What Happens When A Vulture Hits A Plane That’s Going 400MPH – Actual Footage

What Happens When A Vulture Hits A Plane That’s Going 400MPH – Actual Footage | World War Wings Videos

Smithsonian Channel / YouTube


“Birds are sort of an issue.” -Lt. Col. Emil Bliss

That’s a bit of an understatement. When you’re traveling at 400mph, anything in the sky can be  a very big issue. That certainly rang true for this Air Force flight instructor and his student at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.

Student Pilot Encounters Unexpected

Lt. Col. Emil Bliss, the instructor, describes the event. | Smithsonian Channel / YouTube

The pair was flying a routine low level route about 5oo feet above the ground. Instructor in the front and student in the back, the student was talking about what they should be expecting to see when all of a sudden a dark object came hurtling straight at them.

The Moment Of Impact

Black vultures have a wingspan of 4-5 feet. | Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren / Public Domain

As a viewer, you can almost feel the impact. The student pilot yelps as the plane is knocked off balance, having actually been hit in the shoulder. The entire right side of the canopy had been swiped off. Fortunately, though the the instructor had the connection ripped out of his mask and could not verbally communicate, he was able to take control of the plane.

The Aftermath

Bird blood from the collision leaves a gory spectacle. | Smithsonian Channel / YouTube

The object, it turns out, was a massive black vulture. The formidable bird bird with a typical wingspan of 4-5 feet never had a chance. But the scary part is that as powerful and as well built as the plane is,  just a single bird came close to costing the two pilots their lives. It at least made them consider ejecting. And as for the plane – plexiglass, blood, and guts everywhere.

Have we ever considered birds as an anti-aircraft weapon? Seems like it could be quite effective. Check out the footage below to see the collision. 

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