Max Air’s Abuja bound flight suffers bird strike, makes air return

  •  NCAA backs Aero pilots on aborted flight

A Max Air’s Abuja bound aircraft Tuesday suffered a bird strike ten minutes after take-off at the Aminu Kano International Airport, (MAKIA), forcing the aircraft to return to Kano. Among the passengers was the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado-Bayero.

The Max Air B737 plane with registration number VM1645 which was slated for take-off 1.30 pm had about a 30 minutes delay. The aircraft later took off around 2:00 pm with passengers with full passenger load.

A source close to the airline who spoke to Aviation Metric under condition of anonymity confirmed the incident. He disclosed that the aircraft engine was hit by a bird during take-off, affecting some of the blades of the aircraft engine, forcing the captain of the aircraft to make air-return, a standard practice in aviation to forestall accident.

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Meanwhile, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has commended the pilot of an Aero Contractor Flight NIG382 for professionalism after he made an air return shortly after take-off on Monday.

The pilot, he said took the safety decision immediately his aircraft encountered bird strike on take-off at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Megwa.

Nuhu  who spoke In Lagos on the incident, said  the aircraft, a Boeing 737-500 with the registration number 5N-BKR, was heading to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja before the incident on Monday afternoon.

He explained that the pilot made a circuit and returned to base within eight minutes after the incident, maintaining that the action of the pilot was in order.


Max Air’s B737 airplane

The aircraft had departed PHIA for Abuja with 91 souls onboard; 85 passengers and six crewmembers at 2:06pm and returned to base at 2:14pm.

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According to him, the incident led to the damage of the aircraft’s blade, stressing that the airline’s engineers were currently fixing the damage part of the aircraft.

The NCAA boss explained further that Aero Contractors brought another aircraft to airlift the passengers to Abuja within 90 minutes of the incident, stressing that the damaged part of the aircraft was undergoing repairs in Port Harcourt.

He said: “Boeing 737-500 aircraft with the registration number: 5N-BKR belonging to Aero Contractors departed Port Harcourt to Abuja, but, during takeoff, it had a bird strike and the pilot continued the take-off, made a circuit and returned to land.

“That is what is supposed to be done. Pilots are trained for that. At the point he had the bird strike, he could not abort the takeoff. So, he continued with the takeoff and returned to base. They restarted the engine and discovered that some parts of the blades were damaged. Within 90 minutes, Aero Contractors came with a different aircraft to rescue the passengers.

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“As we speak, maintenance is going on to fix the damaged blade and when they finish, NCAA inspectors will inspect it and certify it if all the parameters; engines, blades and others are okay, they will be released for flight.”

Wole Shadare