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Birdstrikes Continue To Wreak Havoc On Airplanes

by John M. White |

It seems that bird strikes are causing more serious accidents than before, with the total number of bird strikes on aircraft to exceed 10,000 in 2009. We all remember the landing in the Hudson River; however, in the first 9 months of 2009 there were no less than 57 serious damage to aircraft cases including 2 airplanes and 1 helicopter being destroyed by birds. At least 8 people died and 6 more were seriously injured. And there are many frightening reports of engines being destroyed and aircraft having to make emergency landings. One of the causes appears to be an increase in the populations of large birds like Canadian geese.
It seems that some of this increase in reporting has come as a result of the landing of the Airbus in the Hudson River. Before many incidents were not reported due to a fear that it might have an economic effect on the traveling public. The government data base shows more than 93,000 bird strikes since 1990, but the FAA was not making these numbers public in order to not frighten the traveling public. Once again we see big government trying to manage the public's lives by not disclosing all of the information we have hired them to collect and disseminate. But hiding this information can create a false impression amongst pilots that the problem is not as serious as it is. Helicopter Bird Strike The FAA is concentrating on working with airports to complete the required studies on the risks presented by birds. Most bird strikes occur near airports, but some even occur miles away from airports highlighting the need to reduce the threat of bird strikes away from airports. Some airports are removing shrubbery and other plants that attract birds, while others are aggressively harassing birds and reducing food sources near airports. In one case a Boeing 767 sucked a bald eagle into the right engine just after takeoff from Denver International Airport causing $ 14 million in damage. So keep your eyes open and be ready to react if you encounter birds! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to live in the real world. — Mary Shafer, NASA Ames Dryden.

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