Cessna survives midair collision with geese
January 11, 2014 (DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.) (WLS) -- It was a terrifying plane ride for two suburban men after a goose strikes their small plane after takeoff, and the entire incident was captured on video.
It was just a small bird weighing no more than a couple pounds, but Keith Baird says he considers himself lucky to have survived after the goose collided with his plane a couple days after Christmas.
The broken Plexiglas windshield is the only visible sign of damage, but it could have been much worse.
"A few degrees, a few inches off one way or the other, we would have had a different outcome," Baird said.
Coincidently, Baird got a video camera for Christmas and he set it up for the first time to record this flight.
The camera captured the image as the bird suddenly crashed through the windshield sending debris and Plexiglas flying through the cockpit.
Longtime friend Norm Frees was in the passenger seat.
"Saw these four geese, the next thing, things are flying around, I'm kind of got a death grip on this little thing over here, just holding on for dear life," he said.
Birds can be a big problem for airplanes. There was the infamous Miracle on the Hudson in 2009 when pilot Sully Sullenberger landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River after it struck a bird.
And last year a couple of American Airlines flights were forced to return to O'Hare shortly after takeoff when birds got caught in the engines.
Small plane pilots get the same FAA training and Baird remained calm, and relied on what he learned after the bird came crashing in.
"Pilots are trained, you overlearn this. Aviate, navigate, communicate, and when you overlearn it, it's amazing, it was there instantly in my head when this happened, and the training really paid off," he said.
While some people might take some time away from flying, Baird says he plans to get back into the cockpit as soon as he gets the windshield fixed.
local, john garcia
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