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Four NFL Coaches Have Scare On USO Plane In Germany

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A C-17 plane carrying the Eagles' Andy Reid, the Bengals' Marvin Lewis, the Vikings' Brad Childress' and the Panthers' John Fox, among others, struck a bird while taking off from Germany, forcing a quick landing so that damage to the plane could be assessed. ↵

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↵NFL Director of Community Affairs David Krichavsky is traveling with the coaches on the USO tour. His account of the incident was posted on the Eagles website. ↵

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↵⇥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 C-17 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." ↵⇥

↵⇥Although 3 of the 4 coaches were up in the cockpit and none of them – including Coach Reid – had any control over the plane, Coach Reid got all the abuse for this accident. As soon as the head coach of the Eagles descended from the cockpit, the group was ready for him: "Who let Captain Eagle up there? . . . Nice work, Birdman. . . Reid is done; no more flying for him!" I think I even heard Coach Fox mention that it was a good thing that we didn't have to call in Sully for the emergency landing. ↵⇥

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↵⇥As a result of our avian accident, our C-17 was grounded and we were stranded for the night in Germany. Our travels further 'downrange' would have to wait. Brad Childress summed it up best, "I guess a USO tour really is like a football game. You go in with a game plan. But to be good, you have to be flexible, know how to deal with ambiguity, and adjust." ↵⇥

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↵A collision with a bird may seem like little obstacle for an airplane, but as we know most recently from the Fox-referenced Hudson River crash early last year, they can quite hazardous. In fact, since 1960, more than 25 large aircraft crashes worldwide were caused by bird strikes. Luckily everyone involved is all right and this will not deter them from being involved in a great program going forward. ↵

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↵(H/T to ProFootballTalk) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.