Sylvia, the blogger behind the Fear of Landing blog had recently posted an interesting video of a near-miss involving an aircraft landing in Australia and an Emu. However, she went a step further and contacted the pilot in the incident to find out his side of the story about what happened.
According to the pilot, he takes a yearly trip up to a 200,000 acre farm (that’s right – the farm is 809 square kilometers and takes 2.5 hours to drive across) that raises cattle and has a landing trip. Normally he calls ahead to have someone shoo away the wildlife (e.g. wild pigs, cattle etc.) and this time around someone came out to shoot a wild pig on the runway.
However, and as he landed, an emu that was:
…was sitting on the side unseen in the bushes and we obviously startled it, and it bolted from cover in front. One of my passengers yelled out, and I jumped on the brakes, hard, and washed off about 40 knots in about 3 seconds! The emu went in front of us and lost his footing on the loose dust, just as the wing passed harmlessly over him! Cue much celebration!
That’s one lucky bird and one lucky pilot and aircraft as we can only imagine what kind of damage a giant flightless bird could have done to a small aircraft!