Monday, March 10, 2008

Bird strike damages radome on Delta Air Lines MD-88

Delta Airline MD88On the afternoon of February 18, 2008, a Delta Air Lines MD-88 aircraft was damaged when it struck a large bird while on approach to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Austin, TX). The aircraft, operating as Delta Flight DAL1877, was in the descent phase of a scheduled flight to Austin from Atlanta when the incident happened. There were no injuries to the five crew members and 135 passengers on board.

A preliminary incident report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says:
According to the captain, the airplane was at an altitude of 2,500, and at an airspeed of 210 knots, when he and the first officer saw two large birds in front of the airplane. Moments later one of the birds struck the bottom right side of the radome.

The impact resulted in airframe vibrations; however, both engine indications remained normal. The first officer then declared an emergency and the captain informed the passengers about what had happened since it was "obvious we had collided with something."

The airplane landed uneventfully, and once clear of the runway, the captain asked the airport's rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) personnel to assess the damage. They reported the impact area was "quite large with the bird imbedded into the radome."

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety inspectors performed an on-scene examination of the airplane. According to an inspector, the bird struck the lower right hand corner of the radome (as viewed from the cockpit). As a result, the glide slope antenna mount, the lower nose-web, and outer fuselage skin was damaged. In addition, the forward bulkhead (non-pressurized) fuselage rib was torn. Blood was also observed on the right engine's nacelle; however, an inspection of the first and second stage blades revealed no damage. [NTSB ID: DFW08IA073]
For more photos of the aircraft, and a statement from a passenger who was on board the flight, visit this article on the Flightstory Aviation Blog.

Tip of the hat to Michael at Flightstory for posting the photos there.

[Photo Source]