A bird-damaged Southwest Boeing 737 returns to service in 48 hours

Dallas, Texas - A Southwest Boeing 737, which was damaged by a bird strike, returned to service just in two days thanks to the quick work by NVision Inc., a 3D non-contact optical scanning and measurement company.

The rapid turnaround helped Southwest avoid the financial losses caused by grounding an aircraft for a long period.

Bird strikes cost airlines billions of dollars each year. Not only because of the damage, but also the incurring capacity loss due to the grounded aircraft.

In 2017, bird strikes caused at least 71,253 missing flight hours around the world. The cost of these flight hours was calculated at around $400 in the United States alone.

According to the records of the US Federal Aviation Administration, 14,661 bird strikes occurred during the commercial flights in 2018.

In the Southwest's case, one of the wing ribs of the airline's Boeing 737 aircraft suffered damage after a bird strike.


As an experienced tech firm in its field, Nvision helped Southwest to repair the aircraft faster than expected.

We have an extensive client base in commercial and military aviation. Our clients include Bombardier, Delta, American, Southwest, and Lockheed Martin to name a few, so we understand the urgency of an Aircraft on Ground, or AOG, situation. In addition to removing, repairing and restoring the damaged component, the airline also bears the cost of flight delays, cancellations, and missed connections. The immense expense incurred by grounding the aircraft made restoring it to flight-worthiness an immediate and top priority, Steve Kersen said, president of NVision Solutions.

NVision technicians scanned the damaged wing rib at the Southwest maintenance hangars with a highly developed laser scanner and collected all the required data, including its exact geometry; shape, size, and contours.

The collected data were transferred into special modeling software. The engineers then designed exactly the same part to be installed on the wing rib and provided the manufacturable CAD model to the airline.

After that, the model was rapidly produced and installed on the aircraft, enabling the Southwest's Boeing 737 to fly again just in 48 hours after the incident.