A KLM flight ended up right back where it started…six hours later…after a bird strike caused more damage than originally thought.
KLM Flight To Nowhere…Due To Bird Strike
On Sunday, KLM515 departed Amsterdam (AMS) for Zanzibar (ZNZ). The Boeing 777-200 (PH-BQD) experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff on the left engine. Bird strikes do not always require the flight to return to the airport. Here, the crew determined that it was safe to proceed, likely because no engine indicators lights went on.
However, as the flight passed over Athens at 35,000 feet, the flight crew opted to return to Amsterdam, fluctuating over 8,000 feet during the journey back to Schiphol Airport.
The flight landed without incident and was rescheduled for Monday morning. In total, the KLM aircraft spent six hours in the air. Pictures of the engine do appear to show damage to the casing and fan blades:
Uitklapfoto: Bird strike! 🦅 🐦 Schade aan de motor van @KLM Boeing 777 PH-BQD. Onderweg naar Zanzibar, omgedraaid boven Griekenland, terug naar AMS ✈️#avgeek #avgeeks #aviation #planespotting #KL515 pic.twitter.com/NCAXJ649fw
— Menno Swart (@MennoSwart) February 28, 2021
This isn’t the first KLM flight to nowhere. In fact, this flight seems inconsequential compared to a 2019 flight from Amsterdam that reached North America before returning and heading back to Amsterdam (an 11-hour flight to nowhere). KLM also operated a nine-hour flight to nowhere just two months ago after a 787 encountered a windshield crack over the Atlantic Ocean.
(H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)
> Read More: KLM Flight Reaches North America Before Returning To Amsterdam
It’s funny, after years of traipsing around, I have never really had a significant flight to nowhere. I think three hours was the most on AF once and was not a huge deal. Either I’m lucky or this is much rarer an occasion than we imagine.
Despite all the blogs reporting every single thing that happens these days, in retrospect I think I have experienced one medical diversion, one flight to nowhere, and one emergency landing. After three decades of grinding it out.
But, of course, 2020. My first ever witnessing of a death on a flight. It was the first flight of the year for me just a few days into January and left me feeling odd. I should have known then it would be an ominous start to a year we will all never forget.