Locust strike: The story of Ethiopian 363. Report update: Crew opened windscreen twice inflight to clear debris

Ethiopian Flight 363


On the 13th of January 2020, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-700 was operating flight ET363 from Djibouti(JIB/HDAM) to Addis(ADD/HAAB) with a stop in Dire Dawa(DIR/HADR). While approaching Dire Dawa, the aircraft encountered a swarm of locusts. The aircraft diverted to Addis Ababa where it made an uneventful landing.

The locusts have been a big issue in that region lately with an invasion in the Horn of Africa which affected Somalia, Ethiopia and Northern Eastern Kenya.

As of 1330UTC the aircraft is back in service operating this flight:

Flight ET314 from Addis Ababa to Asmara


That’s a lot of bugs. Wow

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Yup, gladly no one was hurt and the aircraft seems operable. A bizzare incident indeed.

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If I’m honest, that actually looks pretty cool as a livery, just clean of the things that need cleaning, and you’re done


Ew, but imagine the reaction in the cabin😂😂😂

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Taking IFR to a whole other level


ArE tHoSe… BUGS?!?

what the heck are bugs doing here

Wow, with all that “bug juice” in the plane making some parts yellow, it looks like a special livery… Also might take pretty long to clean.


This all just keeps bugging me.


It does make sense because Ethiopian Airlines is a locust carrier.


HAHAHAHA the captains radio message

Pan Pan Pan Pan Pan Pan Ethiopian 363 surrounded by locusts, requesting diversion to Addis Ababa

Ethiopian 363 you said you were surrounded by what?


Ok then

Edit: This is the funniest thing ive read all year


Wow! That’s insane!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

On Jan 15th 2020 The Aviation Herald received information based on a screenshot reportedly showing the report of the captain of the flight, that the aircraft was on approach to Dire Dawa’s runway 15 when the aircraft entered a swarm of locust, it was like rain. The windscreen wipers were not able to clear the windshield anymore. The crew went around, climbed to 8500 feet, depressurized the aircraft, opened the cockpit side window and cleaned the windscreen by hand. The same happened on second approach to Dire Dawa. The crew again climbed to 8500 feet, cleaned the windscreen by hand again and diverted to Addis Ababa.

Source: avherald


The 737 cabin altitude is 8000ft when pressurised so there wasn’t much depressurisation required. The wind in the cockpit would’ve had to be immense though.

Also why would they bother with a second landing attempt if there’s a layer of locusts hanging around be approach area?

I am going to recreate this

Poor bugs 😔

This is really bugging me

Could u imagine the pilots reaction after he looked at the airplane

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Dire Dawa airport is at 3800ft. Most likely procedures at that airfield specified the crew to use 8500ft instead of 8000ft.

The captain most probably felt that the locusts would have migrated further away by the 2nd attempt. Good that they opted eventually for Addis Ababa.

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That makes sense, though I was just noting that the altitude was close to the cabin altitude as that was a good thing.

It sounds as though there were two swarms coincidentally during both approaches if it wasn’t a constant stream - looks as though they were big swarms.

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Ah so that’s why one side was clean but the other was not. Seemed odd to me when it was first posted on an herald, but if it was cleaned by hand then it all makes sense.

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