United flight from Tampa spends hours dumping fuel after bird strike

- A Tampa flight bound for San Francisco had to be redirected back to Tampa International Airport on Thursday.

Shortly after 8 a.m., United Airlines flight 2051 took off. Moments later, it hit a flock of birds, according to airport officials.

As a result, the pilot flew in circles around the Gulf of Mexico for hours. The plane needed to burn off fuel so the aircraft could lose enough weight to land properly at TIA. It finally landed at about 11:30a.m., more than three hours after it took off. It’s unknown at this time exactly where the birds hit the plane.

A screenshot from FlightAware shows evidence of the path the United flight took following the reported bird strike. 

Thankfully, no passengers or crew members were injured as a result of the run-in with the birds. Passengers were placed on another flight to San Francisco. 

The Federal Aviation Administration says about 11,000 bird strikes happen every year. According to Business Insider, bird strikes cost U.S. airlines an estimated $1.2 billion every year.

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