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  #1  
Old 06-10-2012, 05:46 AM
gvouga's Avatar
gvouga gvouga is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 113
Default @#%$& Bird Strike!

So there we were flying a six ship formation demo over Raleigh. We had just turned inbound on our target with smoke on and BOOM a red tailed hawk wanted in on the fun. The ******* obviously wasn't carded or he would have realized that in formation we try to stay on the OUTSIDE of the other planes!

So, I've got my shorts cleaned out, Will home safe, Momma reasonably calm, and the plane secure. Now it's time to start dealing with the logistics of plane recovery and FAA.

What happened -
Flying along fine then in a split second I see a flash of a hawk (CLEARLY) and then all **** broke loose. Stuff was flying around the cockpit pieces of plexi everywhere and LOUD wind. I pulled up and out and immediately started calling birdstrike as I was assessing the condition of the plane. Once I was stable I looked at Will (my young son along for the ride) who was freaking out, but didn't look too busted up. There was blood spattered on my arm and his face, but nothing that was too major looking. Checked my position looked for airports and realized Raleigh was the closest option. I actually considered for the briefest fraction of a second trying to make it to 5W5 (home base) or another GA friendly airport. Quickly decided that was stupid and made a straight line to the closest airport with a decent runway which was RDU. I saw the remaining 5 ship pass under us as we headed for RDU.

I couldn't hear squat in the headset with all the wind, but I yelled on our air to air freq that I'm stable and to let RDU tower know that I'm heading their way. I dialed in 121.5 and started transmitting Mayday and my intentions to land at RDU, but I couldn't hear ****. I realized later that I was transmitting on Radio #1 and not #2 where I dialed in Guard. So I guess I was just yelling at my flight on air-to-air. I got 7700 on the transponder at about 5mi from RDU. Figured I was on the wrong freq at about 3mi final. large chunks of plexi were jamming my left rudder a bit on landing, but it wasn't too bad. Landing was successful. Tower was telling at me to shut it down and get out on the runway and I was arguing that I could just taxi to the ramp. Then they informed me I was on fire and smoking. At which point I realized that my smoke system was still on and informed them of the source of the smoke. The fire guys said that they had orders to soak the plane until I called them off.

Damage -
The front windshield is about 75% gone. Bird parts are everywhere and
large chunks in the baggage compartment. Evidence of part of the bird
on the HS. I didn't see much damage besides the canopy and mess
inside. I really haven't looked too closely yet though.

Injuries -
Will has a few minor scrapes and cuts. A nice v cut on his cheek. I guess this was from plexi, but it could have been bird I guess. No stitches and full use of eyes thank God. I have a few scrapes and a nice puncture wound on my right forearm from a plexi spear. Overall we were very lucky.

The FAA will investigate this as an incident according to the RDU tower guy. I haven't heard from them yet (Monday?) Anything that I should or should not say to the FAA? I'm sure you have all heard the old saying aviation, "I'm with the FAA and here to help you." I think everything (paperwork, handling the emergency, etc.) was done legally to my knowledge, but I don't want to say or do something stupid to cause a problem.

Well, there you have it. I'll post more on this as the situation and pics as it develops. I'll also let you guys know how well AUA insurance and Global Aerospace handle the insurance claim since there has been some discussion lately about them.
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2012, 06:46 AM
noelf noelf is offline
 
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Location: Solomons, MD.
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Default

Relieved you and your son are OK. Great job handling the situation. I heard about the incident from Bandit Lead yesterday at the Asheboro fly-in.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2012, 06:46 AM
bkthomps bkthomps is offline
 
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wow! glad you are okay, sounds like you handled it well
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  #4  
Old 06-10-2012, 06:54 AM
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ronschreck ronschreck is offline
 
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Default Wow

Neon,

So glad you and Will are safe. Hope Robin doesn't ground him because of this. (It was the bird's fault and he will never do it again!) You did a great job, as I expected.
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  #5  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:09 AM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
 
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Good to hear you and Will are OK! The part about the smoke is kinda funny.

One good thing, with the smoke on the tower saw you coming and knew you were in trouble.
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Last edited by N941WR : 06-10-2012 at 07:17 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:17 AM
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turbo turbo is offline
 
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Location: Stuart, FL /Hartford, CT/Virgin Gorda,BVI
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greg, glad you both are ok! you handled it well.

my thoughts on bird strikes. they are my biggest concern when out flying. they come out of no where in an instant and can take you out. i have had many close calls here in florida.

this may have put me over the top on painting my spinner 2/3 black to try and help deter these critters.

ps, had a declared emergency this week myself in my gyro. while departing a local airpark my left main came off because of an improper weld of the axil. i couldnt believe my eyes. after burning off most off the fuel i landed as slow as possible and stopped upright. i definitely was talking to my copilot and it is a single seater.

best to you and your son.
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  #7  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:26 AM
noelf noelf is offline
 
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Location: Solomons, MD.
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Greg, I live about 15 minutes from RDU, so if you need any help, let me know.

Also, I still have the first canopy (that I cracked during drilling). It is a tip-up. It may be possible to temporarily attach/bond/screw that canopy over top of your shattered canopy for a slow flight back to you home base. Let me know...
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:52 AM
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Skykingbob Skykingbob is offline
 
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Greg......glad to hear the positive outcome! Glad you stuck to the RDU decision!
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2012, 08:27 AM
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L.Adamson L.Adamson is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvouga View Post
The FAA will investigate this as an incident according to the RDU tower guy. I haven't heard from them yet (Monday?) Anything that I should or should not say to the FAA? I'm sure you have all heard the old saying aviation, "I'm with the FAA and here to help you." I think everything (paperwork, handling the emergency, etc.) was done legally to my knowledge, but I don't want to say or do something stupid to cause a problem.
With my "incident" landing, the NTSB was first notified, and then the FAA followed up. It wasn't anything to worry about.

L.Adamson
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2012, 08:38 AM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Congratulations on getting all the parts back on the ground safely - most importantly you and your son! here's hoping for no lasting scars. I think your point about leaving the smoke on is interesting - it shows the total focus you had on flying the airplane to a safe landing - very good.

A bird strike in formation is one of the reasons I stay away from large formation flying in light planes ....it's hard to know where everything is going to go in an instant. What if it had been a flock? That is a risk that you have to evaluate for acceptance (or not) when committing to that kind of flight.

Good luck getting the airplane home and back together - I predict you'll have plenty of help in that part of the world once the call goes out.

Paul
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Last edited by Mike S : 06-10-2012 at 02:10 PM.
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