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The best kept secrets of airplanes - Air Horizont - Private Charter Flights

09/15/2023 by Juan Luis Diez, Air Horizont CEO and pilot

The term "bird strike" refers to "any contact between a moving aircraft and a bird or a flock of birds"a phenomenon much more common than it might seem.

Every year, some 12,000 bird strikes occur worldwide, with takeoff and landing being the most critical moments.

A bird strike successfully managed by Air Horizont with no damages

Precisely, at Air Horizont, we recently faced a bird strike that, thanks to the preparation and expertise of the commander, was solved without major complications, as detailed below.as detailed below.

Last April 23, during take-off at the German airport of Braunschweig - Wolfsburg, one of our aircraft, registration 9H-MPW, was leaving for London (Stansted) with the Arsenal women's soccer team on board, when the left engine absorbed a bird that crossed the runway.

At that moment, and when the aircraft was at about 150 miles per hour, a loud bang was heard inside the aircraft.At that moment, and when the aircraft was at about 240 km/hour, a sharp bang was heard inside the aircraft, product of the bird's ingestion by the engine and a subsequent flash after it, as could be seen in the photograph taken by an amateur.

The crew immediately performed a take-off abort (reject take-off) and proceeded to return to the terminal under their own power. (reject take-off), proceeding to return to the terminal by their own means, where the passengers disembarked normally without any other incident, except for a scare due to the sudden braking. No personal injuries were reported and we ourselves arranged alternative transportation for the team the following day.

After the event, a thorough inspection was carried out and some parts were found to be damaged, which led to the decision to replace the affected engine.

When pilot skills and training are the key to success

It should be noted that all crews undergo recurrent training every 6 months, where they practice different maneuversThey practice different maneuvers that are not usual but may eventually occur, as in the case of a collision with a bird. In short, pilots are prepared to deal with this type of eventualities (we all remember the landing of the (we all remember the landing of a US Airways plane on the Hudson River in 2009, when a collision with a flock of geese after takeoff caused a double engine shutdown).

In fact, the English press, given the relevance of the passage on board, echoed the event, with congratulations to the good work of the crew in the words of Arsenal's expedition chief W.F.C.

Air Horizont's management congratulates our crew, who were able to handle the situation without further incident, demonstrating great professionalism, the result of experience and continuous training, both personal and collective.

How can airports minimize bird strike cases?

Aware of the problem posed by the passage of birds in the vicinity of airports, many measures are used to minimize bird strikes as much as possible. Some of them include:

  • Use of sounds: Sound cannons, sirens and loudspeakers are used to scare birds away.
  • Reflectors: can cause bird disorientation to prevent them from approaching the airport.
  • Nets: arranged in critical areas of the airport, they help prevent birds from flying into certain spaces.
  • Falconry: the use of predators, such as hawks or eagles, to scare off smaller birds.
  • Control of habitat and the airport environment itself: the aim is to control the natural environment around the airport, avoiding the creation of ponds or crops that could attract birds and, of course, avoiding the accumulation of garbage.
  • LED lights: red and blue LED lights are capable of scaring birds away from and causing them to continue their flight in the opposite direction, according to a Purdue University study.

We would like to end this article by reminding you that the airplane is the safest means of transportation in the world and that aircrafts include more and more innovations in safety and navigation systems. On the other hand, and just as important, the crew, from the first to the last person on board, is prepared to face a wide variety of emergency situations successfully.


So, when you board your next flight, you can relax and be confident that you will be accompanied by the best professionals (as well as bearing in mind, of course, that it is usual and expected that any flight will take place without any kind of incident, however small it may be).


See you on board!

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Reasons to be proud... - Air Horizont - Private Charter Flights

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