News and Magazine

  • An interesting video shows a RAF Typhoon avoiding striking birds on final approach at RAF Coningsby.
  • Bird strikes are a significant threat to air traffic around the world and can cause serious incidents.
  • Military aircraft are more exposed, since they often fly at lower altitudes and higher speeds.

The video in this article was taken at RAF Coningsby on September 20, 2022. It shows a Royal Air Force Typhoon involved in pattern activity and turning on final for runway 25 after a touch and go.

But, established on final, the pilot spots two birds in front of the jet and performs an evasive maneuver to avoid a birdstrike.

The maneuver is successful as the aircraft, despite the configuration, is pretty agile and the engines provide a lot of thrust for the subsequent recovery and go around.

Bird strikes pose a significant threat to military (and commercial) traffic all around the world, a threat that can cause serious incidents, especially when the collision occurs with a large bird, a flock, and the impact damages the canopy, the control surfaces or the engines, and the aircraft is taking off or landing.

Bird strikes are relatively rare in commercial aviation. Still, because of them, the Civilian Aviation suffers an average $1.2 billion USD damages each year.

Military aviation is even more exposed to the risk, since aircraft fly often at lower altitudes (where more birds can be found) and higher speeds (which make reaction time shorter and avoidance much difficult). While, they don’t always cause the full loss of an aircraft, bird strikes can cause significant damage. Need some examples?

First one: we have recently reported about the birdstrike suffered by Red 6 as the Red Arrows were performing their display at Rhyl Air Show in the afternoon on August 28, 2022. As shown by the photos taken near Hawarden Airport, the airfield used for the team’s Rhyl displays, the canopy of the jet was smashed forcing the aircraft to declare an in-flight emergency and land as soon as possible.

Second one: in March 2021, an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to VFA-106 experienced a bird strike during a training mission out of Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, California.

Neither the pilot nor the RIO aboard the two-seater “Rhino” (as the aircraft is nicknamed within the Navy community) were injured following the mishap, but the post-flight inspection highlighted serious damages to both the air intake and engine. As a consequence, the mishap was labeled a Class A damage, the most severe one, meaning a damage of at least 2.5M USD or the total loss of an aircraft.

We could continue with several more events, but the point is clear. Anyway, although they are not uncommon at all, bird strikes and (especially) avoided ones, are more rarely caught on camera.

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