A LOT Polish Airlines Embraer E195 suffered two birdstrikes while trying to take off from Poznan in western Poland on Tuesday, August 4. The aircraft was performing flight number LO-8625 from Poznań–Ławica Henryk Wieniawski Airport (POZ) to Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) in Spain when the incidents occurred.
The aircraft, a nearly ten-year-old Brazilian-built Embraer ERJ-195, registration number SP-LNL, was departing Poznan Airport’s runway 28 at 06:15 when the plane suffered a birdstrike. The crew continued the takeoff and leveled off at 24,000 feet, but then asked to return to Poznan, where they landed safely around half an hour after takeoff.
No damage was found
Once back at the apron, airline maintenance crew checked the plane’s engines for damage and found nothing. Despite this, they also performed an engine test run before giving the aircraft the green light to return to service. After a delay of just under two and a half hours, the plane took off again for Mallorca only to suffer the same fate.
The crew stopped the climb at 19,000 feet, and this time decided to divert to Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW), LOT’s main base. The aircraft landed safely in Warsaw around 45 minutes after the second departure.
Rather than have the plane checked for a second time and resume the flight to Spain, the Polish national flag carrier brought in a replacement Embraer ERJ-195 which reached Palma after a delay of six hours and 50 minutes. The twice unlucky plane returned to service after being on the ground in Warsaw for around seven hours.
Dead birds on the runway
A couple of days later, aviation website The Aviation Herald reported a passenger on the flight saying that no one on the plane had any idea that they had struck any birds during takeoff. The passenger said that shortly after takeoff, the pilot came on the intercom to announce that dead birds had been found on Poznan’s runway and that it was very likely that they had hit them.
Because of this, procedures dictated that they return to Poznan to have the aircraft inspected. After maintenance workers arrived and deemed the plane safe to fly, it took off for a second time, but rather than turning south as it had done previously this time, it turned east and hit birds for a second time. Just as he did earlier, the pilot came on the intercom to announce that they would divert to Warsaw rather than returning to Poznan.
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Does Poznan have a bird problem?
Serving mostly as a base for low-cost carriers, it would appear as if Poznan Airport has a bird problem. Considering the entire facility is surrounded by residential housing and businesses, this seems a little odd. There are no farmers fields or marshland nearby, so you would think that if there were birds around the runway, they could easily be scared off.
What do you think about the Poznan birdstrikes? If you have any inside knowledge about the airport, we would love to read about it in the comments.