Bird strike Serious incident Saab 340B VH-OLM, Friday 9 January 2015
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Date:Friday 9 January 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic SF34 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Saab 340B
Owner/operator:Rex Airlines
Registration: VH-OLM
MSN: 340B-205
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 19
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:Moruya Airport, NSW (MYA/YMRY) -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Moruya Airport, NSW (MYA/YMRY)
Destination airport:Merimbula Airport, NSW (MIM/YMER)
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On the morning of 9 January 2015, the crew of a Regional Express operated Saab 340B aircraft, registered VH-OLM, and were conducting a series of scheduled passenger flights between Sydney, Moruya and Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia. The first officer was the pilot flying on the Sydney to Moruya sector.
At about 09:55 local time a visual, straight-in approach was conducted to land on runway 18 at Moruya. The aerodrome forecast for arrival at Moruya showed a 7 kt wind from the north-east, good visibility and cloud from 2,000 ft above the aerodrome.
After touchdown, as the aircraft slowed through 80 kt, the captain took control of the aircraft for the taxi to the terminal in accordance with normal company operating procedures. The crew reported that, shortly after the captain took control, a large flock of galahs took off from the grass to the west (right) of the runway and flew at a low height over the runway eastbound. In anticipation of a birdstrike, the captain increased wheel braking and applied reverse thrust on both engines. Prior to reaching the galahs forward thrust was selected. Despite that action, about halfway down the runway the first officer observed birds had impacted the aircraft.

On reaching their designated parking area, and in accordance with the operator’s birdstrike procedures, the flight crew carried out testing of the ice protection system before the engines were shut down, with no issues identified. Once the passengers who were disembarking at Moruya had left the aircraft, the first officer commenced an external inspection of the aircraft. The captain notified the airport reporting officer of the birdstrike. The airport safety officer subsequently found around 10 bird carcases on the runway.
The first officer found clear evidence of multiple birdstrikes on the right side of the fuselage, and the right engine and propeller, in the form of blood staining and bird carcass debris. One of the left engine propeller blades also displayed blood staining and white powder marks, consistent with a birdstrike. Despite the bird impacts, no evidence of ingestion into the engines or physical damage to the aircraft or propeller blades was observed.
The captain and the first officer reported that they subsequently carried out a detailed visual examination of the birdstrike-affected blades. The examination included rotating the propellers so that the forward and aft blade surfaces could be inspected for cracking, buckling, chips, dents or deformation along each affected blade’s leading edge. When no damage was identified, the captain contacted the operator for further technical advice and the crew were subsequently cleared to continue with the flight schedule.
The crew then operated the aircraft from Moruya to Merimbula. After engine shutdown at Merimbula, the first officer opened the forward left door and observed that the tip of one of the left propeller blades had detached. The aircraft was declared unserviceable and grounded.
There were no reported injuries to the crew or passengers. No damage to the aircraft structure was identified as a result of the loss of the blade tip.

Contributing factors:
• The impact from multiple galahs almost certainly reduced the structural integrity of a propeller blade, resulting in the separation of its tip during the subsequent flight.
Other factors that increased risk:
• The permitting of flight crew to carry out post birdstrike inspections was outside the approval of the regulator and propeller manufacturer, and reduced the likelihood of identifying serviceability issues.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 11 months
Download report: Final report


History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

16 May 1997 VH-OLM Hazelton Airlines 0 near Bindook, NSW min
Engine failure
28 June 2002 VH-OLM Hazelton Airlines 0 7 km ESE of Bathurst, NSW non


Revision history:

16-Dec-2017 20:01 harro Added
16-Dec-2017 20:34 harro Updated [Photo, ]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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