An Akasa Air Boeing 737 Max collided with a bird as it was climbing shortly after take-off, India’s Directorate of General of Aviation said on Thursday.
Ahmedabad Airport released an image showing a large, bloody dent on the nose of the plane. Plane collisions with birds can be extremely dangerous, especially if the birds enter the jet turbines where they can cause serious damage to the engines.
That was the fate of US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009, when the aircraft flew into a flock of birds, causing both engines to fail. The plane, piloted by Capt Sully Sullenberger, made an emergency landing on the Hudson river in New York, saving all the passengers and crew.
An image of the damaged Akasa Air plane was tweeted by Indian freelance journalist Tarun Shukla.
“Today, Akasa B-737-8 (Max) aircraft VT-YAF operating flight QP-1333 (Ahmedabad-Delhi) experienced a bird strike during the climb out passing 1900ft. Post landing at Delhi, Radome damage was observed. Aircraft declared AOG (Aircraft on ground) at Delhi,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.
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The Boeing-737 Max had a chequered history after being introduced in 2017, following two crashes that resulted in the deaths of a total of 346 people.
It was then grounded between March 2019 and November 2020 following a major international inquiry, which found faulty flight control software on the aircraft.
By June of this year, the plane had safely completed 600,000 flights over 1.5 million hours in the air, according to Boeing's vice president of commercial marketing, Darren Hulst. Some experts say the intensive scrutiny following the two Boeing 737 Max disasters has made it one of the safest planes in the world.