in what was supposed to be my solo sign-off unfortunately became my first bird-strike while flying on saturday. on my 3rd (and what was going to be the last) dual pattern on downwind for runway 29 at hanscom, a large seagull / bird met it's fate with my right wing. for a split second i saw the flash of feathers and bird-ass about 20 feet ahead. i was traveling at roughly 100mph, and it seemed the bird about 25mph. as close calls with birds are not uncommon, they usually will dive off to a side and avoid the plane. we were about 5 feet underneath it, so it basically dove right into the wing. with a sound that was very similar to a "GORPH" the bird literally exploded and left a sizable dent in the wing. fortunately i never lost control of the plane (the strike itself was more like a tap on the shoulder) and bog-bless the designers at Piper, because the plane flew without a problem back to the ramp. below are the pictures of the plane.
as a side-note, i'm bummed not just because i have to wait 3 weeks to fly again (being signed off to solo would be great because i could work off just my schedule) but also being a vegetarian; i'm not supposed to kill things!