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After US Airways 'miracle on the Hudson,' concern grows about bird strikes

For the first time since records have been kept, the number of instances in which aircraft hit birds or other wildlife could top 10,000 for 2009. Increasingly, pilots worry about 'feathered bullets'.

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A flock of birds, disturbed by a plane's take off, takes flight from the side of the runway of the airport in Canandaigua, N.Y.

Vasiliy Baziuk/The Daily Messenger/AP/File

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It’s been just a year since US Airways Flight 1549 inadvertently rendezvoused with a flock of Canada geese, sending the Airbus A320 splashing into what everyone now calls the “miracle on the Hudson.” (And the geese into the great beyond.)

Hero-captain Chesley Sullenberger, his flight crew, and some of the passengers got together in New York Friday for a joyous and emotional reunion. Some were more than a little nervous as they rode a ferry out to that spot on the Hudson where their aircraft suddenly became a sinking vessel.

Making aviation officials nervous are the increasing incidents in which birds and aircraft try to occupy the same place at the same time.

"Birds and planes are fighting for airspace, and it's getting increasingly crowded," Richard Dolbeer, an expert on bird-plane collisions who is advising the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agriculture Department, told the Associated Press. For the first time since records have been kept, the number of instances in which aircraft hit birds or other wildlife could top 10,000 for 2009.

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