Malta Air (Ryanair) Boeing 737-800 suffers bird strike during approach Bologna Airport


On 24 November, a Malta Air (operating for Ryanair) Boeing 737-800 (registered 9H-QDG) operated flight FR1194 between London Stansted, United Kingdom, and  Bologna, Italy. During the approach towards the Italian airport, the aircraft was hit by a flock of herons. 

The pilots were able to safely continue the landing at Bologna Airport, despite damage to the nose, windshield, both wings. A few herons were ingested by the right-hand engine, which suffered a compressor stall.

A post-flight inspection revealed that the left-hand engine was also hit. Following pictures with the damage to the aircraft appeared on social media:


At the moment of writing, the aircraft is still grounded at Bologna Airport.


  1. Umm, Bart, I think you’ll find that the aircraft hit a flock of herons, not the other way round. I seriously doubt that the birds intentionally changed their flight path to ram themselves into a screaming, fast-approaching and very scary metal bird. It raises the question though why a shortrange bird radar didn’t pick up the flock …

  2. David: There is no “shortrange bird radar”.
    Aircraft radar is designed to detect precip only.

  3. Well now there’s an opportunity for someone Richard …. ground-based X-band radar can ‘see’ a cloud of biological material in the sky such as birds or insects. As you well know, bird-strikes are nearly always expensive, and can be catastrophic, so the motivation to have a dual-band radar – at least during the initial climb and late descent phases of a flight – is clearly there.


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