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B763, vicinity London Heathrow UK, 1998

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On 1 September 1998, a Boeing 767-300 had a bird strike with a large flock of geese moments before touchdown at London Heathrow airport, causing substantial damage.
Event Details
When September 1998
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Bird Strike
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions Not Recorded
Flight Details
Aircraft BOEING 767-300ER
Operator Not Recorded
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Washington/Dulles
Intended Destination London Heathrow Airport
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed Yes
Flight Phase Landing
Location - Airport
Airport London Heathrow Airport
Tag(s) Large Birds,
Flocking Birds,
Significant Airframe Damage,
Engine damage,
Engine Ingestion,
Prior verbal warning
Tag(s) Bird or Animal Strike
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Major
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Airport Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent


On 1 September 1998, a Boeing 767-300 had a bird strike with a large flock of geese moments before touchdown at London Heathrow airport, causing substantial damage.


The following is an extract from the official AAIB report:

"...another aircraft which had just landed on Runway 09L reported sighting a flock of geese to the right side of the runway which were flying towards Runway 09R (ie heading southbound). Another aircraft on final approach to Runway 09R was advised of this report. A Boeing 747 was next in sequence to land on Runway 09L and this aircraft landed without incident and vacated the runway. [the B767] was then cleared to land on Runway 09L ...The commander reported that when the aircraft was about 50 feet above the runway, a flock of geese flew into the aircraft's path from right to left (ie heading northbound). This particular flock of geese had not been sighted by anyone until that time, although the pilot had heard the transmissions about the flock of geese heading southbound. When the birdstrikes occurred the engines were at idle power and the aircraft was only one or two seconds from touchdown. Towards the end of the landing roll the commander reported the bird strike, and the fact that that there was bird debris on the runway, to the Tower controller...Runway 09L was closed for about one hour until the debris from what was believed to be some 25 to 30 geese was removed from the area of Blocks 113 and 114.

After the aircraft had been taxied to the stand, initial inspection showed that there was extensive damage to the radome and the left wing leading edge and slats. The left engine had evidence of bird ingestion and there was also evidence of bird strikes on the left and nose landing gears, left wing trailing edge flaps and the left stabiliser. As a result of the birdstrike damage the radome, weather radar and the No 4 outboard slat had to be replaced. The strikes on the leading edge at the No 5 slat position had also resulted in the rupture of an anti-icing duct which required replacement. A borescope inspection of the left engine did not reveal any evidence of damage to the core of the engine, but it was considered necessary to replace all the fan blades before the next flight."

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