So thereīs a bird on the runway just as you are about to start the take-off run...
Question to the heavy-metal drivers here: What would you do if you are sitting on the numbers, ready to set TOGA thrust and then a little bird lands approximately 150 ft. in front of you and sits on the runway. Push the throttles forward or wait until the bird leaves the runway?
The reason why Iīm asking is this: There was a documentary on german tv last night. Basically they showed a Lufthansa 737-300 crew during their three-day trip around Europe, and what it is like to fly shorthaul. While the pictures itself were pretty nice, the commentary was not. Sometimes it was downright false, and often just plain funny. I guess itīs necessary to dumb things down to make it interesting for the unwashed masses, but for people in the know it was sometimes actually painful to listen to the narrator.
So up came the scene with the machine sitting on the runway of some european airport (I believe it was Geneva, but thatīs not really important in this context I guess), ready for departure. They showed a little bird sitting on the runway, approximately 150ft in front of the machine, and the narrator said something along the lines of "the crew waits for the bird to leave before they start their takeoff run", and then a cut was made. Therefore I canīt really tell whether they really did depart once the bird was gone or not, in fact I donīt even know if they had takeoff clearance at this point or if they were just cleared to line up.
So anyway, this scene is grounds for discussion among a group of friends of mine, especially considering some of the wrong information the narrator gave before this particular scene. Basically, one group is saying "thatīs total BS, once the engines were brought up to TOGA power the bird would have left anyway", while the other group says "they did indeed wait for the bird to leave, as to avoid an ingestion of the bird", suggesting that once the throttle was pushed forward, the little bird would have been sucked in.
So can you clue me in on who would be right in this case? What would you do if you are sitting on the runway, ready to go, and a bird settles down 150ft in front of you? Would you wait and let ATC (and the aircraft behind you on short final) get mad at you, or would you start the takeoff roll anyway, hoping for the bird to get the clue and haul a$$?
If it was really litlle I'd ask the captain if he was happy to roll if he said no - wait. If he said yes then I'd rely on the huge bypass fan making that little bird's day!
If it was big that's a different story - wind up the power and it's likely to fly off.
You raise a serious point though. With technical reliability what it is these days a disaster after take off is likely to be a massive multiple birdstrike. If you hit one on the roll before V1 you can always abort.
Hit a bird once flying low level over Wales at 250 feet. Agricultural investigaters declared it to be part of a Turkey. It seems I hit another bird that had been scavenging from the Turkey farm!
Well it's a captains decison so your answer will have to come from Captains, but here's some tidbits based on experience.
Single birds on runways almost always get out of the way, having inherent ability too see and avoid via horizontal movement.
Its the suckers that are crossing the runway in the air (as singles) that get messed up with their timing and avoidance by lifting upwards just as the aircraft rotates.
Single birds are a small safety risk even if struck although they are expensive and can ruin your day.
However, flocking birds are an entirely different manner, if seen on the runway or alongside it. One should not assume ho-hum under these conditions even with small birds. There have been a couple of incidents where in excess of 30 starlings were ingested in multiple DC10 engines during takeoff roll resulting a a multiple engine powerloss but still enough power to fly.
On the other hand there have been incidents, ORLy comes to mind, where the business jet pilot was heard to say , no problems, watch this, and those were his last words.
I strongly avocate notifying the tower when multiple birds are seem lounging near the runway and refusing takeoff until a bird sweep is performed, however, a single bird is another judgemental matter
Also depends on how big the bird is. Long time ago,on a 737-200,as we were at Vr,a stork came leisurely flapping smack into the right engine. Made an absolute mess of the JT8-200 and we had to land back,single engine,overweight after the quickest 1500 ft circuit I have ever managed to execute. What the book doesn't tell you,though is that fumes from the feather/flesh/entrails/kerosene mix eventually got to get into the a/c system and all 135 elderly hadj passengers,and the cabin crew were sick.In the flight deck we had to don the O2 masks... We exited via the escape rope from the cockpit windows,so bad the stench in the cabin was... Took a week to clean that airplane.
A bit off-thread, but I think the original question's been adequately answered.
Scene: Pre-solo circuits in JP. 300ft Finals I see single bird crossing runway. 200ft ID it as Pheasant. 100ft.. a FAT pheasant "I have control, Bloggs" (thinking he might miss).
0ft strike pheasant with port u/c door. Remain on ground, taxi in for inspection. Fire crew retrieve pheasant, neatly decapitated (tho' I say it myself). Hang for a few days, casserole, and very nice too!
Wouldn't do for all you responsible commercial types, I know..
Sat waiting on the threshold of a Greek island runway recently while the local scabby mongrel gave his bollox a good licking for about five minutes right in front of us.He eventualy sauntered to the edge.Did a PA and got all the pax on the right to wave to him as we roared off.
I struck a crow once on takeoff. They were sitting on the grass on the freshly cut grass at the north side of the airfield and I thought when I opened the throttle the noise from the engine would scare them away. Well needless to say it did but instead of flying the opposite direction they went right across the runway and I hit one of the straglers, chopped it up nicely with the prop and got blood and feathers all over the canopy and aborted the takeoff roll. I then had to explain rather sheepishly to the CFI why his aircraft had a damaged prop and covered in blood and bits of crow, he wasn't too impressed