Off The Wall: Bird Strike

Stefanie von Kaenel writes…Hi. Mike, my husband was the captain on your plane today when there was a bird strike. He says hi. I hope to see a pic of both of you. Lol we love you! You are great entertainment for our family. We love your show.

Hi Stefanie – Are you referring to this guy?

As you already know, Captain Ken got us safely to SFO after an unscheduled meeting with a large bird, formerly from the San Diego area. Upon landing, your husband assumed – quite correctly – that The Dirty Jobs Guy would be interested in seeing what happens when a Canadian Regional Jet goes head-to-head with a Southern Californian Regional Bird. I was pleased to visit the cockpit for a quick chat about the encounter, among other things.

One question – Captain Ken was not clear on the species of the avian in question, only it’s size, which he called “substantial.” It’s remains however, were spread across his windshield in a way that suggested multiple impacts. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate a bit more detail on the number of birds involved in this incident. I may have misunderstood, but if there was only one, how did its guts wind up making such an interesting pattern over such a wide area? I’m curious about the physics at play.

On behalf of everyone on board, please thank your husband for getting us safely back on terra firma, and “keeping the dirty side down.” Bird strikes are a serious matter, and not just for the birds. I’m glad Captain Ken was at the helm for this one.


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