We have seen airlines operating some “nowhere flights” for flight enthusiasts in recent months due to the pandemic, even though this was a different type of nowhere flight.
KLM 777 suffers a bird strike and returns hours later
The KLM flight 515 yesterday (Sunday, February 28) from Amsterdam to Zanzibar was a bit of an adventure, as reported by The Aviation Herald. The flight was carried out by a Boeing 777-200 with the registration code PH-BQD. The aircraft experienced a bird strike on the left engine shortly after take-off as it left Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Although the crew knew there was a bird strike, there was no sign of anything unusual and they decided to continue the flight (this is not uncommon – I’ve seen this before and I’ve seen a lightning strike too, where we continued).
While the plane was at 35,000 feet and about 100 nautical miles southeast of Athens, Greece, the pilots finally decided to return to Amsterdam. Presumably there was an anomaly that prompted the pilots to make this decision, whether it was an indicator light or something else.
On the return trip, the aircraft’s altitude fluctuated as it first flew at 36,000 feet, then at 28,000 feet (which is quite low), and then rose again to 34,000 feet.
In total, the 777 spent almost six hours in the air before landing back at the original airport. Due to the fact that the aircraft has turned around, it seems clear that there was no imminent danger (or the flight would have been diverted) but that the aircraft likely had to be taken out of service for an extended period of time i.e. H. Much easier on a hub than on a small outstation.
The plane has been on the ground in Amsterdam since yesterday. Photos of the aircraft show some damage to both the fan blades as such and to the outside of the engine.
Uitklapfoto: Bird strike! Goodbye 🐦 Shame aan de motor van @ KLM Boeing 777 PH-BQD. Onderweg naar Zanzibar, omgedraaid boven Greece, terug naar AMS ✈️#avgeek #avgeeks #Aviation #planespotting # KL515 pic.twitter.com/NCAXJ649fw
– Menno Swart (@MennoSwart) February 28, 2021
The flight was postponed until today when it went smoothly.
Flights to nowhere are not uncommon
These types of unintentional, extended flights into nowhere happen more often than you might think. On average, we see maybe one or so every month and that could be for a variety of reasons. Heck, I’ve written about two different occasions KLM has made flights to nowhere:
A KLM flight to nowhere a few months ago
Yesterday a KLM Boeing 777 made an almost six-hour flight into nowhere. The plane had a bird strike when it took off, but all indicators indicated that there were no problems, and so the plane continued. However, as the flight progressed, there were clearly some problems. At this point the crew made the decision to return to Amsterdam.