Narrative:Boeing E-3B Sentry 77-0354 was military Boeing 707-derivative, a.o. equipped and AWACS system. The aircraft, operated by the US Air Force 962nd Airborne Air Control Sqn, 3rd Wing, was assigned call-sign Yukla 27 for a 6.2 hr training mission. At 07:43 Yukla 27 was holding short of runway 05, waiting for takeoff, when a Lockheed Hercules departed. This aircraft disturbed a flock of Canada geese. The Yukla 27 crew were not warned about this by the tower controller. At 07:45 they were cleared for takeoff and the throttles were advanced. As the plane rotated for lift-off numerous geese were ingested in the no. 1 and 2 engines resulting in a catastrophic no. 2 engine failure and a stalling no. 1 engine. The crew initiated a slow climbing turn to the left and began to dump fuel. The aircraft attained a maximum altitude of 250 feet before it started to descend. The plane impacted a hilly, wooded area less than a mile from the runway, broke up, exploded and burned.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Ingestion of Canada geese into the no. 1 and 2 engines. Two contributing factors were the fact that the 3rd Wing lacked an aggressive program to detect and deter geese; the preparations for the migration season of the bird hazard reduction working group (BHRWG) were insufficient. An earlier safety agency staff assistance visit (SAV) had misled the 3rd Wing to believe that they were prepared. The second contributing factor was the tower controllers failure to notify Yukla 27 or airfield management that geese were present on the infield.
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 15.1.96(19)
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-96-38 through -42
» Military Boeing 707 Strikes Birds After Liftoff; Damage to Engines No. 1 and No. 2 Results in Loss of Power and Impact with Terrain (Flight Safety Foundation - Accident Prevention November 1996)