American Airlines Airbus A319 Returns To Boston Due To Engine Compressor Stall

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  • Bird strikes are a common aviation hazard, occurring about 50 times daily globally.
  • The American Airlines flight was interrupted by a bird strike shortly after takeoff from Boston.
  • Despite the incident, the crew managed the situation well, safely landing the aircraft.

On Wednesday, March 20th, an American Airlines flight bound for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States suffered a bird strike shortly after takeoff from Boston, Massachusetts.

Bird strikes, a frequent hazard in the aviation industry with an average of about 50 occurrences daily, can pose significant risks to flight safety. While most incidents are managed without major issues, there are times when the severity of the strike leads to emergencies, as was the case with this flight.

The flight

American Airlines Flight AA-1146, a daily service between Boston Logan International (BOS) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), was abruptly interrupted by the bird strike. The flight, which typically takes around 1 hour 20 minutes to complete, was only a fraction of its way into the 280-mile (450 km) journey when it had to turn back.

An American Airlines Airbus A319.
Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez | @gquimar

The aircraft used for this particular flight was the Airbus A319-100, registration N762US, equipped with CFM56 (5B6/P) engines. According to Ch Aviation, the aircraft is 23.4 years old. It was delivered to US Airways on November 27th, 2000. As of December 31st, 2023, the aircraft had completed 61,658 hours and 38,557 cycles. American Airlines puts an average of 2,655 hours per year on the aircraft.

According to FlightAware, the aircraft took off at 12:22 local time from Runway 22 at BOS. Two minutes after takeoff, the crew asked to level off at 6,000 ft after experiencing a compressor stall on one of the engines. They also noticed the smell of smoke in the aircraft.

Passengers on the aircraft reported flames and smoke coming out of the engine. The pilot then subsequently reported a bird strike to ATC.

American Airlines Airbus A319

Photo: The Global Guy/Shutterstock

According to Aviation Herald, the crew maintained altitude for another six minutes and requested a long final to land, during which time they went through their SOPs and checklists. The aircraft began to descend from 6,000 ft nine minutes after the initial takeoff and safely landed 11 minutes later on Runway 22.

The entire flight lasted a total of 20 minutes, from takeoff to landing.


How Are Pilots Trained To Handle Bird Strikes?

Dealing with unavoidable wildlife encounters.


American Airlines used an Airbus A321neo (-200N), registration N467AL, from Miami International Airport to complete the flight. The flight was delayed for 10 hours, after which the replacement aircraft departed for Boston at 22:33 local time and reached Philadelphia at 23:40.

After the A321neo completed the delayed flight, another A319 was used to service the route in the past three days. According to FlightAware, the original aircraft has not flown since the incident three days ago and is undergoing maintenance.

Bird strikes

As mentioned, bird strikes are part and parcel of flying. Airports do all they can to reduce the possibility of them, but nature cannot be stopped. The majority of bird strikes, about 65%, cause little to no damage to aircraft.

American Airlines Airbus A319 on approach at Boston Logan International Airport.

Photo: The Global Guy/Shutterstock

Average Bird Strikes per 10,000 Aircraft Movements
Country Rate Period
Australia 7.76 2008 – 2017
Canada 3.51 2008 – 2018
France 3.95 2004 – 2013
Germany 4.42 2010 – 2018
United Kingdom 4.62 (confirmed) 2012 – 2016
USA 2.83 2009 – 2018

Data sourced from Research Gate.


How Often Do Planes Experience Bird Strikes?

Almost fifty bird strikes are reported daily on average. Only a fraction of those cause any significant damage.

  • American Airlines Tile
    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:


    Robert Isom

    United States

    Airline Group:
    American Airlines Group

    North America

    Loyalty Program:

  • Southwest 737
    Boston Logan International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United States

    Lisa Wieland

    Passenger Count :
    12,635,325 (2020)

    Runways :
    4L/22R – 2,397m (7,864ft) |
    4R/22L – 3,050m (10,006ft) |
    9/27 – 2,134m (7,001ft) |
    14/32 – 1,524m (5,000ft) |
    15L/33R – 779m (2,555ft) |
    15R/33L – 3,073m (10,082ft)

    Terminal A |
    Terminal B |
    Terminal C |
    Terminal E

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