NTSB Identification: WPR10LA044
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of DELTA AIR LINES INC
Accident occurred Monday, November 02, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2010
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-90-30, registration: N909DA
Injuries: 70 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight crew reported that during climb to cruise they heard a loud bang, followed by a "pop" in the pressurization and loud noise within the cockpit. The first officer stated that prior to the loud bang he observed "several black dots" directly in front of him. The flight crew declared an emergency and diverted to their departure airport, where they landed uneventfully. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed an approximately 18 inch by 21 inch tear in fuselage skin located aft of the right side flight deck eyebrow window and structural damage to the upper portion of the fuselage. Bird residue and feathers were observed near the torn area of fuselage skin. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Feather Identification Laboratory performed DNA analysis, microscopic examination, and whole feather comparisons with museum study skins on the recovered residue and feathers. The analysis identified the residue and feathers as the remains of a Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis). The weight range for the species complex is recorded from 906 to 1,429 grams, with an average weight of 3.3 pounds.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

An in-flight collision with birds.

Full narrative available

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