Shortly after takeoff from Ramstein, Germany during his USO tour, coach Andy Reid's plane experienced what is known in the aviation industry as "bird strike," - where the plane's engine is struck by a bird, usually causing serious damage. Don't worry, though, Reid and the other NFL coaches with him are perfectly fine and the plane was able to land without further problems. NFL Director of Community Affairs David Krickavsky was on the plane at the time and described the situation to PhiladelphiaEagles.com:
"Everyone then settled into their seats, and our plane headed down the runway and got airborne. After climbing in the sky for only 30-60 seconds though, there was a solid thump on the right side of the airplane. Then the 'load masters' (airmen who are responsible for the cargo in a plane) who were in the cabin of the C17 with us started running around the plane and looking out the windows a bit frantically. Something was clearly amiss. A minute later, one of the pilots came on the load speaker and announced, 'We hit a bird on take-off. We don't know what damage has been done to the plane. We are currently circling and will be landing back at Ramstein soon.'
The experience, though, earned Reid a bit of teasing from his fellow head coaches. Reid happened to be sitting up in the cockpit during the time of the incident and, of course, was "blamed" for the bird strike. Coaches John Fox, Marvin Lewis, and Brad Childress peppered him with nicknames like "Captain Eagle" and "Birdman," joking that he was done flying for the day.
It's nice to see that everyone could laugh the bird strike experience off, especially when the flight could have so quickly turned into a disaster. I hope you'll all join me in wishing Reid and the other coaches a safe flight on their USO tour and a speedy return home. I'm sure Reid will have a bit more teasing waiting for him back in the states when training camp begins.