Accident description
Last updated: 30 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 8 January 2003
Time:18:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-401 Q400
Operator:Horizon Air
Registration: N409QX
C/n / msn: 4051
First flight: 2001
Total airframe hrs:2760
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 29
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 32
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane 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
Narrative:
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: "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."

Sources:
» NTSB


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Map
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).

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