Aviation trivia: How can a bird hit damage a jet worth millions of dollars?

Bird attacks pose a serious hazard to aircraft, frequently forcing emergency landings and occasionally even resulting in deaths. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has issued instructions for conducting routine patrols to keep an eye on animals, birds, and other wildlife activities surrounding the airport in response to the recent surge in occurrences of bird attacks. The aviation watchdog asked air carriers to find the loopholes and rigorously adhere to the rules in the area around the airport. But what occurs when a bird strikes a jet costing millions of dollars?

Where do bird collisions happen?

Prior to answering the “how” portion of the question, it is crucial to realise that bird strikes frequently happen close to airports. Specifically, the birds or animals strike the aircraft while it is nearer the ground, which occurs during takeoff, landing, low-altitude cruising, or as the aircraft is still rising or falling. Because certain bird species prefer to fly high, they occasionally even happen at elevations as high as 4,500 m or even 7,290 m.

What harm may a bird hit do to a plane?

It is simple to understand, using the principles of physics, how the weight and speed of a bird affect the amount of damage it causes to a plane. The damage to the plane is directly inversely related to the bird’s weight and speed.

It goes without saying that bird attacks typically result in harm to the aircraft’s forward-facing parts, including the glass, nose cone, and engines. Although bird hits to the nose cone might seriously harm the aircraft, they seldom result in a flight cancellation. A broken windscreen might cause a loss of cabin pressure, requiring a detour to a nearby airport. Windscreen damage is more catastrophic.

If the bird becomes trapped in the plane’s engine—a condition known as jet engine ingestion—things might become worse. If the engine is seriously damaged in this situation, an emergency landing at the closest airfield may be required.


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