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18th of February 2010

A Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster aircraft was on a cargo flight from Arcata Airport (California, USA) to Sacramento International Airport on this day in 2010. After an uneventful flight, the aircraft was on approach to runway 16R in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and was following an IFR Flight Plan.

The damage ©FAA

At approximately 300 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) the pilot saw a flock of 5 large birds. Before the pilot had time to initiate evasive action a felt an impact on the aircraft.

Immediately the aircraft rolled to the right which was corrected by the pilot with an opposite aileron input, correcting the yaw with rudder input. The aileron input was somewhat impaired, roll control was possible but somewhat heavier. The approach was continued and a normal landing was made on runway 16R.

After the aircraft came to a stop and was shut down a post-flight inspection revealed substantial damage to the right-hand wing in the landing taxi light area. Structural damage was incurred on the spar cap, which was twisted downward. The sheet metal mounting structure for the landing light assembly was torn loose. Damage was so extensive that the aileron control cables were being pushed backward out of position.

Some remains of the bird were recovered from the aircraft and sent to Smithsonian Institute for identification. This identified the bird as a tundra swan. Some specs of a Tundra Swan;

  • Length 115–150 cm (45–59 in)

  • Wingspan 168–211 cm (66–83 in)

  • Weight 3.4–9.6 kg (7.5–21.2 lb)

A Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster (Source;

The Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster was specially developed for Federal Express and is the cargo version of the Caravan 208B. FedEx bought 260 of these aircraft. it has a longer fuselage and Cargopod under the belly, it first flew in 1986.

PerformanceSuper Cargomaster

Maximum Cruise Speed - 175 ktas (324 km/h)

Certified Ceiling - 25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Airport PerformanceTakeoff Distance - 2,500 ft (762 m)

Landing Distance - 1,740 ft (530 m)

Rate of Climb at Sea Level - 925 fpm (282 mpm)

Range - 869 nm (1,609 km)

Maximum WeightsSuper Cargomaster

Ramp Weight- 8,785 lb (3,985 kg)

Takeoff Weight - 8,750 lb (3,969 kg)

Landing Weight - 8,500 lb (3,856 kg)

Usable Fuel Capacity - 2,224 lb (1,009 kg)

Typically-Equipped Empty Weight - 4,813 lb (2,183 kg)

Useful Load - 3,972 lb (1,802 kg)

Maximum Payload - 3,687 lb (1,672 kg)

Full-Fuel Payload - 1,748 lb (793 kg)

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