SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There was another bird strike scare at the Sacramento International Airport (SMF). We are now learning 127 passengers and crew were on board an AeroMexico flight bound for Guadalajara that was forced to land back in Sacramento Monday night after hitting a bird on takeoff.
The emergency landing went safely and no one was hurt.READ MORE: Folsom Ice Skating Rink Reopens After Weeks Of Delays
Sacramento Fire Department dispatch audio describes the response to the bird strike that left the pilot taking every precaution.
Sacramento Fire Dispatch: “…capitol tower… I’ve got an alert two… it’s going to be runway 1-7 right…”
Sacramento Fire Dispatch: “…127 souls on board…”
Sacramento Fire Dispatch: “…they hit a bird on departure…they’ve been holding for an hour they’ve got a vibration on the right side and they are returning for the airport…”
A Flight-Aware map shows the route the plane took circling south of the airport to burn fuel before returning to land.
“I’ve had bird strikes both at take-off and during landing,” Captain Gene Clinkingbeard said.
Clinkingbeard, a retired American Airlines captain, says pilots often can’t land right away after a bird strike because of the maximum weight rules for landing.
“So what they try to do in the smaller jets like that, they will burn off fuel, the larger jets, the wide bodies and so forth, have a fuel dumping system where they can actually dump the fuel in order to make a safe landing,” Captain Clinkingbeard said.READ MORE: 'AMEND Changed My Life': Program For African American Students Offers Path To Success
Birdstrikes are common at SMF, which sits along the Pacific Flyway, a migratory route for millions of birds.
Some birdstrikes are hardly felt, while others have severe impacts.
“Depending obviously on the size of the bird and the numbers of course. The most famous recent airstrike was US Airways flight 1549,” Captain Clinkingbeard said.
It was a birdstrike that led to the dramatic Hudson River landing by Sully Sullenberger in 2009 after all his engines failed.
At SMF, an avian radar system is now used to track flocks and even individual birds flying up to five miles away from the airfield.MORE NEWS: Rancho Cordova Jumpstarts Job Seeking Programs To Find People High-Paying Jobs
Avian migrations and airline operations — at SMF, it’s a pairing that can be a problem.