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mrkeske

Birds and Skydivers

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So, recently some friends of mine showed me a video of a parglider that got a hit by a Vulture and it caused some prety serius shit. He gave me a little hard time because acording to him it could happen to me during free-fall.

So I was wondering, how would that affect a Skydiver? I mean, there are already some incidents involving collisions between skydivers and airplanes and between two (or more) skydivers. But what about birds? I mean, how often or probable would it be to encounter a bird somewhere in your skydive(FreeFall/Canopy Ride/Swoop)?
Did anyone already have an incident like that, or at least witnessed something like that?

On a fast search I only encountered one incident, in Boituva-Brazil. But I was curious if there where more incidents or at least close calls!

Paragliding Vulture Incident
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sqIkYcrlxQ

Bird almost hits Skydive mid-swoop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpSR_4VhSN8

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I've heard of a skydiver hitting a bird during the latest stage of the freefall somewhere in Belgium or Germany. It was a small bird, that hit on the visor of the helmet, breaking it and it caused some injury to the skydiver. Not life threatening, but definitely not nice (a black eye and cheek bone broken I think).

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It is quite possible to have birds flying higher than 500 ft. One time, in early eighties, at opening altitude (2500 ft), just after my parachute was fully deployed, I saw a bird, quite large, just nearby and flying swiftly away obviously afraid by my canopy deployment. Another time during the week at the same DZ, I was part of a three way and again at 2500 ft I saw, this time, an airplane changing rapidely its flying path. When the airplane landed, the pilot apologized and told me he thought there was no jump during the week at this place.
Being at the World FreeFall Convention at Rantoul (WFFC) one time after opening (2500 ft) a hawk was flying nearby and turning around me, probably surprised to find out another "flying bird", my canopy, being in his territory.
To come back to bird freefall interference, we can encounter at 2500 ft and more, geese, hawks, eagles, vultures and other prey birds.
To add a little scientific touch, the worst scenario is certainly a collision in free fall with such birds. At 120 mph there is enough kinetic energy to kill a person and/or badly damage a canopy deploying. Do you know that a test that many airplane makers are doing is to launch against airplane engine (on the ground) or else, 1 to 3 pound frozen or not chicken found in groceries in the meat department. They use a compressed air cannon and simulate impact and evaluate the capacity of an engine to "swallow" a bird.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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Here's one freefall incident that was shared on here a few years back:

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2227575

We've got hawks at Skydance that like to attack canopies ... if our pattern is to the south people are doing their base leg over or very close to a stand of trees where they live. They get pretty protective.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I had 3 large vultures dive about 50 feet in front of me under canopy on Saturday actually. I was at about 1K feet and it was the first time I had ever seen a bird anywhere near the dropzone. Pretty dang cool to see.

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I once hit a very small bird while driving at 125mph. It sounded like my car was hit with a baseball bat and it "exploded" the bird. It wasn't much larger than a humming bird, but I still couldn't imagine getting hit in the face with it at same speed.
"Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to attend his classes"

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About 10 years ago I tracked through a dispersed flock of white birds of some sort at about 4500 feet. Didn't hit one.

Another time a teammate during a 4-way competition landed with some bird poop on the front of his jumpsuit. Never saw the bird. I imagine the bird had an emergency "evacuation" when my 300 pound teammate approached from above in free fall.

-- Jeff
My Skydiving History

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RMK

I once hit a very small bird while driving at 125mph. It sounded like my car was hit with a baseball bat and it "exploded" the bird. It wasn't much larger than a humming bird, but I still couldn't imagine getting hit in the face with it at same speed.



I was riding passenger in my buddy's Jeep CJ-5 and he had the windshield folded down. We were doing 75mph, and I was turned toward him, yelling to be heard over the wind noise, when a bird passed *between* our heads, and under the roll bar. I still shudder to think what would have happened if it had been 18 inches left or right.:S
"There are only three things of value: younger women, faster airplanes, and bigger crocodiles" - Arthur Jones.

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I've seen some hawks at around 1500 on my way down. Usually I think they're mocking me since they can stay up and I can't. Even if I try to sit in their thermal. You can encounter birds higher, but it's statistically improbable. Sky's a big place. You're much more likely to hit another skydiver than a bird.

I'm a bit surprised we don't seem to have any collisions here between those damn Canadian geese that plague us all winter long and our swoopers. I've seen a flock of those things take off near the dropzone quite a few times. And there's goose shit all over the landing area. You definitely don't want to face plant your landing out there this time of year, that's for sure!
I'm trying to teach myself how to set things on fire with my mind. Hey... is it hot in here?

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A decade or so ago ... er ... so long ago that I was flying an F-111 canopy. I was hanging under canopy with a tandem student. Below I saw an eagle circling in a thermal rising off a construction site, so I flew over and followed him for half a turn. He glanced over his shoulder and turned away promptly, far tighter a turn than I could follow.

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Deimian

I've heard of a skydiver hitting a bird during the latest stage of the freefall somewhere in Belgium or Germany. It was a small bird, that hit on the visor of the helmet, breaking it and it caused some injury to the skydiver. Not life threatening, but definitely not nice (a black eye and cheek bone broken I think).



http://www.skyxtreme.com/archive/july2000/safety.html


Skydiver Got Hit By A Bird

Quote

While looking at this picture, one might think that the skydiver who got hit by this Titmouse pulled way too low but he did not! Statistically it's almost impossible, but during a formation jump, a member of the "Fila-Team" from Austria had this dangerous encounter at 5,900 feet. Fortunately, the bird got stuck in the visor of his helmet and only left him with a cut and a black-and-blue eye. As far as we know, such an incident in our sport never was reported before. These birds normally never fly at such a height, and the jumpers assume that the extreme heat of that day caused the bird to get lost on its hunt for insects. So watch out...you'll never know!

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t1mb0b

Under canopy, I am pretty sure it's possible.

In free fall, though....I don't know of many birds that cruise above 500 feet, unless migrating, but I could be wrong....



Really? Did you forget a zero on that number? Sunday i had a big vulture cruise with me during a tandem at about 2000 feet and have seen them higher.

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Hi Rob. The damage depends on the speed since kinetic energy (what does the damage) is proportional to the square of the speed. Twice the speed = 4 times the kninetic energy, 3 times the speed = 9 times the energy...). Have you seen the damage of a big pocket of water dropped from 50-80 feet on a car on Myths Busters ??? The car is a complete wreck.
Note : at 2-3 times the sound speed, a tiny stream of water (containing microscopic silicium dust) is cutting wood, glass and even stainless steel. This is used by many manufacturers.
Therefore, at the speed an airplane goes before landing, it is not a surprise to see important damages on engine or wings when hitting a not frozen birds. Actually, a soft projectile makes more damage since it spreads at impact.
Learn from others mistakes, you will never live long enough to make them all.

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Many years ago I recall a 206 load going to altitude and we went past a seagull. As I remember it was about 9000 ft. Someone pointed it out and we all saw it. Something no one expected to see. Definitely blew the long held theory about how high birds fly.

Although I remember many years ago the boys taking a chicken to 3 grand to set a world record for the longest and highest flight by a chicken.

There was a flaw in the plan and it didn't end well for the chicken. Unfortunately....
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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I was mainly referring to the bird strike tests done on jet airplanes. For example, when Canadair designed the CL-41 Tutor jet trainer (circa 1960) they fired chickens at windshields at 300 knots to prove that they could survive bird strikes at typical training speeds. Note that military airplanes frequently fly at high speeds (almost supersonic) at low altitudes.
Meanwhile civilian airplanes are limited to less than 250 knots below 10,000 feet. Slowing down helps air traffic controllers think as fast as airliners.

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