 days. The cost of repairs was $1.7 million.

  • 17 February 2004. A Boeing 757 during a takeoff run from Portland International Airport (Oregon) hit five mallards and returned with one engine out. At least one bird was ingested, and parts of five birds were collected from the runway. Engine damage was not repairable, and the engine had to be replaced. The cost was $2.5 million, and time out of service was 3 days.

  • 15 April 2004. An Airbus 319 climbing out of Portland International Airport (Oregon) ingested a great blue heron into the #2 engine, causing extensive damage. The pilot shut the engine down as a precaution and made an emergency landing. The runway was closed 38 minutes for cleaning. The flight was cancelled. The engine and nose cowl were replaced. Time out of service was 72 hours. The damage totaled $388,000.

  • 16 September 2004. A MD 80 departing Chicago O’Hare (Illinois) hit several double-crested cormorants at 3,000 feet AGL and 4 miles from airport. The #1 engine caught fire and failed, sending metal debris to the ground in a Chicago neighborhood. The aircraft made an emergency landing back at O’Hare with no injuries to the 107 passengers.

    (Photo above from FAA Manual showing MD 80's engine after it hit several cormorants leaving Chicago O'Hare)

  • 24 October 2004. A Boeing 767 departing Chicago O’Hare (Illinois) hit a flock of birds during the takeoff run. A compressor stall caused the engine to flame out. A fire department got calls from local residents who reported seeing flames coming from the plane. The pilot dumped approximately 11,000 gallons of fuel over Lake Michigan before returning to land. Feathers found in engine were sent to the Smithsonian, Division of Birds, for identification.

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