Pilot Robert Weber's video camera captures the moment a bird crashes through his plane's windshield. / Robert Weber, Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. - About 10 miles out from landing, pilot Robert Weber had his 1986 Piper Saratoga on autopilot and was enjoying the calm Saturday afternoon flight.
In an instant, the windshield shattered, feathers scattered, and something scraped across his forehead as his sunglasses tore from his face.
"It was a total shock," Weber said as he inspected his aircraft Sunday afternoon. "I have had a lot of close-call bird strikes. But this was the first hit."
Except for a small cut on his forehead, Weber came away pretty much unscathed. However, the entire pilot-side windshield is gone, there's a major crack and rip in the inside window frame and quite a bit of leftover bird along the top of the plane.
Weber was about 1,000 feet in the air and going 170 mph with no windshield after the bird hit. He made a mayday call and took the plane off autopilot.
"That's the part that scared me the most," he said, "That I was by myself, who was going to land the plane if I couldn't?"
A video of the strike that Weber has courtesy of a camera he had fixed to the inside of the six-passenger plane shows the accident.
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