As incident reports go, a preliminary report filed by the FAA on 27 April about a bird strike the day before wasn’t at all extraordinary, and it’s typical of several such reports that show up on a weekly basis:
AIR WISCONSIN FLIGHT 4091 CANADAIR CRJ200 AIRCRAFT, ON LANDING ROLLOUT, STRUCK A LARGE BIRD, NO INJURIES, DAMAGE IS MINOR, NORFOLK, VA
What was extraordinary in this case was that there was one fatality – a non-human variety that had become a celebrity on the world wide web and left behind three infants.
The female Bald Eagle who has been the star of a web cam operated by the Virginia Botanical Gardens (VGB) since she and her mate built the nest in 2003, was the unfortunate victim of the 26 April run-in with the CRJ at the Norfolk International airport in Virginia. The two raised 19 eaglets under the watch of the Eagle Cam since then.
“The three surviving eaglets were removed from the nest and sent to the Wildlife Centre of Virginia to be raised and released to the wild once they are old enough,” the VBG says on its website.
When I asked Air Wisconsin by email for a statement, spokeswoman Annette Daly told me:
Air Wisconsin is very saddened over the unfortunate incident during a landing at our Norfolk airport that resulted in the loss of a Bald Eagle. The incident occurred at the point of roll out after the aircraft had touched down. The aircraft did not have enough speed to abort the landing, nor would it have been safe for the passengers. It is a very sad situation, but the crew did the safest thing possible in maintaining their course and the safety of the passengers onboard.
The carrier says it plans to help the kids out. “We are happy to provide a donation to the eaglet fund for their ongoing support,” Ms. Daly says.