One minute into the flight, the Flying Shark fighter struck the flock, causing the left engine to catch fire.
Trainee pilot, Yuan Wei, immediately shut down the engine and signaled to the ground that he was planning to stay with the J-15 fighter.
The whole drama was captured by the pilot’s helmet recorder.
For 10 minutes and 57 seconds, under guidance from the control tower commander and another pilot in another plane, Yuan was given 50 commands, and carried out over 100 maneuvers, eventually making a forced landing on the third attempt. The fire tender was on the scene after a minute and doused the flames.
“Bird Strike” is a nightmare scenario in aviation. It’s estimated that the J-15 fighter was flying at a speed of 483 kilometers per hour. Striking a 0.5 kilogram bird at that speed can cause a force of 8.1 tons, which is equal to being hit by a missile.
A pilot is supposed to abandon the jet if the plane has lost all control. Yuan Wei said that he felt scared and helpless at that time. He was gripping the handle of the parachute in his right hand but didn’t eject because he thought the situation wasn’t that serious.
“If he had chosen to do a little sky diving at that time, no one would have blamed him,” said one of his leaders afterwards. Eventually Yuan Wei saved his “brother” worth nearly 400 million yuan.
According to official statistics, the risks of fighter pilots are 20 times greater than those of general pilots. Yuan Wei said that “flying the best plane, is the dream of all pilots. We love challenges.”
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily