Condor A321 at Bourgas on Jun 30th 2017, bird strike
Last Update: December 11, 2018 / 21:33:18 GMT/Zulu time
Date of incident
Jun 30, 2017
ICAO Type Designator
The aircraft was unable to depart for the return flight.
A replacement Travel Service Boeing 737-800 registration OK-TVF is about to position to Bourgas and was estimated to deliver the passengers to Leipzig with a delay of 15.5 hours, however landed in Berlin Schoenefeld with a delay of 16 hours.
On Jul 13th 2017 Bulgaria's AAIU reported the aircraft departed runway 22 and was climbing through about 1500 feet MSL at 160 KIAS when the aircraft received a bird strike and the left hand engine lost significant power associated with high vibrations. The aircraft levelled off at 4000 feet and returned to Bourgas for an ILS approach to runway 22. The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by Bulgaria's AAIU.
Bulgaria's AAIU released their final report concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:
Based on the analysis performed, the Commission points out that the serious incident resulted from the following causes:
The ingestion of a large bird, most probably a Short-toed Eagle, into the left engine during initial climb, causing mechanical damage to the inlet and to the fan rotor, which led to a loss of the left engine thrust.
As the main contributing factor for the realization of the event, the Commission takes the existence of a big bird’s natural habitat in the area of Burgas Lake, which is situated along the flight trajectory of the aircraft that take off from RWY22 of Burgas airport.
The AAIU reported high vibrations began to 1996 feet, an ECAM advisory “ENG 1 HIGH VIBRATION (9.9)“ occurred. The crew contacted ATC reporting a bird strike at about 1500 feet and requested to climb to 4000 feet. In post flight interviews the reported the bird was white with a wing span of about 1 to 1.5 meters. A noticeable odour developed in the cabin. The aircraft returned to Bourgas for an ILS approach runway 22 and landed safely.
26 fan blades of the left engine were found with deformations and tears.
The AAIU reported with respect to Lake Bourgas:
According to Bulgarian Site “Birds in Bulgaria”, Lake Burgas (or Lake Vaya) is described as Protected Area located near the Black Sea at 6 NM south-west from Burgas airport. Its length is 9,6 km, the width of 2,5 to 5 km, the area of which is 28 km2 , Its is one of the three most significant wet land complexes for congregation of waterfowl along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
The region of the lake supports 245 bird species, 71 of which are listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria (1985). 105 species of the currently occurring birds are of European concern for protection (SPEC) (Birdlife International, 2004), 9 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 26 in SPEC 2 and 69 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 89 species included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special protection measures, of which 80 are also listed in Annex I of the Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds. As the lake is located on the Via Pontica migration flyway, it is one of the most important station points in the birds’ migration along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Especially numerous are the Pelecaniformes, Anseriformes, Charadriiformes and Ardeidae bird species.
The AAIU analysed:
During the initial climb, the aircraft impacted a bird, which resulted to damage of 26 (twenty-six) fan blades of the left engine. In the cockpit, the flight crew received ECAM Advisory message of a high vibration in the left engine and they felt the noticeable odour. The flight crew checked the parameters of the left engine comparing them to the right engine parameters. In accordance with the procedures specified by the Airbus manufacturer and the Condor’s Aircraft FCOM CFG A320 / A321 PRO-ABN ENG, the flight crew reduced the thrust of the engine, which resulted in reduce of the vibration. The flight crew did not receive an ECAM Alert message, continued to monitor closely the engine parameters and it was found no deviation of the right engine parameters. Also, there were no failure messages recorded on the Post Flight Report. The flight crew informed the ATS about the state of the left and right engines, and then executed a landing approach to RWY22. Immediately after the landing and taxing the engine, No 1 was set to "IDLE" mode.
In view of the above, the Commission accepted the flight crew actions during the occurrence as correct and contributing to the favourable outcome of situation and ensuring flight safety.
In view of the above, the Commission concluded that the serious incident under investigation
A collision of a big bird, probably a Short-toed Eagle, a White Heron (Ardea Alba) or a Pelecanus onocrotalus with the aircraft and its subsequent ingestion by the left engine.
Taking into account the crew explanations, the bird remains in engine and the finding of the Deutscher Ausschuss zur Verhutung von Vogelschlagen im Luftverkehr DAVVL, most probably the bird was a Short-toed Eagle.
It was impossible for the flight crew to avoid the impact as it carries a purely random character and the area where it took place was outside the area where the airport authorities at Burgas airport were carrying out activities related to prevention of collisions with birds.
The activity of the Burgas airport authorities related to the establishment of conditions for minimizing the probability of collision with birds is discussed in paragraph 2.10.
Given that the flight path of an aircraft at Burgas airport after take-off from RWY 22 passes over the Burgas Lake, in the territory of which large birds subject to conservation and with a mass of more than 2 kg, it is appropriate that the flight crews taking off in that outbound track are informed of the possibility of a collision with such birds.
Date of incident
Jun 30, 2017
ICAO Type Designator
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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