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N607UA accident description

Massachusetts map... Massachusetts list
Crash location 42.375000°N, 71.002778°W
Nearest city Boston, MA
42.358431°N, 71.059773°W
3.1 miles away
Tail number N607UA
Accident date 19 Oct 2002
Aircraft type Boeing 767-222
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 19, 2002, about 0850 eastern daylight time, a Boeing 767-222, N607UA, operating as United Airlines flight 185, sustained minor damage when it struck birds on takeoff from General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts. The airplane sustained minor damage. The captain, first officer, 7 flight attendants, and 119 passengers were not injured. The flight was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

The airplane departed runway 22R, and struck the birds during the initial climbout. One double-crested cormorant was ingested by the #2 engine, another struck the right wing, and a third bird was found seriously injured on the runway. Even though the #2 engine was still producing power, the captain elected to shut it down as a precautionary measure. The airplane returned to Logan Airport and performed an overweight landing on runway 33L. The airplane was then towed to the gate, and the passengers deplaned normally.

Examination of the airplane revealed damage to the right inboard leading edge slat, landing light, and the #2 engine bypass stator vanes. Some of the vanes exited the forward section of the cowling at the 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock position.

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the public authority that managed Logan Airport, had a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan in place at the airport. The plan included regular, daily inspections of the runways and airport environment. On the morning of the incident, after examination of the airport perimeter, two Massport wildlife technicians reported "heavy bird activity" to the control tower, which was standard operating procedure. The Automated Terminal Information System (ATIS) was then updated to reflect this hazard, and was still active at the time of the incident.

Prior to flight 185's take-off, one of the wildlife plan supervisors reported a flock of birds to the control tower on 128.8, the tower frequency for runway 22. The supervisor reported the birds were flying about 200 feet over the approach end of runway 15, and were moving southbound. A tower controller responded that they had the birds in sight.

Shortly thereafter, a Delta Airlines Boeing 737 departed runway 22 without incident, followed by United Airlines flight 185.

A review of air traffic control communications revealed that no specific warning was given by the air traffic controllers to the Delta or United Airlines crews, due to the fact that the birds were not in their flight path. It was believed that the flock then split into two or three separate flocks after the Delta airplane took off, with one of the flocks turning east and directly into the path of the departing United airplane.

When asked if something could have been done to avoid this incident, a Massport wildlife representative answered "no." Moreover, no changes were made to the Massport Wildlife Hazard Management Plan.

Weather at the time included winds from 200 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 8,500 feet, overcast clouds 12,000 feet, temperature 50 degrees F, and dewpoint 41 degrees F.

NTSB Probable Cause

An inadvertant collision with birds during the initial climb out.

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