AAIB investigation to Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-RVNB
Birdstrike on final approach, Liverpool Airport, 2 July 2015.
The aircraft was on a circuit training flight with a student pilot in the left seat and flying instructor in the right. The instructor was aware of the elevated risk of birdstrike in the summer at Liverpool, and had turned the window heat on, intending to improve the windscreen’s resistance to impact. On a flapless final approach to Runway 27, at around 80-90 KIAS and approximately 650 ft aal, the instructor suddenly saw a small flock of grey pigeons against the grey sky to the right of the nose, close by and flying into the aircraft’s path. Before he could react, the aircraft struck four or five birds. One bird struck the windscreen, which did not break, but another broke the right side window, causing bruising to the instructor’s shoulder. The approach continued to a flapless landing, and the aircraft vacated the runway. Post-flight inspection found birdstrike evidence in the engine bay and on the cowlings and wing. CAA Safety Sense Leaflet 10c, on ‘Bird Avoidance’, offers a range of advice to pilots to mitigate the hazard posed by birds in flight, including use of windshield heat.
Download glossary of abbreviations:
Published: 14 April 2016
Date of occurrence: 2 July 2015