An interesting video shows an RAF Typhoon avoiding impact with two birds on final at RAF Coningsby.
The video for this article was taken at RAF Coningsby on September 20, 2022. It shows a Royal Air Force Typhoon involved in pattern activity and turning on final for Runway 25 after a touch and go. But, established on final, the pilot spotted two birds in front of the jet and carried out an evasive maneuver to avoid a bird strike. The maneuver is successful because the plane, despite the configuration, is quite agile and the engines provide plenty of thrust for the subsequent recovery and go-around.
Bird strikes pose a significant threat to military (and commercial) traffic worldwide, a threat that can cause serious incidents, especially when the collision occurs with a large bird, a flock, and the impact damages the canopy, control surfaces or engines, and the aircraft takes off or lands. Bird strikes are still relatively rare in commercial aviation, and civil aviation suffers an average of $1.2 billion in damage each year.
Military aviation is at even greater risk, as aircraft often fly at lower altitudes (where more birds can be found) and at higher speeds (which shortens reaction time and makes avoidance much more difficult). Although they do not always cause the total loss of an aircraft, bird strikes can cause significant damage. Need examples?
The first: We recently reported on the bird strike suffered by Red 6 as the Red Arrows performed their demonstration at the Rhyl Air Show on the afternoon of August 28, 2022. As seen in photos taken near Hawarden Airport, the airfield used for the team’s Rhyl screens, the jet’s canopy was shattered, forcing the plane to declare an in-flight emergency and land as soon as possible.
Second: In March 2021, an F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to VFA-106 suffered a bird strike while on a training mission at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, California. Neither the pilot nor the RIO aboard the two-seater “Rhino” (as the plane is nicknamed in the naval community) were injured in the crash, but post-flight inspection revealed severe damage to both the air intake and the engine. As a result, the accident was classified as Class A damagethe most serious, meaning a damage of at least 2.5 million USD or the total loss of an aircraft.
We could go on with several other events, but the point is clear. However, although not at all rare, bird strikes and (especially) avoided ones are more rarely filmed.