While bird strike incidents have been well reported and are a well known hazard faced by aircraft, David Cenciotti has recently noted another near miss that involved a rabbit on the runway during a recent airshow held in Rivolto to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori. Moreover, he posted a picture taken by Giovanni Maduli that showed the first section of five Alenia Aermacchi MB.339A/PANs of the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (Italian Aerobatic Team) taking off when a rather large rabbit scampered across the runway near the aircraft flown by the leader of the Frecce Tricolori.
Luckily, the rabbit was fast enough to avoid the aircraft, but the picture does serve pilots as a reminder of the hazards posed by wildlife on the ground during ground operations. And as we (and the Bangalore Aviation blog) noted back in July of 2009, its not just rabbits that you need to watch out for:
On July 17th, a Kingfisher Airlines plane was landing in Nagpur when three wild pigs ran out onto the runway and one of them made contact with the aircraft which resulted in no damage. The incident is a reminder of another incident that occurred on March 28, 2008 in Bangalore where a dog strike broke the nose wheel off of a Kingfisher Aircraft resulting in a blocked runway and a four hour shutdown of the airport.
If only pigs or dogs could run as fast as rabbits!
This reminds me of the time when we were in a smaller than advertised field in New Zealand. Potted with rabbit holes and a flock of birds standing in the longer-than-desired grass.
A game of jump out of aircraft to chase them off, jump in aged 172 and get ready to roll, then jump out, run around field shouting and waving arms and repeat after they all came back after a minute, many times ensued.
In the end extended our roll out by starting in corner of field and making sharp 90 degree turn to maximise speed. Dropped flaps one stage during roll, missed rabbit holes so cleared the fence with nose wheel and prop intact and 50 feet to spare.
Beware fields in New Zealand that are shorter than advertised on plate and never assume grass will be of the golf fairway variety! The runway length was given from fence to fence… we realised afterwards and grass not cut for a month.