How a pelican’s brief encounter with a plane led to a sticky end
May 11, 2009
As pilot Hannes Arch moved into second position in an exciting air race, he had no choice but to try a risky overtake of his nearest competitor.
Sadly the pelican came off a distinct second best, with his leisurely flight brought to an abrupt end by the sound of roaring propellers and a quick finish.
The grisly moment was captured during the last round of the Red Bull air race in San Diego yesterday.
The pilot and the pelican both wanted to occupy the same air space, rounding the top of one of the pylons marking out the above-ground track.
The poor creature was quickly torn to pieces by the collision, and Pilot Arch was also left feeling only slightly less shattered by the incident, which in many instances can bring down an aircraft.
The pilot didn’t alter his course and continued to the finish line – although he lost his gold medal and came in third, blaming the loss on the bird strike.
His plane was left with with a blood-covered hole on the right side of his plane’s tail.
Pilot Arch said: ‘It was bad luck, but good luck that I was able to fly to the finish line.
‘I was having a really good run and then I had a bird strike that distracted me.
‘I was off line after that. The bird strike nearly tore off my horizontal stabiliser. It was bad luck but good luck that I was able to fly to the finish line.’
This is not the first time this year a mid-air collision between bird and plane has led to dramatic images.
Only four months ago pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger landed an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson River following a collision with a flock of birds.