Bird strike at Adelaide Airport

Breaking News

I heard on local radio a few minutes ago that a plane taking off this morning from Adelaide Airport had to make an emergency landing a few minutes after take-off. The report stated that the plane had hit a flock of Galahs. The plane landed safely and no-one was hurt. How much damage there was to the engine was not stated. No mention of how many galahs died in the strike.

Bird strikes on planes have been a perpetual problem since planes took to the air. Many thousands – perhaps millions – of birds have been killed in this way. Most major airports have programmes in place to deal with this threat to airline safety. These attempts at restricting bird numbers at airports have met with varied amounts of success.

I guess that a Galah going through a jet engine has the potential to do a great deal of damage, especially to the poor Galah. When flying one has to put such things out of one’s mind. No use dwelling on the “what ifs.”

I suppose it has happened though I’ve never heard of a plane hitting a Pelican. These large birds would do considerable damage to a plane. Pelicans are known to fly at very high altitudes here in Australia, up to 3000 metres and more.

Even more worrying would be to hit an emu. Now – I know what you are thinking – emus don’t fly. Correct. Many of our country bush airstrips have the potential to have these large solid birds running across the runway on take-off or landing. Hitting an emu in a small plane could be nasty – for the plane. Most emus are so tough they’d probably just give a shake of the feathers and keep on running!

I wouldn’t like to put it to the test though.


Apparently there have been no less than three incidents involving planes and EMUS in recent years. For an article about bird strikes on planes in Australia click here.


4 Responses to “Bird strike at Adelaide Airport”

  1. Sim' says:

    Just remember when testing planes for bird-strike resistance, to thaw the chickens!

  2. Trevor says:

    Ha! Ha! Yeah – I like that story! I’ve got good value out of it over the years.

  3. Bruce Cartwright says:

    Our resident plane designers – Hawker de Havilland in Melbourne – are currently designing aircraft components for Boeing that must withstand critical birdstrikes.

    A bloke from Hawker de Havilland made an impressive presentation at a conference on composite materials (see link below) that showed the criticial components of Boeings new aircraft are being designed from composite materials like carbon fibre to withstand impact with birds.

    They do some of their testing with real birds in the US (where else), but use numerical birds for other testing – a bit like crash-testing of cars before they build a real one and drive it into a concrete block.

    Good to see we Aussies can show the yanks a thing or two!!


  4. Trevor says:

    Thanks for adding to the conversation on this issue Bruce. There is far more to say than what I have included in my little article, of course, so it is good to get some insight from someone like yourself.

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