A Chinese fighter jet suffered a bird strike in-flight during combat training. The bird strike caused a sudden engine shut down, causing the jet to crash.
After many weeks of constant intrusions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) by People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes, Chinese state-run media announced that one of the nation’s fighter jets was taken down by a bird.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), PLAAF aircraft violated Taiwan’s ADIZ on 10 out of 18 days between Sept. 16 to Oct. 3, in a total of 50 sorties. However, the PLAAF’s self-cultivated image of invincibility took a hit in recent days when one of its jets crashed after meeting its match in an avian adversary.
On Oct. 5, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported that pilot Wang Jiandong (王建東) relayed encountering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. The engine’s in-flight shutdown warning immediately began flashing, and the display screen went black.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) October 5, 2020
After five seconds, emergency backup power kicked in and the cockpit display screen was restored. Wang then tried to push the throttle forward to increase thrust, but there was no response, as the engine had come to a complete stop.
As he was only 272.7 meters above the ground, Wang realized there was no time to return to the base to land and that his jet would soon crash. According to the Chinese state-run mouthpiece, Wang steered the plane away from populated areas “three times” within 37 seconds and aimed it at a rice paddy before ejecting a mere 75.9 meters above the ground and safely landing in a nearby orchard.