MacDill Air Force authorities in Florida have confirmed that a NOAA plane’s takeoff last year was aborted due to a “fish strike.”
The unusual “takedown” occurred Sep. 10, 2013, but was recently confirmed when DNA results came in from the Smithsonian Feather Identification Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
It was not only a fish that hit the Gulfstream GIV, it was identified specifically, as a sheepshead fish.
Archosargus probatocephalus is common in the Atlantic and along the Gulf Coast and it more notable for its human-esque teeth than its flying ability.
The Gulfstream ’s pilot, Lt. Commander Nick Toth:
"We were nearing the point in the takeoff where we needed to rotate, or raise the nose of the airplane off the ground, when an osprey with something in its claws flew in front of our aircraft.”
As unbelievable as it may seem, NOAA’s flight crew and Florida wildlife managers seem to have an explanation for the rare event; they believe an osprey was enjoying his prey near the runway and tried to evade the plane when it started to take off. It did not end well for the osprey, the sheepshead, or the NOAA crew.
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