Published 10:06 am, Wednesday, March 5, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — "Bird strikes" are a familiar hazard for aircraft. Now authorities at a Tampa Bay-area military base say they've recorded something new: a "fish strike."
According to MacDill Air Force Base officials, a jet flown by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pilot was struck by a 9-inch sheepshead during takeoff in September.
"We were nearing the point in the takeoff where we needed to rotate, or raise the nose of the airplane off the ground, when an osprey with something in its claws flew in front of our aircraft," said Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth, the NOAA pilot.
The crew of the Gulfstream GIV heard a thud and aborted takeoff, assuming they had hit the bird. The jet was not damaged, and none of the crew was injured.
Instead of bird remains on the runway, though, inspectors found the sheepshead, a silvery fish with black stripes on its sides.