There were two instances of Indian planes having to make emergency landings yesterday following bird strikes to the engines. In both cases, the plane landed safely with no passenger injuries.
SpiceJet from Patna
The first bird strike affected a SpiceJet 737-800 departing the Jay Prakash Narayan Airport in Patna. Flight SG-725 was carrying 185 passengers bound for Delhi. Engine number 1 was taken out by a bird on take-off during rotation, causing dramatic flames to spew out of the engine. Passenger footage of the incident can be seen below:
The airport received several calls from locals who spotted the engine blaze from the ground. After discovering the issue, Captain Monica Khanna switched off the affected engine and turned the plane back around to land at Patna. No passengers were harmed as a result of the event.
IndiGo From Guwahati
The second flight to be affected on Sunday was an IndiGo A320neo departing from Guwahati. Also bound for Delhi, flight 6E-6394 suffered a suspected bird strike whilst at an altitude of 1,600 feet, damaging its number 1 engine. The pilots declared PAN PAN, the standard urgency signal, before safely returning to the airport. Damage to the aircraft’s turbine can be seen below:
Season for Bird Strikes
the summer monsoon season is now starting in India, which usually brings more bird activity. The season generally lasts from June until September, though the dates vary depending on where you are in the country.
Bird strikes are relatively common at airports in urban areas of India. The problem is worse in cities with poor waste management, as the open drains attract insects, which in turn attract birds. According to India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, there were 1,466 bird strike incidents and 29 animal strike incidents last year.
In any case, pilots are well trained to deal with such events, and modern aircraft can operate on a single-engine in case one is taken out by a bird.