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Canadian Geese + Cessna Citation = $$$$$

by John M. White |

For over 30 years I owned and operated an aviation insurance agency here in Michigan, and during that time a number of my clients had accidents, both simple and complex.  One of my clients owned and operated a pair of Cessna Citation II's which were crewed by excellent, well trained crews who had an excellent safety record.

Between the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula of Michigan lies a beautiful island called Mackinac Island, and on this island there are no automobiles, only horse drawn carriages.  In addition to being a tourist destination the island also is host to a number of conferences for businesses and therefore a destination for corporate aircraft on occasion.  Click on image to enlarge

The airport is not that large, but certainly capable of handling Citation class aircraft.  On this particular morning my client was departing the airport when a flock of Canadian geese swooped across the airport just as the aircraft was about to rotate and one of the aircraft wings was struck by one of these geese.

Fortunately there was enough room to abort the takeoff safely and keep the aircraft on the ground.  Upon examination the crew noticed that the leading edge of the wing had a basketball sized dimple which had split the wet wing which now leaked fuel.  A sure disaster had been avoided.

While it is unusual for birds to bring an aircraft down, bird strikes are not all that unusual.  I recall a number of years ago a Lear Jet struck a flock of geese on a landing approach and one of the birds went through the windshield killing the co-pilot.  If you have ever seen a jet aircraft windshield you would know that they are very thick and it would take an immense amount of force for an object to go through one.

Hopefully this accident on the Hudson River will create enough interest to allow airports to take actions to remove geese and other large birds from their operating environment without resistance from environmentalist who protect everything except our fellow citizens.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


The three worst things to hear in the cockpit:
The second officer says, "Oh shit!"
The first officer says, "I have an idea!"
The captain say, "Hey, watch this!"

— anon

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