Terrifying ordeal of couple on horror flight where strike destroys propellor and pilot flies on for another hour with just one engine
A couple had a horror flight when a bird strike destroyed one of the plane’s propellors and the pilot flew on for another hour with just ONE ENGINE.
Joanne Corlett, 25, and he boyfriend Dan Brehaut, 23, were on a Flybe flight from Guernsey to Birmingham on Saturday November 8 when the ordeal began.
The startled couple were meant to fly to Southampton for a family gathering in Basingstoke, but had to swap flights as theirs was too full.
The flight had just taken off from Guernsey when passengers heard a loud bang on the left side of the aircraft.
When they looked out and saw the front cone of the prop had been smashed and the remains of a bird could be seen on the jagged edge.
But to their alarm, the captain announced that instead of turning round, the 78-seat Bombadier Dash-8 would carry on with the single remaining engine.
Joanne said: “At the time it was terrifying.
“I’ve never been scared of flying but this really shook me up.
“It was not until we spoke to other people after we got off the plane that we realised how dangerous it was to fly on.”
Joanne and Dan were travelling to a family party on the 10.30am flight last Saturday when the drama happened.
They heard a ‘loud bang’ shortly after take-off and a cabin assistant reported the damage to the flightdeck.
The first officer then made a PA announcement that they were shutting the engine down as a precaution.
Dan, an aircraft despatcher from Guernsey, filmed the incident on his mobile phone.
He said: “It is very unusual for an engine to shut down.
“I could see a bird’s claw was hanging off the prop.
“It’s not unheard of – I have heard stories about it – but I have never seen an aircraft sustain that amount of damage to it and carry on.
“Usually planes will land with a problem over the smallest of things, so it just seemed so unusual.
“When that bit of the prop came off, it could have very easily gone into the engine, and that would be the engine on fire.
“It could have hit the elevator – that’s the bit that pitches the aircraft to climb or descend – if you don’t have that, the plane crashes.
“Of course, there is nothing that anyone could do about hitting a bird, but I was just more concerned they carried on regardless.
“They took quite a while to shut the engine down – maybe 20 minutes into the flight – and then to carry on flying for the rest of the flight with just one engine.
“If something happened to that one engine, the plane would have just dropped out of the sky.
“They would have had to put the remaining engine on max thrust and it is not supposed to be at full speed for the whole flight.
“It was very unusual for them to carry on. I can only assume it was a case of the pilots wanted to be at home in Birmingham for the night.”
When the plane landed in Birmingham a full emergency had been declared and eight fire engines were scrambled.
The incident was reported to the Civil Aviation Authority who record all “birdstrikes”.
A CAA spokesman said: ‘We have received a Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) from Flybe relating to a birdstrike, which occurred during a flight on November 8th.
‘The aircraft landed safely at Birmingham Airport, with no injury to any passengers or crew.’
Captain Ian Baston, Flybe’s Director of Flight Operations and Safety, said: “Flybe can confirm that flight BE502 from Guernsey to Birmingham experienced a bird strike during Saturday’s flight.
“The aircraft continued it journey safely to Birmingham International Airport and was met by emergency services as a routine and precautionary measure only.
“Once at its stand all passengers disembarked normally.
“Flybe operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers’ guidelines.
“The safety of its passengers and crew is Flybe’s highest priority.”