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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garuda 737-800 vs a 1kg eagle - Palangkaraya 21 APR 12

The dented nose of PK-GEM

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 PK-GEM was operating GA550 into Palangkaraya airport on the morning of Saturday 21 April 2012. The aircraft was on final approach when it hit a low flying eagle. The aircraft landed safely.

The 1 kilogram eagle was killed instantly but was later found. The aircraft damage was limited to the nose radome. Passengers onboard only remembered hearing a thud close to touchdown.

Borneo TV footage at PKY airport
By 3pm, the aircraft was still being repaired, and it didn't leave until 630 am Sunday, as a ferry flight. Several passengers were disappointed due to the decision to make them wait all day, only for the flight to be cancelled.  Cause of the prolonged delay is reported to be a puncture in addition to the dent with the radome (although I think they were just waiting to get approvals for the post repair flight). Passengers were given a choice whether to remain overnight, get a refund, be transferred onto another flight, or catch another flight from Banjarmasin to the southeast.

It was a classical case of myth versus reality. The giant mythical eagle versus a real life eagle, to which both lost. The disturbing thing is, for 2 weekends in a row, Garuda has suffered rather bizarre setbacks. Only last weekend, a baggage container belonging to another airline went astray, hit and punctured another Garuda 737-800 in Singapore.

Time for the venerable duct/
speed tapes.

What is interesting is the BorneoTV footage, showing the nose radome dent disappeared, and the venerable duct tape or speed tape was administered. If a birdstrike does not dent the radome, then there should be no issues (but yes, check the pitot-static system to make sure that they're clear from leftovers from the bird), but the foto on top of this blog shows the dent. Did someone just simply knock/hammer the radome back?

But before anyone screams that this is outrageous, the aircraft flew back to Jakarta with no passengers, for some real repairs.
Interesting speed tape application
All photos from "Protespublik/yfrog.com" and BorneoTV.

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