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  #1  
Old 03-15-2020, 06:55 AM
Ed_Wischmeyer's Avatar
Ed_Wischmeyer Ed_Wischmeyer is offline
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,576
Default Avoid or accept a bird strike?

So yesterday I'm trucking along on final approach in the RV-9A, 350 ft AGL, 80 knots (fast because I'm cleared for a long landing), when this stupid turkey vulture decides not to abide by the right of way rules. Having practiced vigorous low speed maneuvers in advance, I achieved a 55° bank and 13° nose down, recovering at about 200 ft AGL. Digital data after the fact showed that I had plenty of margin in airspeed, AOA, and g load for a more vigorous recovery to avoid hitting the ground, had that been required. In any case, that bird avoidance commanded my full attention.

In many other airplanes, I most likely would not have attempted this frisky maneuvering. But this raises the question -- when do you accept a bird strike vs when do you maneuver vigorously to avoid it? Seems to me that if the. bird strike is going to be on the wing, you'd accept it and fly on. If the bird strike is on the windshield, you might maneuver more vigorously. And like an engine failure right after takeoff, maybe this is something to be considered in advance.

Once, in a C172, I hit a duck on short final (me, that is, don't know about the duck) on the wing and there was no noticeable effect on handling. A C172RG in that same flying club hit another duck at higher speed and the shredded duck came to rest in the back of the cabin. That plane landed fine, and there are youtube videos of light planes surviving bird strikes to the windshield. But I always wear glasses in the plane for at least minimal eye protection, and my vision is good enough that I can fly just fine without glasses -- except for maybe wind blast.

Put on your CFI hats for a moment -- what would you teach a student pilot to do?
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Last edited by Ed_Wischmeyer : 03-16-2020 at 04:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2020, 07:55 AM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 2,732
Default Birds

It has been my experience the birds will almost always dive if they see you...

It is also kind of bird dependent as to what to do; a turkey vulture presents a great deal more risk than a sparrow...
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:10 AM
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PaulvS PaulvS is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 781
Default Avoid

I'm not sure if it is possible to predict which part of the airplane will be hit, plus it can all happen so quickly.

I was recently at 2,500 ft agl and 140 knots when a wedgetail eagle converged from the 2 o'clock position. They are territorial and fearless. I was taught to avoid by banking and showing the aircraft profile, which is what I did, but I was surprised at how quickly we closed in on each other.

If any part of an RV is struck by something that weighs 5-10 pounds, at that speed, I think it would be serious, though manoeuvering and over-stressing the airframe could also be a risk.

I think the key lesson is to keep a good lookout at all times.
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Last edited by PaulvS : 03-15-2020 at 09:05 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:21 AM
swjohnsey swjohnsey is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Kingsville, TX
Posts: 391
Default

I was told it is OK to fly over buzzards but never under them.
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:23 AM
bobnoffs bobnoffs is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: n. wi
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Default

I think I would take the hit. I would rather recover from that than a steep banked dive at 200 feet.For me anyway bird encounters happen so fast I really haven't had time to react. Good flying on your part but there would have been no recovery from a stall.
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:25 AM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Location: North Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
I was told it is OK to fly over buzzards but never under them.
That is the avoidance method that seems to work best at our airport that is a couple of miles from a large wildlife management area populated with thousands of waterfowl.
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:35 AM
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plehrke plehrke is online now
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defiance, MO
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Default

Additional dimension to the problem is airports around here are typically on river flood wet lands. This means flocks of birds from blackbirds to Canadian geese. Very hard to try and plan where to take the strike with a flock of a dozen Canadian geese approach at 160 kts.

It is very hard to resist doing a hard maneuver to avoid a bird strike as the natural reaction is to pull and bank. I would think the best practice near the ground would be to continue with approach to avoid uncontrolled flight into the ground. I always remember what I read a while ago that the animal that kills the most humans in car accident is . . . wait for it . . . deer, Not with hitting the deer, but with avoiding the deer and running off he road.
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  #8  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:49 AM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Wichita KS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_Wischmeyer View Post

Put on your CFI hats for a moment -- what would you teach a student pilot to do?
Both the bird strikes I've had happened so fast that I had no time to even think about it.

I expect that this isn't a one size fits all approach, but personally I would never teach a student to try to out maneuver a bird. Especially close to the ground.

It seems like the same thing as teaching a kid to drive and telling them that they should try to swerve to avoid hitting a squirrel. The chance of creating a catastrophe are much greater than the chance of avoiding one.
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  #9  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:50 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
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Default

I love making agressive manuevers like this. However, not sure that I would do so at 80 kts and 300 AGL. I would likely do a manuever, just not sure how aggressive I would be with it. This is a good thinking exercise to go through though.

Larry
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  #10  
Old 03-15-2020, 08:59 AM
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BobbyLucas BobbyLucas is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Belleville, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
It is also kind of bird dependent as to what to do; a turkey vulture presents a great deal more risk than a sparrow...
How about a 5 oz swallow carrying a 1 lb coconut?
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