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10th of September 2004, Birdstrike, Blog #616

A 1989-built Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III was operating a domestic Cargo Charter flight under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) from Bloemfontein to George Aerodrome (South Africa) on this day in 2004. Onboard the aircraft was a crew of two and (an unknown amount) of cargo, The co-pilot was the Pilot Flying (PF) and the Captain the Pilot Monitoring (PM) After an uneventful flight (~356 nautical miles / 660 kilometres) the aircraft the aircraft was approaching its destination in good weather.

The aircraft its final position (Source; © Bob Adams) Good visibility with calm winds and a temperature of 15ºC

The crew had decided on an ILS approach to runway 11 at George Aerodrome and the appropriate checklists were completed. Approximately 1000 feet from the threshold, with the aircraft fully configured for landing at a Reference Approach Speed (Vref) of 120 knots the PM instructed the PF to continue the approach visually.

A few seconds later a loud impact was heard and the right-hand engine failed the aircraft suddenly banked heavily to the right and a large yaw to the right also occurred. The PF remarked they had a birdstrike on the right engine. The captain immediately took over as PF and attempted to correct the yaw and bank, but was unsuccessful in correcting the yaw. The PF called for a go-around, to which the co-pilot selected full power and retracted the landing gear.

The aircraft in better days (Source; © Bob Adams)

The aircraft continued to yaw and started to lose altitude while the stall warning sounded on the flight deck. The PF then pulled the left engine control to stop and feather the engine. It would be impossible to reach the airfield and the PF decided they were committed to an off-field landing at a cattle farm.

As the aircraft touched down short of a cattle field, the aircraft impacted telephone poles and a wire fence causing extensive damage to the wings and fuselage. When the aircraft came to a stop the required checklist was completed and both pilots evacuated the aircraft without sustaining any injuries. The aircraft was written off as being damaged beyond repair. The accident was investigated by the South African Civil Aviation Authority. In the executive summary of their accident report, they described the probable cause as follows;

"The aircraft encountered a bird strike on the right-hand engine prior to landing at George Aerodrome. It appears that the cockpit crew did not apply the correct procedures for a go-around when the aircraft yawed Severely to the right. The aircraft failed to climb and a forced landing was executed on a cattle farm."

The accident report, which served as the source for this blog can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;

10Sep2004 Fairchild Metro Birdstrike
Download PDF • 87KB

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