Bird Strike Prompts Skywest Embraer 175 Diversion

A Delta Connection E175 operated by Skywest returned to Sacramento after takeoff due to a bird strike. After takeoff, the E175 struck a bird and the crew made the decision to return to Sacramento, California.

Bird Strike Prompts Skywest Embraer 175 Diversion
A Delta Connection E175 operated by Skywest suffered a bird strike after takeoff. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Skywest E175 suffers bird strike

On November 19, 2019, a Skywest E175 aircraft took off from Sacramento, California en route to Salt Lake City, Utah. Shortly after takeoff, the E175 struck a bird. After this, the pilots made the decision to return to Sacramento. According to the Aviation Herald, the Skywest E175 safely landed in Sacramento not too long after departure – about 15 minutes after takeoff.

Skywest E175
The E175 returned to Sacramento about 15 minutes after departure. Photo: Little Flight Photography via Flickr

None of the 65 people onboard the aircraft were injured as a result of this incident. However, the Aviation Herald reports that passengers noticed a “really loud thud” before experiencing vibrations. And, the smell of smoke appeared in the cabin. Thus, the crew made the decision to return to Sacramento.

Bird strike

A bird strike occurs when an aircraft impacts a bird. These are most common during takeoff, landing, and the initial climb or descent as the aircraft flies within the same altitude as most birds. Once at cruising altitude, the risk of bird strike is minimal since aircraft fly higher than birds can. Depending on the situation, a bird strike can be a major incident, as in the case of US Airways Flight 1549 which led to the famous ditching in the Hudson River.

Bird Strike Prompts Skywest Embraer 175 Diversion
US Airways flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson River after a bird strike. Photo: Greg L via Wikimedia Commons

Which airline owned the plane?

This flight, DL3565, was marketed as a Delta Connection flight. Delta Connection is the regional brand operating on behalf of Delta Air Lines. American, Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines operate regional flights through subsidiaries and contracted carriers who specifically fly regional jets. These regional carriers have their own set of flight attendants and pilots who operate independently of Delta Air Lines.

Skywest E175
An E175 in Delta Connection livery. Photo: Bill Abbott via Flickr

In this instance, Skywest, a regional carrier in the United States, operated the Embraer E175 involved in this incident. As such, Skywest, and not Delta, would be responsible for ensuring the aircraft is maintained and returned to service. Delta, on the other hand, would have to deal with rebooking passengers.

Delta Air Lines 717
Most passengers were likely connecting onwards to a Delta flight. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Since Delta operates a hub in Salt Lake City, it is likely that most passengers were connecting onwards to a Delta Air Lines flight. And, most passengers likely purchased their ticket through Delta Air Lines.


Delays and diversions are never a fun incident. While some occur due to disruptive passengers, others occur as a result of unfortunate incidents such as this bird strike. Thankfully, all passengers and crew emerged unharmed from the incident.

Were you onboard this Skywest E175 when the bird strike happened? Let us know in the comments!