Bridge Gaps
Fowl play?
Posted on: 10-03-2021 by Elizabeth Yokel


A crisis was averted at Atlantic City Airport. I am grateful to the pilot and the crew whose actions that evening in my opinion were nothing short of heroic.



On October 2, 2021, I arrived on time and boarded Sprirt Airlines flight 737. This flight was departing Atlantic City Airport and bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Or so I thought.



I felt the plane accelerating on the runway. The aircraft was moving at a brisk pace and just about to leave the ground. Though things changed when a bird happened to find itself in the path of the plane's engine and entered into the engine.



When did the fire start? Not certain. Best guess? After the bird entered into the plane's engine. The location of the fire? Passengers reported the flames of the fire were seen curling up the right wing of the plane from the engine underneath.



One of the emergency exits was located near the left wing of the airplane opposite the right wing where the fire was seen. Thankfully, everything worked out. The response time was swift and I was not injured on the emergency evacuation slide.



The flight was rescheduled for October 4, 2021. I have since landed safely but find myself wondering about a reocurrence? What safety measures are being taken to prevent future bird strikes? Bird strikes is the term used to describe this incident. For obvious reasons, I've been giving this matter some thought since the incident. At first, I considered the effectiveness of installating airplane engine screens as a way of preventing unwelcome fowl play during takeoff. Though, this is not an option.



There is reasonable criticism about installing airplane engine screens for good reasons. Such screens would actually create a more serious problem in the event the impact of the bird were to inadvertently disconnect the screen from the engine, which would send the bird and screen into the engine. So much for that idea. In my defense, I'm not an expert on the subject.



If screens aren't the answer, what are aviation experts suggesting as a preventive measure to avoid future bird strikes? What action is being taken to address the bird strike issue. The plane wasn't in the air when the engine fire was reported. What if it was in the air? This incident provokes thought about ways reduce a risk of bird strikes on passenger airplanes! What is clear? Doing nothing about it is not an option. Otherwise, I fear there will be an erosion of confidence in air traveling.





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