Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 210M, VH-WRD, Roper River NT, 9 July 1987

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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As the aircraft turned onto final, the pilot noticed a large bird (later identified as a kite hawk) above and assessed that the aircraft would pass beneath it. However, the bird rolled over, dived and struck the windshield. The sudden heavy impact smashed the perspex into small pieces which cut the pilot about the face and chest. The broken windshield resulted in a substantial increase in the descent rate which required a considerable increase in power to overcome. A difficult landing was further complicated by a reduction in visibility due to windblast, blood and feathers. Although the pilot's sunglasses and headset were knocked from his head, had he not been wearing glasses it is probable that he would have been blinded as a result of the collision. The specialist ornithologist reported that large birds like kite hawks and eagles have only one evasive manoeuvre and that is to fold their wings and dive. However, if given sufficient warning they will simply turn away from an aircraft. Given that they are adept at avoiding collisions, this bird was caught unawares probably by the low power setting of the engine whilst the aircraft was on approach. When surprised by the proximity of the aircraft it reverted to instinct.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 09 July 1987   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1530    
Location: Roper River    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Birdstrike  
Release date: 28 July 1987   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210  
Aircraft registration VH-WRD  
Serial number 210-62942  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Mataranka NT  
Departure time 1530  
Destination Roper River NT