The startling moment when a large bird smashes the windscreen of a plane in mid-air, hitting the pilot, has been caught on camera.
Pilot Robert Weber was flying his Piper Saratoga light aircraft in southwest Florida when a bird collided with the plane's pilot-side window.
The window exploded, sending shards of perspex and feathers into the cockpit. The pilot was cut on the forehead.
Travelling at 275kmh and 300 metres up, Weber said the first thing that came to mind after the surprise collision was the first piece of advice he was given when he started flying: "Just fly the f...... plane."
"I declared an emergency and got down as quickly as I could," he said.
After making a perfect landing, Weber said he was lucky he had not been knocked out. No one else was on board the plane.
The only part of the bird recovered was a leg and some feathers, which were to be used to try to identify the species involved.
- © Fairfax NZ News