The horror incident happened as the Irish registered Ryanair flight approached an Italian airport
Disaster was narrowly avoided as a Ryanair jet slammed into a runway after a flock of birds were sucked into the engines. The horror incident happened as the Irish registered Ryanair flight was approaching Ciampino Airport in Rome 6.55am. The aircraft lost power and as pilots fought to save the Boeing 737 along with its 166 passengers and six crew, they could not manoeuvre around the flock of starlings.
The report by Italian air accident investigators found that the airport did not have adequate prevention measures against bird strikes. The report, which took 10 years to complete, after the November 10, 2008 incident, found: “The accident has been caused by an unexpected loss of both engines thrust as a consequence of a massive bird strike, during the go-around manoeuvre.
(Image: REUTERS/Chris Helgren)
“The loss of thrust has prevented the aircrew from performing a successful go around and has led the aircraft to an unstabilised runway contact. The following factors have contributed to the event: the inadequate effectiveness of bird control and dispersal measures put in place by the airport operator at the time of the accident; The captain decision to perform a go around, when the aircraft was at approximately 7 seconds from touchdown.”
The incident happened just nine miles or seven seconds from touch down after travelling from Frankfurt to Rome. The aircraft suddenly struck a “thick flock of birds, later identified as starlings” and immediately lost power. The pilots attempted to launch a go-around to save the aircraft but the engines were so badly damaged by the 86 separate bird impacts. The 737 could not climb away and “rapidly lost speed and height, hitting the runway heavily in proximity of the taxiway “AC”.
“Then, on first contact with the runway, which occurred with the main landing gear properly extended and with the lower part of the fuselage tail section, the main left landing gear detached from its anchoring during the landing run and the lower part of the left engine nacelle came into contact with the runway.”
The aircraft came to a complete stop and the Fire Service rushed to the scene. Slides were deployed as foam was spread around the engines to prevent a fire.
The report found: “Two members of the crew and 6 passengers received minor injuries (back pain). The aircraft sustained substantial damage.” One key finding was that the pilot made the decision to attempt a go around because: “The lack of instructions to flight crew concerning the most suitable procedures to adopt in the case of single or multiple bird strikes in the landing phase; (And) the absence of specific training in the management, by the flight crew, of the “surprise” and “startle” effects in critical phases of the flight.”
The Irish Mirror