Players from the NBA Basketball Team Oklahoma City Thunder were stunned when they realized their plane had collided with a bird while landing and had sustained damage
NBA basketball team players from the Oklahoma City Thunder were left dumbfounded when they witnessed the damage their plane sustained after experiencing a bird strike. However initially, the team members didn’t realize that a bird could wreak such havoc to something the size of a plane. They wondered if it had been something worse.
Patrick Patterson says the OKC #Thunder team plane ‘hit Superman’
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 28, 2017
Steven Adams immediately sent a tweet to NASA, Neil Tyson, and Bill Nye, attaching a picture of the plane with its nose caved inward. Adams then asked the experts what they thought had caused the enormous damage. Adam’s teammate Patrick Patterson tweeted his assumption that it might have been Superman!
A spokesperson for the team’s Delta Airlines plane, a Boeing 757-200 explained the reason for the massive dent to the plane’s nose. “Delta flight 8935, operating from Minneapolis to Chicago-Midway as a charter flight for the Oklahoma City Thunder, likely encountered a bird while on descent into Chicago. The aircraft landed safely without incident.”
I guess we hit something? 30,000 feet up… pic.twitter.com/Rem9GmwRKq
— Josh Huestis (@jhuestis) October 28, 2017
Indeed, despite the shocking damage, no one on the plane was injured
However, the team members did report feeling something happen to the plane. Nick Collison noted that he was interrupted from watching Stranger Things when he felt the aircraft drop for a moment like a “roller-coaster.” Collison went on to joke “Must’ve been a pretty big bird – a Pterodactyl maybe?”
However, it doesn’t take an enormous bird to create a good deal of damage to a plane mid-flight. Due to the relationship between the speed of the plane, and the speed the bird is flying at, the impact between the two creates damage in most cases. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that bird strikes are relatively common. But not all flights get away with a bird strike as lightly as the NBA team did.
30000 feet in the air.
Flying to chicago.
What caused this? pic.twitter.com/uEVrEm7noi
— Steven Adams (@RealStevenAdams) October 28, 2017
Occasionally bird strikes do end with some fatalities, though it is rare
Between 1990 and 2013, 25 people died when a bird struck their plane. In the worst case ever recorded, 62 people died when an Eastern Airlines flight flew into a flock of European starlings as it took off. The impact that a bird can have on a plane can smash windows and disable engines.
One incident involving a serious bird strike on an aircraft was later depicted in a film Sully: Miracle on the Hudson. In 2009, a US Airways Flight 1549 had just left LaGuardia and was en route to North Carolina. However, in just 20 minutes, the plane had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River.
When the plane reached an altitude of 3000 feet, it flew into a flock of Canada Geese. These gees were flying at around 80kmph. The aircraft’s engines sucked many of the geese inward, immediately liquifying them. Consequently, the engines failed. Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger then performed what many deem to be a miracle.
Sullenberger realized that returning to LaGuardia was not an option. Instead, he expertly glided the plane onto the surface of the Hudson. His 40 years of experience paid off as every passenger on board survived.
Environmentalists, obviously are concerned at the frequency with which planes are subjecting bird populations to collisions
Sadly, training of pilots does not involve how to avoid clashing with birds in flight. Currently, measures that airlines take to deal with bird strikes only include repellents or other more lethal means.
Unfortunately, birds become attracted to airports due to the availability of food. Canada geese, for example, prefer to eat turfgrass. Turfgrass is abundant at airports as it is the most compatible to sit beside the runways. Experts suggest that airports should plant turfgrass species that birds won’t eat. Other suggestions involve avoiding placing terminals near wetlands.
Image credit: Posts on Twitter by Steven Adams and Josh Huestis