Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smithsonian confirms Canada Goose remains in downed US Airways A320

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced today that the bird remains found in both engines of the US Airways A320 that ditched in the Hudson River last month were indeed those of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). The identification was made by the Smithsonian Institution's Feather Identification Laboratory, "through DNA analysis as well as through morphological comparisons in which feather fragments were compared with Canada Goose specimens in the museum's collections."

In a press release, the NTSB said:
A total of 25 samples of bird remains have been examined as of today. Additional analysis will be conducted on samples
received from the NTSB to attempt to determine if the Canada Geese were resident or migratory. While no determination has been made about how many birds the aircraft struck or how many were ingested into the engines, an adult Canada Goose typically ranges in size from 5.8 to 10.7 pounds, however larger individual resident birds can exceed published records.

The accident aircraft was powered by two CFM56-5B/P turbofan engines. The bird ingestion standard in effect when this engine type was certified in 1996 included the requirement that the engine must withstand the ingestion of a four-pound bird without catching fire, without releasing hazardous fragments through the engine case, without generating loads high enough to potentially compromise aircraft structural components, or without losing the capability of being shut down. The certification standard does not require that the engine be able to continue to generate thrust after ingesting a bird four pounds or larger.
US Airways Flight 1549 was en route from New York-LaGuardia to Charlotte when it encountered the geese shortly after departure. The bird strike resulted in a loss of thrust in both of the aircraft's engines. The aircraft was successfully ditched in the Hudson River, and all 150 passengers and five crew members on board were rescued.

RELATED: Click here to view all posts about US Airways Flt 1549 on Aircrew Buzz.