Bird strikes damaged British and Spanish A400M Atlas airlifters
A Royal Air Force A400M Atlas airlifter has been damaged following a bird strike while operating at Getafe Air Base, Spain. The aircraft suffered substantial damage to the fuselage under the cockpit. A similar incident already happened to a Spanish air force A400M on May 7, also in Spain but at Zaragoza.
The incident now reported is the second bird strike involving an Airbus A400M that caused substantial damage to the aircraft. The A400M Atlas entered service with the Royal Air Force in 2014 (Atlas C.1 A400M), complementing the C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III fleets.
On May 7, an A400M operated by the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) was damaged following a bird strike incident while the aircraft was on approach to Zaragoza Air Base around 262 km northeast of Spain’s capital Madrid without threatening the aircraft stability. There were no injuries in the incident but the aircraft suffered damage to its under-fuselage near one of the aft wheel well. The damaged A400M successfully landed and performed a roll-out as the captain informed the control tower that they had struck a bird shortly before touching down. The aircraft needed then deep inspection on all the possible impacts on the aircraft systems before being repaired. Will there be any lesson to draw on some technical aspects of the frame conception aiming at preventing such damage that fortunately didn't affect an engine or a structural part of the aircraft?
The first A400M was delivered to Spain in November 2016. The first 14 aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2022 and the rest 13 will be delivered from 2025.