Bird Strikes

So far only 2 have been reported

The following is a letter send to David about a bird strike incident that happened to Jas van Wyk while flying a Streak in South Africa


Good day David

Can you remember the airfield called ‘Lite Flite’, it’s about seven kilometres from ‘Cato Ridge’ airfield (We lost ‘Cato Ridge’ and moved to ‘Lite Flite’ another 90% field). Close by is ‘Grassroots’ and this is where everything started.

On Sunday morning I had been enjoying some cabbage patch flying (I hate doing just that) from ‘Lite Flite’ when I saw on the field at Grassroots a badly damaged plane standing/laying next to a hanger. I turned around and landed there to have a look. (I was on my way back to land at Lite Flite to refuel to fly to Haimville an airstrip in Drakensberg to visit a mate of mine who also owns a Shadow Serial No. SA000.

After a long discussion with the owner of the misfortunate little plane, I got in old faithful (The Streak Shadow, designed by the master Mr. D Cook) taxied to the holding point to do all my pre-flight checks, wound up the Rotax 912 engine on the runway pointing towards ‘Lite Flite’ (about 2 Nm away) opened the throttle and away we went.

As the nose lifted, I saw a bunch of birds about 200meters from my nose, but by this time I was already committed and the Grassroots runway was very short and by now there was no runway left to abort.

I tried to out climb the birds at 1700ft/ min, but the birds were scattered all over the sky in front of me. At that time I was about 600ft above ground.

I veered to the left to avoid the birds but they were there as well, I then veered to the right but they were there as well. At this stage the birds were about 10ft in front of me and at a height of 700ft, I shut the throttle down, pushed the Streaks nose down and switched the mags off as I knew I was going to fly in to the birds.

By this time the wings were at a 60% nose down angle when I felt a jolt and a horrible noise, something like when your wife is cross with you and slams the door in your face, and then the hand of God took over. I push the ailerons left to bring the wings horizontal, push the rudder to the left, for a left into wind approach for runway 19 at ‘Lite Flite’ BUT there was no rudder response, by now everything was happened quick and I was receiving guidance from God.

I pushed the nose down further to gain more speed and aimed for Lite Flite’s runway.

With no direction control and hard rudder control and full aileron control I put the Streak down in the middle of the runway at the edge of the runway at a speed of 60 to 65 knots.

When the Streaks back main gear touched the ground, I applied right brake to steer the Streak down the runway, but I was too fast and with no rudder the Streak had just one direction and that was straight forward, I went across the runway ran into the rough on the other side of the runway and just before the Streak came to a standstill the main under carriage collapsed.

However, I was fine and the Streak was still intact. Although the under carriage was bent back, the 912 water cooler (radiator) was destroyed and the belly tank was slightly damage (the tank took most of the impact).

All the people at ‘Grassroots’ saw what had happened, and got in to their 4x4s backies and bikes and rushed towards me, in their words to come and pick up the pieces. One fella tried to catch the duck that had hit me, as it lay on the road, it was still alive but disorientated.

The duck had flown in to the tip of the rudder near the skid, the rudder had broken off right at the boom tube and was hanging on the support cable and the push rod.

During the flight the rudder had pushed against the horizontal stabiliser and that is why the elevator was so heavy and almost ineffective.

The rudder had been upgraded a few years earlier with the specifications as indicated by you, but I know that no other rudder would have stood up to the force when that duck flew in to the rudder (60 knots and hitting a 2.5 to 3 Kg duck is a hell of a force)

I am convinced that I was helped by a hand from above, along with the fact that I was flying a Streak that saved my bacon. If ever I’m going to be in another situation like that, I hope I’m still flying a ‘STREAK’ and no other plane. If I had been flying anything else I’m sure the plane would have flipped upside down and dived in to the ground, and that would have been the end.

I believe that the two fins on the horizontal stabilisers did the trick, to keep the Streak straight in a forward direction.

This is a safe plane, safe as it can be in an aircraft.

I was in some nasty stuff in my Streak, so far the plane and I are still in one peace, I hope to repair her and fly again before the end of the year.

Please David can you help me with a new under carriage

You designed this flying wonder and I do enjoy her fully. I have flown a lot of other aircraft, but as far as I’m concerned this is still the plane to have.
I would like to send you some photos but I do not know where I stored them.

I have almost 1500hrs flying the Streak and Shadow and 1000hrs in other aircraft.

My Streak has 500hrs on the clock.

At the beginning of this year I installed a Rotax 912 engine and what a pleasure it is to fly.

She weighs 201kg and with an all up weight she climbs at 1100ft a min, cruise at 80 knots and stall at 27knots (no flaps), engine rev at 4000rpm and used between 6.4 and 7.2 Lt per hr. Max cruise at 5100rpm all up weight is 105knots.

Not even the four bladed ARPLASS prop was damage, just my nerves and pocket.

Master Cook thank you for this design, I don’t think you would find a  better two seater with these spec’s, most do not even come close.

© Copyright Jas van Wyk 2010