A bird strike also described as bird ingestion or bird aircraft strike hazard is a collision between an airborne animal (usually a bird) and a moving vehicle, usually an aircraft where birds are ingested in the aircraft engine usually causing damage to the aircraft as in Aero’s case which was the aircraft blade.
Captain Nuhu who expressed his view on the incident in a phone conversation said that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-500 with the registration number 5N-BKR, was heading to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja before the incident on Monday afternoon.
Nuhu explained that the pilot made a circuit and returned to base within eight minutes after the incident, maintaining that the action of the pilot was in order.
The aircraft had departed PHIA for Abuja with 91 souls onboard; 85 passengers and six crew members at 2:06pm and returned to base at 2:14pm.
According to him, the incident led to the damage of the aircraft’s blade, stressing that the airline’s engineers were currently fixing the damage part of the aircraft.
Nuhu explained further that Aero Contractors brought another aircraft to airlift the passengers to Abuja within 90 minutes of the incident, stressing that the damaged part of the aircraft was undergoing repairs in Port Harcourt.
He said: “Boeing 737-500 aircraft with the registration number: 5N-BKR belonging to Aero Contractors departed Port Harcourt to Abuja, but, during takeoff, it had a bird strike and the pilot continued the take-off, made a circuit and returned to land.
“That is what is supposed to be done. Pilots are trained for that. At the point he had the bird strike, he could not abort the takeoff. So, he continued with the takeoff and returned to base. They restarted the engine and discovered that some parts of the blades were damaged. Within 90 minutes, Aero Contractors came with a different aircraft to rescue the passengers.
“As we speak, maintenance is going on to fix the damaged blade and when they finish, NCAA inspectors will inspect it and certify it if all the parameters; engines, blades and others are okay, they will be released for flight.”