Learjet Vs. Flock Of Birds: Both Lose

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

It was a collision with a flock of birds that forced a Learjet pilot to make an emergency landing in an Illinois farm field a few weeks ago. The fully-fueled plane burst into flames but, remarkably, there were no serious injuries. St. Clair County officials said the flight originated in Farmington with a pilot and co-pilot on board. The plane made a stop at the Downtown St. Louis Parks Airport to pick up two passengers en route to North Platte, Neb. The plane hit the birds shortly after takeoff. The flight's co-pilot told emergency officials the birds caused engine damage and he and the pilot fought to keep the plane upright and away from populated areas as they searched for an alternative landing sight. The flight crew successfully guided the plane into a field just southwest of Belleville, Ill. All four on board eventually evacuated the jet safely before emergency crews arrived. According to reports, the co-pilot and two passengers, possibly helped by a bystander, went back into the plane and pulled the pilot out before the fire started. The NTSB is leading the accident investigation.