Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-09-074
Synopsis: On March 4, 2008, about 1515 central standard time, a Cessna 500, N113SH, registered to Southwest Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic PC of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, entered a steep descent and crashed after colliding in flight with a flock of large birds about 2 minutes after takeoff from Wiley Post Airport (PWA) in Oklahoma City.2 None of the entities associated with the flight claimed to be its operator. The pilot, the second pilot,3 and the three passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 with an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated from the ramp of Interstate Helicopters (a 14 CFR Part 135 on-demand helicopter operator at PWA) and was en route to Mankato Regional Airport (MKT), Mankato, Minnesota, carrying company executives who worked for United Engines and United Holdings, LLC.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require aircraft manufacturers to develop aircraft-specific guidance information that will assist pilots in devising precautionary aircraft operational strategies for minimizing the severity of aircraft damage sustained during a bird strike, should one occur, when operating in areas of known bird activity. This guidance information can include, but is not limited to, airspeed charts that depict minimum safe airspeeds for various aircraft gross weights, flap configurations, and power settings; and maximum airspeeds, defined as a function of bird masses, that are based on the aircraft’s demonstrated bird-strike energy.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
Mode: Aviation
Location: Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DFW08MA076
Accident Reports: Crash of Cessna 500, N113SH, Following an In-Flight Collision with Large Birds
Report #: AAR-09-05
Accident Date: 3/4/2008
Issue Date: 9/29/2009
Date Closed: 5/25/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s): Wildlife, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 5/25/2011
Response: The NTSB notes that the FAA has found no practical application for implementing additional speed-limit charts that consider kinetic energy in the event of a collision with birds. We further note that reliable and real-time information about bird behavior and size is not available at this time nor is it expected to become available in the near future. The NTSB points out that increased awareness among pilots of the effects of energy in a high-bird-threat environment is still needed. When pilots have the discretion to slow down in high-threat airspace—such as during departure and arrival planning, and other low-level flight—they should be aware of how reduced kinetic energy affects the survivability of a collision. Accordingly, we plan to issue a Safety Alert to highlight this issue. Because the FAA indicated that a strategy to address this hazard is currently not available, Safety Recommendation A-09-74 is classified CLOSED – RECONSIDERED. Thank you for your efforts to address this recommendation.

From: FAA
Date: 12/29/2010
Response: CC# 201100018: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The FAA evaluated potential operational strategies for minimizing the severity of aircraft damage due to bird-strikes. Our evaluation included potential additional speed-limit charts for consideration of kinetic energy in the event of collision with birds, but determined there is no practical application to implement. As the Board mentioned in the accident report, there are existing safety and efficiency constraints for selection of operating airspeeds. However, reliable and real-time information about bird behavior and size is not available, and is not expected to be available in the foreseeable future. We believe we have exhausted the possibilities for creating strategies to constrain airspeed in relation to birds given current technology. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed Safety Recommendation A-09-74, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
Date: 5/27/2010
Response: The FAA’s plan to review and evaluate available documentation is responsive to this recommendation. Accordingly, pending completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-09-74 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
Date: 12/23/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/7/2010 3:59:43 PM MC# 2100009: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The FAA will review and evaluate available documentation to determine an appropriate course of action with regard to this recommendation. We intend to consider the potential effects of various factors including, changes to normal terminal area airspeed practices and the air traffic management goals of Next Generation Air Transportation System, aircraft maneuver margins and engine out operations at low altitudes, reduced airspeed and increased time of low altitude exposure, and environmental issues of fuel efficiency, emissions, and noise.