2008 Citation Crash Attributed to Birdstrike Damage

A Cessna Citation I that crashed on takeoff on March 4, 2008 was brought down by large birds, according to findings by the National Transportation Safety Board. Birdstrikes were apparently suspected when the preliminary report was written days after the accident, which killed both pilots and three passengers on departure from Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City. The report noted that a witness "observed pieces of a bird falling from the sky to the water near his location. He described the pieces as white in color." The report further included reference to "residue" from the wreckage being sent for examination by an ornithologist. In its probable cause ruling, the board said the Citation sustained structural damage to a wing caused by impact by one or more large birds-subsequently identified as American white pelicans.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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