Report blames 747 crash at Brussels on bird strike

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A file photo of a Kallita 747 landing in Amsterdam's Schipol Airport

Belgian official Etienne Schouppe has announced that the final report into the wreck of a Kalitta Air Boeing 747 cargo plane crash at Brussels Airport will blame a bird strike.

Kalitta 747 N704CK, bound for Bahrain, was taking off from Brussels and was four seconds past V1 speed when a bird strike occurred in engine #3. Two seconds after the bird strike the decision was taken to abort takeoff, but the jet was unable to stop in the distance left to it. V1 is the maximum speed at which takeoff can be safely aborted.

The plane exited the runway and broke into three main pieces. None of the five crew members was injured.

The investigation also confirmed that there was no structural failure prior to impact. The remnants of a kestrel were found in the engine. Flight K4-207 was carrying mail for DHL at the time, and severely damaged the Instrument Landing System during the crash, taking the equipment out of action for repairs. Both the runway and a nearby railway line were closed.

Earlier this month, Kalitta announced cost-cutting measures in response to the current financial crisis. A quarter of the 800 workers are to be laid off, and eight or nine of the airline's fleet of 21 747s are to be taken out of service.

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