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What happened

On the morning of 9 January 2015, a Regional Express operated SAAB 340B aircraft, registered VH-OLM struck a flock of birds during its landing roll at Moruya, New South Wales. Inspection of the aircraft by the flight crew found bird impact marks but no visually identifiable damage. The crew continued their schedule to Merimbula, New South Wales. At Merimbula, the first officer noticed the tip of one propeller blade was missing, and the aircraft was subsequently grounded.

What the ATSB found

The blade tip failure was almost certainly a result of the birdstrike during the landing roll of the previous flight, weakening the internal structure of the blade.

The flight crew conducted a visual inspection in accordance with the operator’s procedures, and this inspection did not find any damage. However, the propeller manufacturer’s birdstrike inspection procedure was deemed a maintenance task. As such, it was not suitable for flight crew.

What's been done as a result

The operator changed its birdstrike procedures to ensure aircraft remained on the ground until a maintenance inspection was carried out in accordance with appropriate documented inspection procedures. In addition, pilot and engineering notices were issued clarifying these requirements.

Safety message

Adherence to regulations and company procedures is essential for the ongoing airworthiness of aircraft. Therefore, it is vital that procedures are clear and do not lead to ambiguity or misinterpretation. Where uncertainty exists, seeking clarification from the relevant authority can reduce the risk of an unserviceability affecting flight safety.

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The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety issues and actions

Sources and submissions

Appendix A: ATSB Bird Information Sheet No 6

General details
Date: 09 January 2015 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 10:50 ESuT  
Location   (show map):Moruya Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Birdstrike 
Release date: 14 December 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Saab Aircraft Co. 
Aircraft model: 340B 
Aircraft registration: VH-OLM 
Serial number: 340B-205 
Operator: Regional Express 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Sector: Turboprop 
Damage to aircraft: Minor 
Departure point:Moruya, NSW
Destination:Merimbula, NSW
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Last update 14 December 2017