CRJ2, Washington Dulles VA USA, 2002

CRJ2, Washington Dulles VA USA, 2002


On March 9, 2002, a Bombardier CRJ 200 ER, operating by Atlantic Coast Airlines, encountered a flock of wild turkeys at a late stage in the take off roll Washington Dulles International Airport and a bird strike followed. The aircraft rejected take off and returned to gate.

Event Details
Event Type
Flight Conditions
Flight Details
Type of Flight
Public Transport (Passenger)
Flight Origin
Intended Destination
Take-off Commenced
Flight Airborne
Flight Completed
Phase of Flight
Take Off
Location - Airport
Flocking Birds, Significant Airframe Damage
Damage or injury
Aircraft damage
Non-aircraft damage
Non-occupant Casualties
Off Airport Landing
Causal Factor Group(s)
Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
None Made
Investigation Type


On March 9, 2002, a Bombardier CRJ 200 ER, operating by Atlantic Coast Airlines, encountered a flock of wild turkeys at a late stage in the take off roll Washington Dulles International Airport and a bird strike followed. One bird hit an engine intake (but was not ingested) and another hit the nose of the aircraft just below the co pilot's windscreen breaching the pressure bulkhead and deforming but not penetrating the structure near to the base of that windscreen such that a piece of glass from it broke and fell into the flight deck. It was subsequently calculated that certification standards would have ensured that a direct hit to the windscreen from a bird up of to twice the size actually encountered would have not penetrated the windscreen at the prevailing airspeed. None of the 3 crewmembers or 50 passengers on board was injured.


This is an extract from the factual Accident Report (DCA02MA026) published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), USA:

"… The airplane was on departure roll and had accelerated past 80 kts when a flock of birds began to fly south over the runway. The airplane was traveling at approximately 110 kts when one of the birds hit the airplane, cracking the first officer's windshield and causing a few shards of glass to fall into the cockpit and onto the first officer. The captain immediately rejected the takeoff and stopped on the runway to assess the damage. The first officer notified air traffic control (ATC) of the rejected takeoff. The flight crew determined that the only damage appeared to be to the windshield, so the captain taxied clear of the runway. The flight crew then notified ATC, ACA [Atlantic Coast Airlines] operations, and ACA maintenance about the reason for the rejected takeoff and informed them that they were returning to the gate.

A postflight inspection by ACA maintenance personnel revealed that the airplane had struck two wild turkeys. One turkey hit the intake of the number-two engine, slightly damaging the forward lip of the engine intake cowl. No bird remains went through the engine. The other turkey hit just below the first officer's windshield, where a turkey leg and foot were still lodged. Closer examination of the airplane revealed that the second turkey hit the nose sheet metal at the base of the first officer's windshield, bending the windshield support structure and causing the windshield to crack upward from that location. The second turkey penetrated the area beneath the lower support structure, went through the pressure bulkhead, and entered the back of the instrument panel but did not penetrate either the windshield or its supporting structure."

The Report also states that:

"At the time of the accident, IAD had an annual wildlife management plan that included provisions for dispersing and removing wildlife from areas surrounding the aircraft operating area." and that "….the manufacturer of the airplane impact-tested the windshield for a 4-pound bird at 330 kts. The wild turkey that hit the accident airplane was estimated to have weighed roughly 15 pounds, and the impact velocity was approximately 110 kts. Using the kinetic energy equation to calculate the equivalent energy for this mass and speed, investigators determined that the windshield would have been able to withstand the impact of a bird more than twice as large as the turkey that hit the accident aircraft. In this accident, the wild turkey did not penetrate the windshield or its support structure but instead penetrated an area beneath the windshield support structure.

The Report does not include any safety recommendations.

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Further Reading

For further information see the NTSB Report (DCA02MA026)

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