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A British Airways 777-200 taxing to its gate after landing in Austin. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

Two 777s Experience Birdstrikes In a Week

Bird strikes are not uncommon events in aviation, but it is certainly a peculiar occurrence that two of them have occurred in just a few days apart involving the same aircraft type, the Boeing 777.

British Airways Flight Strikes Birds in Lagos

On Dec. 30, a British Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft operating flight BA75 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Lagos, Nigeria experienced a birdstrike while landing at its destination, the Aviation Herald reports. The aircraft was hit multiple times by birds during its approach to runway 18R resulting in a hydraulic leak. After the flight touched down safely and vacated the runway, during the taxiing procedure the aircraft lost the nose wheel steering and smoke was seen coming from the landing gear, which prompted the crew to stop the aircraft on the taxiway and declare a “PAN PAN” emergency.

It has been reported that it took 11 minutes for the first responders to reach the aircraft with just a couple of manual extinguishers, while the fire truck arrived a strikingly long 16 minutes after the incident occurred despite several unsuccessful attempts by the crew to contact ground emergency services.

The aircraft was repaired on-site and departed again toward London Heathrow 10 hours later, with the return flight BA74 operating with a six-hour delay.

The 777-300ER involved in the incident is a nine-year-old aircraft that was delivered to British Airways in December 2011. It can carry up to 289 passengers in a four-class configuration: 14 in first class, 56 in Club World, 44 in World Traveller Plus — the airline’s name for premium economy — and 185 in standard Word Traveller — economy — class. No details as to the number of people on board the aircraft have been released.

Turkish Airlines Freighter Strikes a Flock

Just a few days later, on Jan. 3, a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-200 Freighter aircraft operating from Istanbul to Almaty, Kazakhstan experienced a similar incident, this time while taking off from runway 05 at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Aviation24.be reports.

Immediately after the incident the pilot entered into a holding pattern above the Mediterranean Sea to dump some excess fuel and returned to Istanbul where the aircraft landed safely 46 minutes after takeoff.

Images taken on the ground as well as videos recorded after landing show extensive visible damage to the nose cone and to the pitot tubes.

No disruptions to Istanbul Airport or Turkish Airlines operations have been reported as a result of the incident.

This aircraft is one of the 39 Boeing 777 aircraft in Turkish Airlines’ fleet, eight of which are in full freighter configuration. The aircraft involved in the birdstrike was delivered to the carrier in November 2017 and is therefore just over three years old, planespotters.net reports.

Vanni Gibertini
Vanni Gibertini
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