ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-8-401Q Dash 8 N409QX Medford, OR
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 8 January 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-401Q Dash 8
Operator:Horizon Air
Registration: N409QX
MSN: 4051
First flight: 2001
Total airframe hrs:2760
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 29
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 32
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:near Medford, OR (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA/KSEA), United States of America
Destination airport:Medford-Rogue Valley International, OR (MFR/KMFR), United States of America
According to the flight crew, who were approaching Medford on a clear dark night, while the aircraft was descending on an extended right downwind for runway 32, seven or eight large birds suddenly appeared in front of the aircraft. Before the flight crew could take any action, several of the birds impacted the nose of the aircraft and its windshield. The force of the impact shattered the inner-most pane of the windshield on the captain’s side of the aircraft, and numerous small chunks of the glass hit the captain in the face and chest. The captain, who was cut by the glass in several places, turned control of the aircraft over to the first officer, who executed a successful landing at Medford about five minutes after the encounter. It was later determined that, in addition to the damage to the windshield, birds had penetrated the composite nose cone as well as the stressed metal skin immediately in front of the windshield.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The fracture and spalling of the inner-most pane of the aircraft's port side windshield while on a downwind for a night visual approach due to an imposed load beyond that required for windshield certification (multiple bird strikes). Factors include a dark night, and a flock of ducks (Lesser Scaups) flying in the location of the visual traffic pattern."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 11 months
Accident number: SEA03FA024
Download report: Summary report

Bird strike
Forced landing on runway



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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA to Medford-Rogue Valley International, OR as the crow flies is 562 km (351 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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