Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo Strikes Coyote Departing Houston

A Spirit Airlines A320neo struck a coyote on the runway when departing Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on January 13th. The plane was leaving the Texas hub to head for Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Spirit A320neo
Crew on the Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo had to change their path following the strike. Photo: Airbus

Turning things around

According to The Aviation Herald, registration N922NK was performing flight NK-264 and the strike happened on Houston’s runway 15L. The crew stopped the aircraft’s climb at 16,000 feet. The plane then returned to its departing airport for a safe landing on runway 27 after approximately 35 minutes after initially talking off earlier at 20:21 CST.

FlightRadar24.com Spirit Houston Map
The Spirit AIrlines Airbus A320neo took a tour around Trinity Bay before the carrier’s crew returned the plane to Houston Intercontinental. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

The A320 left for the skies again after an hour and a half on the airport’s ground. The flight then eventually landed at Fort Lauderdale with a delay of approximately 100 minutes.

Spirit A320neo Aircraft
Altogether, Spirit Airlines has 96 Airbus A320neo aircraft in its fleet. Photo: Airbus

Unknown damage

The amount of damage that the plane received is still to be confirmed. According to The Aviation Herald, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) merely shared the following statement about the event so far:


“Aircraft Struck a coyote during departure,  Houston, TX.”

According to Planespotters.net, N922NK, the aircraft involved in Houston, arrived at Spirit’s holdings in December 2019. It was produced in Mobile, Alabama with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 9341 and was delivered fresh from Airbus, making it just over a year old. The plane is joined by 95 other A320s, along with 31 A319s, and 30 A321s currently in the ultra-low-cost carrier’s fleet.

Spirit Getty
Spirit Airlines is a fan of the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Crucial incidents

Altogether, animal strikes are a regular occurrence for airlines across the globe, but most incidents revolve around birds. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for ground-based wildlife to be hit by an aircraft. Bears, boars, and skunks are just some of the animals that have been hit over the last year by different carriers.

delta bird flock
Bird strikes happen more often in the aviation industry, but carriers also have to deal with similar incidents on the ground. Photo: Getty Images

These incidents cause a sad loss of life for wildlife. They can also cause significant damage to aircraft and be potentially dangerous to those onboard. Crew members subsequently have to make important calls following such events to determine the best course of action.

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There have not been any reports of injuries to those on the Spirit Airlines aircraft following this week’s incident.

Simple Flying reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment on the coyote strike in Houston this week. We will update the article with any further announcements regarding the incident from the airline.

What are your thoughts about this Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo hitting a coyote when leaving Houston Intercontinental? Have you experienced anything similar when flying over the years? Let us know what you think of the incident in the comment section.

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