Bird Strike Data Released By FAA
by MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN - Huffington Post
April 24, 2009
The government will give the public its first uncensored look at the government's records of where and when airplanes have struck birds over the last 19 years; the FAA said in a statement that it will post data online Friday, April 24, 2009.
WASHINGTON " Airplane collisions with birds have more than doubled at 13 major U.S. airports since 2000, according to Federal Aviation Administration data released for the first time Friday.
Topping the list of airports where planes were either substantially damaged or destroyed by birds since 2000 were John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York with at least 30 such accidents and Sacramento International Airport in California with at least 28 such accidents. Kennedy, the nation's 6th busiest airport, is located amid wetlands that attract birds, and Sacramento International, the nation's 40th busiest, abuts farms whose crops draw birds.
The first disclosure of the entire FAA bird strike database, including the first-ever release of the locations of strikes, came thanks largely to pressure after the dramatic ditching of a US Airways jet in the Hudson River after bird strikes knocked out both of its engines in January.
The FAA list, published on the Internet, details more than 89,000 incidents since 1990, including 28 cases since 2000 when a collision with a bird or other animal such as a deer on a runway was so severe that the aircraft was considered destroyed.
Lovell Field, in Chattanooga, registered the greatest increase in wildlife strikes, going from four reported incidents in 2000 to 55 in 2008 _ a 1,275 percent increase.
Reports also doubled at some of the nation's busiest airports, including New Orleans, Houston's Hobby, Kansas City, Orlando and Salt Lake City.
Wildlife experts have said the population of some birds, particularly large ones like Canada geese, has been growing as more and more birds find the food to live near cities and airports year round rather than migrating.
All told, pilots reported striking 59,776 birds since 2000. The most common strike involved mourning doves; pilots reported hitting 2,291 between 2000 and 2008. Other airborne victims included gulls (2,186), European starlings (1,427) and American kestrels (1,422).
A single United Airlines 737 passenger jet suffered at least 29 minor collisions with birds and one accident involving a small deer _ more than any other plane since 2000. In only one case was damage significant, when the jet climbed out of Philadelphia International Airport into a flock of gulls flying at 1,000 feet the night of Jan. 30, 2006. The pilot declared an emergency after at least one engine sucked in a large gull and began vibrating badly. No one was hurt, but the airline spent about $37,000 in repairs.
The same plane has experienced incidents in San Francisco; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Jose, Calif.; Houston; Denver; Toronto; New Orleans; Chicago and Spokane, Wash. Its most recent incident was weeks before Thanksgiving when it struck a single small bird during takeoff in Denver.