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Birds + Planes = Problems

by John M. White |

By now we are all familiar with the "Miracle on the Hudson" where Captain Sullenberger performed a perfect ditching of an Airbus A320 into the Hudson River in New York with no injuries to passengers or crew. A great ending to a potentially tragic event. Birds Versus Airplane But are you aware of just how pervasive a problem bird strikes to aircraft are? The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) sure has, and provides us with a few facts:
  • The FAA has maintained a wildlife strike database since 1990;
  • The FAA wildlife strike database has recorded more than 100,000 civil and military bird strikes between 1990 and 2008!;
  • Most of the bird strikes happen below 3,000 feet above the ground;
  • The majority of the remains of these birds have not been identified as to species (72%, in fact);
  • One of the space shuttles - Discovery - hit a turkey vulture during takeoff on July 26, 2005!
The U.S. states with the highest number of reported bird strikes are as follow:
  • California with 7,557;
  • Texas with 6,160;
  • Florida with 5,700;
  • New York with 4,905.
The FAA went on to say that the civil and military aviation communities are well aware of the threat to human life, health and safety from collisions between wildlife and aircraft, and that these incidents are increasing. Many large bird species populations are increasing right along with increases in air traffic creating an inevitable increase in bird strikes to aircraft. For example, follow the link below to a power point presentation which demonstrates what I am talking about: You can also read a report prepared by the FAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture by downloading the pdf file below: If you have had some experience with birds, or any observations about this problem, please be sure to comment and continue the conversation! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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