OMAHA — One of four U.S. Air Force planes designed to be used by the President in the event of a nuclear war was damaged when it hit a flock of migrating snow geese just after takeoff, a military spokesman said today.
The E-4B, a modified 747, was about 1,200 feet off the ground when it encountered the geese Monday night, said Master Sgt. Mark Webber.
The geese were sucked into two of the engines, forcing the plane to land about 10 minutes after it had taken off from Offut Air Force Base.
The plane was on a routine training flight, Webber said, and none of the nine crew members were injured.
The pilots of the E-4B could not see the birds in the dark, Webber said.
The E-4Bs would serve as the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, one of three national military command centers that would be used by the President, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the event of a nuclear war.