UGANDA (eTN) – The Amsterdam-bound KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight on Sunday night was far from normal when a bird was apparently sucked into one of the aircraft’s engines, prompting the crew to shut down the engine and continue the initial climb with one engine. Following procedures, they then dumped fuel to reduce the aircraft’s weight to the maximum landing weight permitted before returning the aircraft to Entebbe, where as a precaution, emergency services had been put on alert.
Twin-engined jets are capable to operate safely with one engine shut down and cockpit crews, during their twice annual training in flight simulators, are specifically acquainted with such emergency procedures like continuing take offs with an engine shut down and returning a plane safely to the ground. A KLM source in Kampala also confirmed that a new engine would be flown into Entebbe at the earliest possible time to replace the damaged one before having the plane returned into service. The passengers, initially taken to Entebbe hotels to spend the rest of the night, were subsequently rebooked on other flights to Europe leaving the following morning and afternoon on Kenya Airways via Nairobi and other airlines with space on their flights out of Entebbe.
Entebbe is unfortunately known for the potential of bird strikes, especially during the day when birds are more active and the airport management is operating measures to reduce the possibility of this happening. Bird strikes at night, however, are not normal.