According to the United States Federal Aviation Administration, more than 14,000 bird strikes happen every year at US airports. Most of the time they’re inconsequential, occasionally they can cause a lot of damage, but things could have been especially catastrophic on Monday when a bird strike caused an A-10C Thunderbolt II to accidentally release three bombs over the state of Florida. Thankfully, they were just dummies designed for trainings.
According to the base’s website, the incident happened in the early afternoon local time on July 1, about 54 miles (87 kilometres) southwest of Moody Air Force base during a routine training mission. How exactly the bird strike caused the Thunderbolt II to release part of its payload is unknown, but the munition was a trio of 25-pound (11-kilogram) BDU-33 training bombs which are designed to simulate 500-pound (227-kilogram) M1a-82 bombs which would have resulted in a much different ending to this incident.
The BDU-33 is a 25-pound (11-kilogram) dummy bomb designed to stand in for the real thing during training exercises. Photo: Moody Air Force Base
Due to the unplanned release (and the lack of explosion upon impact) the Air Force isn’t sure of the exact location of where the training bombs landed, but officials suspect they’re “...in the general vicinity of 2 kilometers west of Highway 129 near Suwannee Springs”. The base is also warning the public not to handle the bombs if found, because while inert, they are equipped with a small pyrotechnic charge and could still be dangerous. If located, the public is being asked to contact the 23d Wing Command Post with details of the exact location, and to ensure others don’t approach the munitions until they’re recovered.
Featured photo: Wikimedia