Here’s a video unlike any you’ve likely seen before. It shows Air Force II taking off in the evening and encountering a few birds. The meeting doesn’t go well for the birds, it goes without saying, though we repeat: it was over for them very quickly.
The video, taken from the ground from two angles, is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, you can actually see the birds. Who woulda guessed. And second, you can see the effect that their taking a shortcut to the trailing edge of the plane has. It’s unexpected, and we don’t know the actual reason why it happens. We won’t get any more specific than that.
And in case you were wondering, engines like the big Pratts powering the Executive Branch Boeing are designed to be able to withstand bird ingestion without damage. The birds that turned the Airbus A320 that was US Airways 1549 into a glider were Canada Geese, big birds and a bunch of them too. Pigeons don’t even register on the bird strike Richter scale, which is good, because there are a lot of pigeons out there.
Every time we go flying, there are risks we can’t always mitigate. Birds are one of them. And while they account for a tiny percentage of accidents each year, birds can indeed take a plane out of the sky. In this case, thank goodness, it was the other way around.