Embraer ERJ 145XR jet was hit in both engines by birds but completed flight

CommuteAir aircraft operating a United Express flight between Houston and Laredo on April 20 suffered a bird strike at 12,000 feet on both AE3007 engines, but managed to land at its destination

Bird strikes are a sadly common phenomenon in aviation, but on Thursday, April 20, an episode drew attention in the United States.

An Embraer ERJ 145XR regional jet, operating United Express Flight UA 4294, between Houston and Laredo, Texas, was struck by birds on both engines in flight.

The aircraft, registration N14162, however, managed to complete the flight and landed in Laredo 30 minutes later. The crash occurred at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters), half an hour after takeoff.

According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the two Rolls-Royce AE3007 turbofans were substantially affected, but remained operational.

Finnair E190 jet passes several birds during flight in 2013: common incident in aviation (Liam McManus)

After landing, the ERJ 145 was taken out of service for inspection. The aircraft is operated by CommuteAir, which has another 63 Embraer jets of the same type, leased by United Airlines.

The ERJ 145XR N14162 was originally delivered to ExpressJet in 2004, which had almost 300 aircraft of the model but ended operations in 2022.

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The FAA’s bird strike database reports that between January and March there were nearly 1,700 incidents of bird strikes with aircraft, 12 of them with substantial damage.


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