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A United Airlines flight from Tampa (TPA) to San Francisco (SFO) had to turn around after hitting several birds mid-flight.
Passengers aboard United Flight 2051 reported hearing “several thumps” as the A320 aircraft — registration N453UA — collided with a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The flight path shows the plane took off at 8:00am, circled just outside the Tampa area for three hours until the aircraft was light enough to land. It then landed back at TPA at 11:00am.
Reports say several birds were recovered from the runway after the plane landed back at TPA.
United #UA2051 to San Francisco returned to Tampa after striking several birds departing rwy 1L; ‘heard several thumps’. Possible damaged pitot tube(s). Burned fuel for more than 3 hrs to reduce landing weight.
Multiple birds recovered from rwy.
— Tom Podolec (@TomPodolec) March 15, 2018
The Federal Aviation Administration estimates about 11,000 bird strikes happen per year at US airports.
Featured image by Robert Alexander / Getty Images.
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