A Delta Air Lines MD-90 was forced to return to Houston yesterday as the aircraft struck a flock of birds climbing through 6,000ft. Thankfully, the aircraft was able to return to Houston, however, following an unsafe gear indication the aircraft wasn’t able to land the first time around.
Bird strikes are an unfortunate risk when flying. While birds aren’t typically found at very high altitudes, to reach these altitudes, aircraft have to climb through the level where birds tend to fly. Bird strikes can cause issues ranging from no problems at all to shutting down engines.
Delta flight 2319
Delta Air Lines flight 2319 typically operates between Houston and Atlanta. However, data from FlightRadar24.com shows that the flight number is also sometimes applied to flights back to Houston. The flight’s timings vary depending on the date of operation.
The aircraft departed from Houston at 09:49 CST. However, according to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft collided with a flock of birds. The publication reports that this occurred as the aircraft was climbing through 6,000 feet. 132 passengers and six members of crew were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident.
Last week we reported that an SAS A330 returned to Cophenhagen following a bird strike. That aircraft had reportedly struck a flock of geese on departure, however, it also landed without further incident.
While all of the indications appear to have been fine, the crew of the aircraft opted to return to Houston out of an abundance of caution. However, while the aircraft was returning to land at Houston, the aircraft received an unsafe gear warning. As a result of this warning, the aircraft made a low pass of the airport at 175 feet. The airport’s control tower reported that the landing gear was indeed down.
The MD-90 then made a right-hand circuit and returned to land at Houston at around 35 minutes after it initially departed the airport. The aircraft stopped on the runway where it was inspected by emergency services. As everything looked as expected, it was given the all-clear to return to the gate.
Delta Air Lines response
Simple Flying contacted Delta Air Lines for a statement regarding the incident in Houston. The airline provided us with the following statement:
“The crew of Delta flight 2319 from Houston to Atlanta returned to Atlanta after encountering a bird during climb out. The flight landed without incident and customers were accommodated on alternate flights with Delta’s apologies for the disruption.”
Were you onboard the aircraft in question yesterday? Let us know what you experienced in the comments!