Bird strikes damaged four aircraft on final approach to the Sacramento International airport at various times over a 14-hour period this past weekend.
According to FAA preliminary incident reports, the first strike took place at 1829h on the night of 19 December as a US Airways Airbus A319 (N816AW) was on final approach to the airport. The FAA says the aircraft ingested a bird into its right engine during the arrival, but landed without incident. Damage to the aircraft was not reported.
Roughly one hour later, at 1927h, a Frontier Airlines Airbus A318 (N806FR) struck a bird on final approach at the airport, damaging a leading edge slat, but causing no issue for the pilots on landing.
Another hour later, at 2025h, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 (N31412) was on final approach to the airport when it "struck several birds", according to the FAA. The aircraft also landed without incident. Damage to the aircraft has not yet been reported.
The fourth incident occurred twelve hours later when a Southwest 737 (N460WN) struck a "large bird" on final approach to the airport at 0825 on the morning of 20 December. According to the FAA, the collision damaged the aircraft's radome, but the aircraft was able to land normally.
An airport official tells ATI that all four strikes occurred more than 6 miles from the airport, well beyond the perimeter for which the airport's wildlife management control plan applies. Biological samples taken from the aircraft have been sent out for identification and results are expected back in roughly six weeks, she adds.
While bird strikes are not uncommon at Sacramento - the airport ranks in the top two airports in the US where FAA data shows bird strikes have caused substantial damage or hull loss since 1990 - the official says it was unusual to have a cluster of such incidents so closely spaced in time.