In a span of 24 hours during this month alone, a suspected bird strike forced two Queensland flights to turn around.
The latest was a Virgin Australia flight bound for Proserpine whose windscreen might have collided with a bird or a flock of birds, forcing the pilot to return to Brisbane Airport as a precautionary measure.
It followed an AirAsia X jet that also turned around after its engine was damaged by a suspected bird strike.
Planes Are No Match for Birds
In a mid-air collision between a megaton plane and a bird, the plane would always turn tail and retreat, especially if the bird hit the bullseye, which is the plane’s engine.
According to a report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in February 2017, there has been a significant increase in the level of bird strikes in high capacity operations in 2014-2015.
The cities that reported the highest incidence of bird strike are Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
The ATSB is investigating the engine failure of the AirAsia X jet, but not the incident with the Virgin Australia flight.
According to many passengers of the Kuala Lumpur-bound flight, the plane was vibrating more than usual prior to takeoff. This prompted an aviation expert to suspect the explanation from AirAsia X, as airports spend a lot of money to clear airstrips of birds as much as possible.
However, the dead birds found on the runway would suggest the damaged engine is likely a result of a bird strike of some sort.
Bird strikes: Two flights from Queensland grounded after impact by birds – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). (4 July 2017).