Bird strike causes plane to make emergency landing

November 11, 2010 8:55:37 PM PST
A flight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh had to turn around and make an emergency landing Thursday afternoon when a bird flew into one of the plane's engines.

US Airways flight 739 took off just before 4:00 p.m., then something happened.

That something is called a bird strike, a collision between a bird and a plane that forced Flight 739 to turn back to Philadelphia International Airport.

"I usually try to gauge based off of the crew. And they all seemed pretty calm so I think everyone else stayed calm as well," passenger Eris Symms said.

At 4:07, the flight with 140 passengers and 5 crewmembers was safely back on the ground. They disembarked and later boarded a different plane to try again.

Jim Brengle, a pilot and aviation attorney, explained to Action News that bird strikes aren't routine, but they do happen.

Most notably, one occurred resulting in the Miracle on the Hudson, which thrust bird strikes into the spotlight.

Passengers stood on the wings of a US Airways flight on the Hudson River after a flock of Canada geese disabled the plane minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia. That bird strike took out both engines.

For Flight 739, only one engine was affected.

Pilots are trained to react.

"The pilot will shut down the engine, what we would call a routine single engine landing in a double engine plane. That's pretty much what it appears this pilot did," Brengle said.

Flight 739 eventually landed in Pittsburgh just after 7:00 p.m. this evening. They were on a different plane and they were two hours late, but most importantly they were safe.


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