Second plane grounded over bird strike

Second plane grounded over bird strike

Two birds strikes in just 24 hours? What is going on, Australia?

Virgin Australia yesterday became the second airline in 24 hours to make an emergency landing after being struck by a bird.

According to the ABC, a Virgin plane bound for Proserpine was struck by a bird shortly after taking off from Brisbane.

It follows AirAsia X’s incident where two birds apparently got caught in the engine, causing loud bangs and sparks to fly out of the plane just an hour into the flight.

In a statement, a Virgin Australia spokesperson said the pilot made the decision to divert the flight as a precaution.

“In line with standard operating procedures, the aircraft has been reviewed by engineers,” he said.

It is believed, per the ABC, that the bird didn’t hit the engine, but in fact flew into the windscreen.

Poor birdy!

Passengers were placed onto another flight and the aircraft has been cleared for service.

In line with my suspicious Alfred Hitchcock ‘The Birds’ theory, however, and apparently bird strikes are on the rise. Coincidence?

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said a report released in February showed that the number of bird strikes has risen quite dramatically since 2014-15.

Per ABC, the largest levels were found in Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

In the decade to 2015, bird strikes rose 47 per cent, which seems massive, however the ATSB thinks it’s probably got something to do with the mammoth growth in high capacity flights taking off in that period.

All up, between 2006 and 2015, 16,069 bird strikes were reported to the bureau. Anyone else getting paranoid?

According to the ABC, Strategic Aviation Solutions chairman Neil Hansford, who consults with commercial airlines and airports, was a bit iffy about the whole AirAsia bird strike thing.

A number of passengers were reported saying they felt the plane vibrating unusually prior to take-off.

“When it tried to take off, the engine rattled a lot. It rattled more than usual. And I was sitting with Eric and we were like, something’s wrong,” passenger Calvin Boon said, per ABC.

“If I look at the engine here, there’s blades missing, which I find a little suspicious, and I also find suspicious the fact that the airline is saying that they’ve found carcasses on the runway,” Hansford told ABC.

The incident follows a separate incident last week, which saw another Kuala Lumpur-bound plane turned back to Perth after it started shaking “like a washing machine”, per passenger reports.

But Phil Shaw from Avisure, a company employed to keep birds off the runway at Gold Coast Airport, confirmed bird remains were found on the runway.

“There [are] remnants found on the runway, from the evidence so far it would suggest it is very likely to be a bird strike of some sort,” he said.

Gold Coast Airport also released a statement claiming AirAsia X’s flight “experienced a suspected bird strike shortly after take-off”.

“Gold Coast Airport has developed and implemented an extensive wildlife management program,” it added.

“The airport also has a long-standing relationship with a leading bird strike management specialist, providing technical advice and assistance in active management of wildlife at the airport.”

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

airasia x Australian Transport Safety Bureau bird strike brisbane gold coast virgin australia

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