Bird-strikes are not unusual during flight. Hitting a bear, however, has never before been recorded. The accident happened on the evening of 14NOV20, as the plane was taxiing to the parking area after landing in Yakutat, in the south-east of Alaska.
The B737-700 pilots spotted the mother bear and its cub crossing the runway shortly after landing, despite airport crew members having followed standard procedures and cleared the runway 10 minutes prior to landing, which had been void of wildlife at the time. “The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. The female brown bear was spotted lying around 7 meters off the center of the runway, shortly before 18:30 during taxiing. Sadly, she was killed, but the circa 2-year-old cub was uninjured. No one on board the aircraft was injured, either. The aircraft’s left engine cowling suffered damage and it was therefore unable to continue its flight to Juneau (having come from Cordova via Yakutat).
Not an uncommon accident
Apparently, it is not the only unusual accident in Alaska. Other animals on record include deer, geese, and caribou. Though there is a fence around most of the airport grounds, staff are trained in the use of pyrotechnics or vehicles to remove any wildlife hazards prior to each landing.
AS operates preighters
In other news, Alaska Air Cargo has adopted HAECO Cabin Solution’s FAA-approved in-seat package stowage system enabling it to deploy passenger aircraft as cargo-only flights and adding freight capacity to its existing fleet of 3 B737-700F. It has also been flying a B737-900 as a preighter capable of transporting around 13,6 tons.
The HAECO solution adds another 6 tons of capacity for essential items. "Our teams have been working since spring to identify the safest and most effective processes to increase our cargo capacity,” Torque Zubeck, the Managing Director of Alaska Air Cargo, stated in a recent press release.
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