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Old April 21st, 2009, 03:36 PM   #21
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Hudson ditching survivor joins overwhelming public opposition to FAA bird strike data secrecy
20 April 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - A survivor of the jetliner that ditched in the Hudson River after hitting birds and most other public commenters opposed a government proposal to make secret its data on when and where such bird strikes occur.

Public comments about the Federal Aviation Administration's secrecy proposal ran 5-to-1 against it as the comment period closed Monday. One major group, which some had expected to support the rule, declined to take a position.

The primary trade group for U.S. airports, the Airports Council International-North America, told the FAA that its member airports were split on the issue so it "cannot take a position either supporting or opposing" the secrecy. But it urged the agency "to provide explanatory information to assist the public and media to use the data responsibly" if it decides against imposing secrecy.

Donald C. Jones, of Jacksonville, Fla., who was fished from the Hudson Jan. 15 along with the other 154 people aboard US Airways flight 1549, told the FAA he was "surprised and alarmed" to read its proposal. "This issue needs to be addressed openly, not swept under the rug," Jones said. Six private pilots and an air traffic controller also were among 35 people who objected in writing to the FAA's plan.

The Airline Pilots Association, which represents more than 52,000 professional airline pilots, the city of Portland, Ore., which operates three airports, and helicopter-maker Sikorsky Aircraft were among seven commenters who favored the secrecy.

After the Jan. 15 ditching, The Associated Press requested access to the FAA's bird strike database, which contains more than 100,000 reports of strikes that have been voluntarily submitted since 1990.

While still processing the AP Freedom of Information Act request, the FAA on March 19 quietly published its proposal in the Federal Register and provided 30 days for public comment.

The agency expressed concern that, if the data were released, some airlines and airports would reduce voluntary reporting of bird strikes for fear that the public and news media would misconstrue raw data and "cast unfounded aspersions on the submitter."

"Drawing comparisons between airports is difficult because of the unevenness of reporting" from airport to airport and the difference in local bird populations they have to deal with, the FAA said.

But Jones, director of an association of endocrinologists, was among several commenters who suggested the remedy for uneven reporting was to make the reports mandatory, not secret.

"Why isn't reporting of strikes by commercial airlines, private aviation and airports mandatory?" Jones asked the FAA. "How can the FAA ignore the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board that reporting strikes be mandatory?" The safety board made that recommendation to the FAA 10 years ago, noting that the database grossly understates the number of strikes.

The FAA says strikes increased from 1,759 in 1990 to 7,666 in 2007.

Opposing the FAA plan, Paul Eschenfelder, president of the aviation consultant Avion Corp. in Spring, Texas, wrote that in 2004 and 2007 a government-industry working group, which was rewriting the FAA's engine design standards for withstanding bird strikes, "agreed that the FAA wildlife database was unusable due to its incompleteness" and paid Boeing Co. "to develop a cogent database that all agreed was superior."

The pilots union, the city of Portland, Sikorsky and even the airports council expressed fear the public might misinterpret the data. "This data is complex and nuanced, and could be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted if disclosed in raw form to the public," wrote Nick Atwell, aviation wildlife manager for the Port of Portland.

Members of the public, however, bridled at that idea.

Robert M. McCauley, a Denison, Texas, attorney with a private pilot's certificate, objected to the FAA's "obvious concept that you have been `anointed' to protect the public from itself." McCauley said he was "just as anxious to know the location of high volume bird strike areas as I am of geographical areas that exhibit regular hazardous weather tendencies, each of which may well impact my decisions in planning flights and ultimately, my life."

Roger Maloof, of New Hampshire, who described himself as a mechanical engineer from MIT, wrote that "if we the people know of inadequately protected airports, then we can petition for corrections. Keeping the data secret only protects dangerous airports and endangers the general public. ... This is like hiding which roads are more dangerous in winter to protect the interests of the businesses on those roads."
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:02 PM   #22
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US FAA to open airline bird-strike data to public

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - Under pressure from safety investigators, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will open its database on incidents of airplanes hitting birds to the public beginning on Friday.

The FAA said late on Wednesday it had dropped its objection after a month-long review determined that releasing the information would not jeopardize safety by discouraging airlines and airports from reporting bird strikes.

Bird strikes are not uncommon and the issue drew worldwide attention in January when a US Airways jetliner struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff. With both engines disabled, the jet landed safely in New York's Hudson River.

Parts of the bird database have long been public, but specific information about airlines and bird-strike locations have been kept confidential to ensure continued cooperation from airlines and airports, which report the incidents voluntarily.

Some information will continue to be redacted to protect privacy, the agency said.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates airline and other transportation accidents, told the agency in a letter that a lack of public information "could hamper efforts to understand the nature and potential effects of wildlife threats to aviation."

The safety board believes mandatory reporting of all bird strikes would allow more complete and accurate assessment of the problem.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #23
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Researchers in Ohio hope remote-controlled planes will yield clues about bird-plane strikes
27 April 2009

HURON, Ohio (AP) - Researchers in Ohio want to use remote-controlled airplanes near Lake Erie to observe how birds react to planes in the air.

What they find could help reduce airplane collisions with birds.

Researchers with the National Wildlife Research Center office in Sandusky plan to do the study near the mouth of the Huron River where there is a large seagull roost.

They want to look at how birds react to lights on airplanes and whether lighting systems could scare away birds.

More attention is now being focused on airplane strikes after birds knocked out both engines of a US Airways jet and forced it to go down in the Hudson River in January.

------

Information from: Sandusky Register
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 04:00 PM   #24
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Animal experts ID birds that hit plane on Hudson
14 June 2009

CHICAGO (AP) - When animals are the prime suspects in a whodunit, who gets on the case? Turns out the nation's top natural history museums are often the go-to gumshoes in capers where feathers are the smoking guns and some stiffs have four legs.

The sometime animal CSIs most recently identified the birds that slammed into US Airways Flight 1549 over New York, shredding its jet engines and forcing Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger to successfully ditch in the Hudson River -- saving all 155 people aboard.

It was clear soon enough after the Jan. 15 accident that the ill-fated fowl were Canada geese. What wasn't known was whether they were migratory or homebody geese -- a critical distinction as airports devise strategies to shoo them away from aircraft.

That's where the museums came in.

The Feather Identification Lab at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington served as lead detective, while Chicago's Field Museum -- best known for its T-Rex skeleton named Sue -- provided feathery evidence.

"We try to tell people we're here for a reason -- and this case helps demonstrate that," said ornithologist John Bates, who works with the Field Museum's 480,000-bird collection. It includes inch-long hummingbirds, 5-foot ostriches and everything in between.

Rows of cabinets on the 116-year-old museum's sprawling second floor hold specimens of 90 percent of the world's 10,000 bird species. But the Field's 2,700 samples of Canada geese -- including some who migrated from the eastern Canada region of Labrador -- was the key to cracking the case.

At the Smithsonian's request, Field ornithologists sent Labrador goose feathers and tissue to Washington, where tests showed the culprits in the near tragedy on the Hudson were indeed the Labrador type -- not New York varieties that largely stay put year-round.

The clincher was a high-tech test in which Smithsonian scientists looked at stable-hydrogen isotope values in feathers -- telltale markers that indicate where vegetation eaten by the birds grew. The migrating Labrador geese ate grass from different areas than the stay-at-home New Yorkers, and that showed up in the test.

The findings, published in the June 8 editions of the journal "Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment," mean New York airports may have to develop one method to keep high-flying migratory geese away from planes and another for the birds that nest in the city.

"A lot of people say who cares about knowing the bird type," said Carla Dove, the aptly named program director at the Feather Identification Laboratory. "But that's critical. The strategies differ according to species. If you have starlings or turkey vultures, you deal with it differently."

Authorities may manage resident birds by harassing and culling them or modifying their habitat. Dealing with transient birds may require more elaborate methods, including recording their flight patterns or employing sensitive radar that detects their movement over runways.

The US Airways bird strike isn't the only case Field scientists have cracked over the years.

Authorities have sought their assistance in identifying animals smuggled into the U.S. and the feathers on headdresses brought in by tourists who may not have known they were fashioned from endangered birds, explained another museum ornithologist, Dave Willard.

His detective work included once trying to decipher how many pieces of chicken were in a meal that may have been eaten by a suspect in one of suburban Chicago's most notorious murders -- the slaying of seven people inside a Brown's Chicken restaurant.

His comparison of the leftovers found in the garbage with chicken bones in Field's collection was inconclusive -- though Willard still testified at the 2007 trial of suspect Juan Luna, who was later convicted.

Requests for Field detective services have tapered off over the past decade, in part because federal wildlife and other labs have taken up much of the slack.

When Chicago police shot a 150-pound cougar last summer after many residents had pooh-poohed sightings as an urban legend, a Cook County forensics lab conducted the post-mortem exams. But the big cat's remains are kept at the Field Museum for further study.

The Smithsonian's four-employee feather lab is busier than ever, though, as the number of bird-plane collisions has soared. Pilots have reported hitting more than 59,700 birds since 2000, most often mourning doves, gulls, European starlings and American kestrels.

Every week, dozens of bird carcasses, parts or merely gooey remnants arrive by mail after they've been scrapped off damaged plane engines. Bird-strike cases processed by the unit jumped to more than 4,500 in 2008 from around 300 in 1989, Dove said.

The lab has a success rate of more than 90 percent in identifying birds and solves many cases in just hours using a database of bird DNA. But the US Airways strike involved multiple birds who weighed an average of 8 pounds, and it took Dove and her team months to sift through 69 bags of remains.

Without the Field's goose collection, pinpointing the precise type of Canada geese could have taken longer, possibly forcing researchers to travel to breeding grounds themselves to gather samples, Dove said.

She agreed the US Airways case shows that bird collections, many compiled over more than a century, aren't just an academic indulgence.

"Sometimes people on the street don't see how this work can be applied to their lives," she said. "Here, we can see these collections can be used for an immediate improvement in public safety. That's incredible."
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Old June 24th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #25
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About 800 geese near NYC airports trapped, euthanized to reduce bird strikes of jetliners
19 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - About 800 Canada geese around New York City's two airports have been trapped and euthanized, part of an effort to reduce the type of bird strike that led to a jetliner landing in the Hudson River last winter

Birds have been culled from 15 sites within five miles of LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Carol Bannerman says agency biologists and other specialists are trapping and euthanizing the birds. Officials plan to kill 2,000 geese within weeks.

U.S. Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia on Jan. 15 and was over the Bronx when it ran into geese and lost both engines.

Pilot Chesley Sullenberger safely landed the plane in the river that lies between Manhattan and New Jersey. All 155 aboard survived.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #26
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Man vs. Goose.
6 July 2009
Time
Volume 173; Issue 26



With populations of Canada geese soaring, cities are taking drastic steps to deal with these unruly flocks.

Rikers island has held New York City's tough-guy prisoners for more than a century, but it is also populated by a much flightier group that stands accused of crimes against New Yorkers: Canada geese. Attracted by the vacant fields and easy access to water, thousands of geese have come to live on the fringes of the island, which is less than a mile from La Guardia Airport. But because the big birds have shown a propensity for colliding with jets--there have been at least 68 Canada-goose strikes in New York State in the past decade--on June 11, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to remove up to 2,000 geese from city-owned properties like Rikers. That's "removal" in the Tony Soprano sense, with henchmen capturing and asphyxiating the birds. News that the city would be whacking such majestic creatures set off animal-rights advocates, but officials have held firm. "We have to balance animal rights with public safety," says Edward Skyler, New York City's deputy mayor for operations. "For us, it's not a contest."

Call it the geese war--and its battlefield extends far beyond New York. With few predators and lots of lawns to graze on, the migratory birds have taken up full-time residence throughout much of the U.S., where the Canada-goose population has soared to more than 3.2 million. To some, that's a blessing--the black-and-tan birds are beautiful, particularly in flight. But to others, Canada geese are noisy, smelly--not to mention aggressive--guests that have overstayed their welcome. Cities including Minneapolis and Reno, Nev., have implemented annual culling programs as neighbors in smaller towns fight over what to do about early-morning honking and maddening traffic fowl-ups. "The number of geese is growing, and the conflicts are getting worse," says Allen Gosser, a federal wildlife official in Albany, N.Y.

Canada geese shouldn't be present in such numbers--and they nearly weren't. Thanks to overhunting and habitat loss, their numbers were dangerously low by the 1950s. But better environmental laws helped reverse the decline, and the geese learned to adapt to and eventually thrive in man-made environments. Ponds in public parks, people to feed them, nicely mowed yards and golf courses--Canada geese found a home in America's expanding suburbs, even in such hot spots as Arizona, Florida and South Carolina.

That's great for bird lovers and bad for planes. In January, a flock of geese struck both engines of US Airways Flight 1549 out of La Guardia, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Bird strikes are up nationwide, with pilots reporting more than 82,000 such collisions from 1980 to 2007 Not all those incidents involved Canada geese, but since these birds can grow to be as heavy as 14 lb., they present a particularly meaty threat to planes.

Canada geese are also prolific poopers, and with excretions adding up to as much as 1 lb. a day per bird, the health hazards are serious. The birds have been blamed for fecal contamination that has led to beach closings. "It's not just the geese, but what the geese leave behind," says John Moriarty, natural-resources specialist for Minnesota's Ramsey County parks.

Moriarty and fellow wildlife officials across the U.S.--as well as in Canada, Britain and other countries--have been trying to control the goose population for years. So how do you goose Canada geese? For starters, you get people to stop feeding them. Another method is to change the landscape; like good suburbanites, Canada geese prefer well-trimmed lawns and will shun long grass and shrubby areas that can hide predators. They can be scared away by noisemakers, fireworks, falcons and border collies. Pouring vegetable oil on goose eggs prevents them from hatching and also tricks their parents into not laying more eggs that season. "You need an integrated solution that draws on all these methods," says David Feld, national program director for the goose-control group GeesePeace.

Until recently, communities had been rounding up excess geese, then relocating them to less populated areas. But geese numbers have grown so large that no one will take more birds. So now--usually in June, when geese are molting and can't fly--birds in many areas are being captured and gassed with carbon dioxide. Also, at some airports, workers are being trained to use shotguns, in case birds get too close to active runways. "Shooting one or two birds prevents them from damaging the plane--and it sends a message to the rest of the flock," says Gosser.

But animal lovers are livid over what they see as needless slaughter--a debate repeated almost everywhere Canada geese are being culled. In New York City, it didn't help when Bloomberg commented that gassing geese amounted to "letting them go to sleep with nice dreams." Pro-goose activists picketed at Union Square as well as at Bloomberg's posh Manhattan home. "Are we going to extinguish every single bird in the sky?" asks Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals.

Certainly not. There are believed to be some 25,000 resident Canada geese in the New York City area, way more than the 2,000 that officials are sending to permanent dreamland. Meanwhile, DNA tests released in June showed that it was a flock of migratory geese from Nova Scotia that brought down Flight 1549--so targeting resident geese alone won't keep airplanes safe. Researchers are looking into more-effective defenses for airports, like improved radar systems.

Killing geese because they get in our way is a bit unfair. "You can argue that we created the environment they live in, so too bad if we don't like it," says Peter Capainolo, a senior scientific assistant at the American Museum of Natural History. Canada geese aren't the best neighbors, but that doesn't mean they deserve the death penalty.
Geese are also prolific poopers, with excretions adding up to as much as 1 lb. a day per bird


How cities are battling population growth

HAZING

A popular nonlethal method is to use dogs, birds of prey and even fireworks to scare Canada geese away

EFFECTIVENESS

Can help push geese out of sensitive areas like airports, but the harassing needs to be done repeatedly

OILING EGGS

Covering eggs in vegetable oil keeps them from hatching and also fools adults into not laying more that season

EFFECTIVENESS

Good but often time-consuming--trained workers need to find and oil a large number of eggs

CULLING

A euphemism for killing, this generally involves catching and gassing adults during the molting period, when they can't fly

EFFECTIVENESS

More humane than shooting, which often leads to slower, more painful deaths
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Old June 30th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #27
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FAA: Plane lands safely at NYC's LaGuardia after reporting bird strike
30 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - An American Airlines flight from Miami has landed safely at New York's LaGuardia Airport after reporting a bird strike.

FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac (SAY'-lak) says the strike was reported by Flight 1256 at 900 feet Tuesday morning.

The Boeing 737-800 landed safely and taxied partly to the gate before reporting trouble with the nose gear. It was then towed into the gate.

Salac says a preliminary inspection indicates a bird struck a hydraulic line in the nose gear.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for Fort Worth, Texas-based American, says the 135 passengers were not aware of any trouble and disembarked normally.

Planes hit birds every day in the U.S. A bird strike was responsible for the dramatic landing of a jetliner in the Hudson River last winter. All aboard survived.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 07:58 PM   #28
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Bird strikes a growing problem at U.S. airports

NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) - Despite renewed efforts by New York officials to keep skies around the city's airports clear of wildlife, a passenger plane was damaged after hitting a bird as it landed this week in what is a growing industry problem.

While the flight landed safely at La Guardia airport on Tuesday, it became one of about 7,000 planes a year in the United States to be involved in a so-called bird strike, of which 14 percent suffer damage, industry data shows.

The problem costs the U.S. industry up to $650 million a year and the global industry $1.2 billion annually, said Michael Begier, national coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Airport Wildlife Hazards Program.

"It's a problem that has been increasing," Begier said. "We're flying a lot, we have quieter planes, and we have a lot more wildlife. We're all competing for the same airspace."

Begier did not provide specific figures, but said bird strikes have increased over the past few decades.

A global spotlight was shone on the the battle of birds and humans to share the sky when a jetliner struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff from La Guardia airport and was forced to make a spectacular landing in the Hudson River off Manhattan.

"I think when people hear the word 'bird strike' now they know what it means," Begier said.

The water landing sparked new efforts to deal with the everyday problem of planes striking birds. Last month, New York began culling 2,000 geese from around the city's two main airports.

"The incident served as a catalyst to strengthen our efforts in removing geese from, and discouraging them from nesting on, city property near our runways," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said when unveiling the plan.

The measures also include a trial of a bird radar at John F. Kennedy airport.

Since 1912, there have been nearly 500 people killed around the world in plane crashes caused by birds, Begier said.

The birds don't have to be large to be a threat. Begier said the two worst losses of life were caused by planes hitting flocks of the small European Starling. The crashes in Boston in 1960 and The Netherlands in 1996 killed more than 100 people.

Three quarters of bird strikes occur around airports.

Begier said the best way to address the problem was to make those habitats unappealing to birds, including using loud noises to scare them away on a day to day basis. A "last resort" was to cull wildlife.

"We know we that we can mitigate the problem and we can definitely reduce it at airports," Begier said. "But there's always a chance that there could be an incident."
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Old July 12th, 2009, 06:51 AM   #29
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Portuguese plane turns back after hitting birds: report
11 July 2009
Agence France Presse

A Portuguese plane made an emergency landing moments after takeoff on Saturday following a collision with a flock of birds, the airline said.

The TAP Portugal Airbus A330 200, which was carrying 205 passengers en route to Caracas, Venezuela, hit the birds as it set off from the northern city of Porto.

"As it took off, the plane collided with some birds and the pilot thought it best to do a U-turn for technical checks," a spokesman for airline TAP told the news agency Lusa.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:22 PM   #30
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Safety board to consider 2008 Oklahoma City bird collision that killed 5 aboard business jet
27 July 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - For the five men who took off from a small Oklahoma airport aboard a business jet that ran into a large bird, there was no miracle river landing.

The twin-engine Cessna Citation 500 had climbed to 3,100 feet and was passing over a corner of Oklahoma City's Lake Overholser on March 4, 2008, when it collided with a white pelican, one of North America's largest bird species. Witnesses said they heard a noise that sounded like an engine stall, and then saw the plane plunge nose down trailing a plume of gray smoke about four miles from Wiley Post Airport.

Pilots Tim Hartman, 44, and Rick Sandoval, 40, and business executives Garth Bates Jr., 59, Frank Pool Jr., 60, and Lloyd Austin, 57, were killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider the safety implications of the accident and whether more should be done to prevent similar tragedies.

The dangers of bird-aircraft collisions have received extensive scrutiny since US Airways Flight 1549 ditched into the Hudson River in January after striking a flock of Canada geese following takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The incident was dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when all 155 people aboard survived.

Where Flight 1549 became celebrated for what went right, the Oklahoma City accident is illustrative of the many things that can go wrong.

Although bird populations generally are declining, nearly all large bird species have been increasing since the enactment of environmental protections in the 1960s and 1970s. Air traffic has also increased dramatically, and even though traffic is currently down due to the poor economy, annual takeoffs and landings in the United States are forecast to surpass 1 billion a year by 2020.

"We have birds and planes that are literally fighting for air space," said Richard Dolbeer, an expert on bird-aircraft collisions.

One resurgent species is the white pelican, which averages about 16 pounds but can weigh up to 30 pounds.

"I don't want to be an alarmist, but in my view something has got to be done about this," NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker told an aviation club in Wichita, Kan., this spring.

Wiley Post is sandwiched between two lakes and adjacent to a wildlife refuge. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends "wildlife attractants" be no closer than five miles from the outermost edge of an airport.

FAA also requires airports receiving federal aid that are surrounded by wetlands or water to assess the risk of wildlife collisions. Though Wiley Post would appear to meet those requirements, airport officials didn't conduct a risk assessment and had no plan for reducing the risk of collisions, according to NTSB documents.

Documents also suggest the airport may not have been diligent in reporting bird collisions to a national database maintained by FAA and the Department of Agriculture. From 1990 to June 2008, Wiley Post reported eight bird strikes to the database. Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma City's largest airport, reported 364 bird strikes during the same period.

NTSB recommended a decade ago that airports and airlines be required to report all bird strikes to the database, but FAA has kept reporting voluntary. Only an estimated 20 percent of bird strikes are reported to the database. The agency is just now commissioning a study to see if reporting should be mandatory.

Former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall said mandatory reporting would identify where the problem is the most serious and where countermeasures have been the most effective.

Radar records in the Oklahoma City crash show 19 blips believed to be a flock of birds passing over Lake Overholser in the path of the Cessna Citation minutes before the collision. But while the birds are identifiable in hindsight, there were nearly 6,000 blips in the general vicinity of Oklahoma City minutes before the crash.

FAA has been testing bird-detecting radar at a handful of airports. The technology is still primarily useful as a tool for wildlife biologists who track birds on airport property and employ measures to drive them away.

Some experts believe the ultimate solution may be equipping planes with some kind of technology designed to drive birds away -- perhaps flashing lights or noise that birds find particularly irksome. FAA, however, has no such research under way.

"I'm sure that if we had more resources thrown at it we would develop more effective uses of the technology than we have," said John Goglia, a former NTSB board member. "Until we give it the right focus, (the problem) is going to continue to grow."
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:28 PM   #31
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American Airlines plane bound for LAX ingests bird, makes emergency landing in St. Louis
29 July 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An American Airlines plane bound for Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing after one its engines ingested a bird soon after takeoff in St. Louis.

Airline spokesman Tim Wagner says Flight 449 had just departed at about 2 p.m. Wednesday, when the pilots noticed a loss of pressure in the right engine.

Wagner says the pilots powered down the engine and returned to the airport, where the passengers and crew disembarked. There was no fire or smoke, but mechanics will repair the engine.

He says 140 passengers were put on another plane, which arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at 5:40 p.m.
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 06:32 PM   #32
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Swiss plane in forced landing in Turkey
2 August 2009
Agence France Presse

A Swiss-operated passenger plane was forced to turn back to an airport in southern Turkey due to an engine problem following a bird strike shortly after take-off, a company spokeswoman and officials said.

The Boeing 757-200 took off from Antalya, a popular holiday resort on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, en route to Zurich at 12:56 pm (0956 GMT) with seven crew and 206 passengers, including a baby, Antalya's deputy governor Hayrettin Balcioglu told the Anatolia news agency.

The pilots requested permission for an emergency landing six minutes later, citing a technical problem in one of the aircraft's engines, he added.

Nobody was injured during the incident.

Balcioglu said the plane was operated by Air Berlin of Germany but a company spokeswoman told AFP that the operator was Belair, a Swiss airline in which Air Berlin holds a 49-percent stake.

The spokeswoman added that the aircraft did not make an emergency landing, but turned back to Antalya after a bird strike a few minutes after take-off.

A Kuwaiti tourist waiting at Antalya airport told Anatolia that he took a picture of the plane just before it maneouvred to land back at the airport, showing flames in one of its engines.

The airline is currently organising another plane to take passengers to Zurich and inspecting the original aircraft for damage, the Air Berlin spokeswoman said.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:29 AM   #33
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Kuwait Airways makes emergency landing at ZIA

Sun, Aug 2nd, 2009 5:58 pm BdST

Dhaka, August 2 (bdnews24.com)A Kuwait Airways flight with 229 passengers on board made an emergency landing at the Zia International Airport on Sunday immediately after taking off with engine trouble.

The director of the airport, wing commander M Saeedul Hasan Khan, told bdnews24.com that the engine problem might have developed from a collision with a bird. No-one was injured in the incident, though, Khan added.

The plane had left for Kuwait at 7:38am but returned and landed immediately.

Traffic officer of the airline Mahmudul Hassan said, "One engine of the plane developed complications after a bird came in contact with the plane."

The airline sent 30 passengers to London and five to Paris by another plane and kept the rest at hotel. Fifty-five of them will be sent to their middle-east destinations on Sunday night, according to Hassan.

But no decision has been made about the 90 who were to go to New York, the officer added.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 06:41 AM   #34
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No plan to tackle bird hits at city airport yet
20 August 2009
The Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Over 114 passengers on board a private Delhi-Ahmedabad flight, ready to land at the city airport, had a mid-air scare on Tuesday morning. A bird hit the aircraft. Fortunately, the plane made a safe landing.

The incident has raised questions on whether the Ahmedabad Airport Authority is doing enough to deal with frequent bird hits at the airport. This was the fourth incident of bird hit at the Ahmedabad airport in the last three months.

At present, Ahmedabad airport operates around 100 flights, with over 11,000 passengers travelling every day. Recently, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also proposed a committee to conduct bird audit which would take stock of the measures of shooing the feathered creatures at the airport and suggest any new mechanism required to tackle the mess.

Ahmedabad airport is notorious for bird hits. It is among the top four airports in the country which has the highest number of bird hits annually. According to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), United Nation agency, airports should conduct an inventory of bird-attracting sites within the ICAO defined 13 km bird circle, paying particular attention to sites close to the airfield and the approach and departure corridors.

However, Ahmedabad airport authorities have done little so far in controlling mushrooming slums around the airport boundary walls and the unattended greenery around the runway attract birds for regular feed.

When contacted, Ahmedabad airport director PB Bhagat refused to comment on measures to control bird hits. In the past, there have been instances when the pilot had to report a stray dog sighted on runway to Air Traffic Control (ATC), Ahmedabad. Not just dogs, bird hits at the time of landing or take off are also common.

Last year, airport authorities had installed a three-feet-tall Zon gun, an LPG cylinder-operated device with a rotating barrel which booms roughly every 30 to 40 seconds to scare birds. An ATC official system said, "Most of these Zon guns are non-functional and those that are functional, hardly scare birds away."
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Old August 20th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micrav View Post
Why not put a special net in front of engines?
Yea, not even a screen, just something big enough from stopping big birds from becoming ingested.

Plus you could have ground crews spotting up to an altitude where if there is an issue, it can land safely on the ground vs in a river.


- A
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Old September 21st, 2009, 05:14 AM   #36
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Garbage compounds woes of bird hit airport
17 September 2009
The Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Authorities of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport are a worried lot with reports of bird hits on the rise. And, not just birds, even stray dogs and monkeys can be found prancing about the runway. This because thick vegetation and garbage dumped here by nearby residents makes it an ideal feeding ground.

In June this year, a group of monkeys had a field day at the airport leading to runway incursion. Airport authorities had to call district forest officials to chase them away. Fortunately nothing untoward was reported.

Recently, a Delhi-bound flight had a narrow escape after a pariah kite hit the aircraft before take-off. The pilot aborted the take-off and returned to the hangar with its six-blade engine damaged.

According to airport authorities, the bird menace has reached an alarming state. An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said, "Earlier, bird hit cases used to be reported mostly in September and October. But this year, such cases were reported from June itself. There is urgent need to look into reasons for the sudden attraction of birds to the airport area. AMC authorities are co-coordinating on this issue."

This airport sees daily traffic of 120 flights carrying and bringing an average of 1,000 passengers. After the providential escape of many flights from birds hits, Ahmedabad airport authorities held a meeting with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials last month to deal with the growing menace.

Managing the 600-acre spread of land under Ahmedabad airport authority is proving to be a Herculean task. A team of AAI and AMC made a joint inspection of the area to check the problems plaguing the airport. The major findings were breach in outer airport walls, huge accumulation of garbage in the airport vicinity, thick green vegetation and free zone of cargo area of Ahmedabad Airport authority inside the campus. The team observed that garbage strewn around made it an ideal feeding ground for birds and stray animals.

Says a senior AMC official, "The cargo area for AAI, which is on revenue land, is completely neglected. It has seven breaches and labourers working there use it as a short cut. Garbage disposal by residents of Kubernagar and Meghaningar among others is also responsible for attracting birds."

Sources at AAI, however, said that wall fortification has started.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #37
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Cutting bird strikes not 'insurmountable' task
Improving rules, radar, aircraft all part of industry's long-range view

7 December 2009
USA Today

As they sat idling before takeoff on a runway in Rome, the Delta Air Lines co-pilot asked the captain whether they should ask airport workers to shoo away the large flock of gulls ahead, Italian investigators later reported.

No, the captain decided. The flight was already late, and an air- traffic controller had just cleared it for takeoff a second time.

Within seconds, as the Boeing 767 carrying 288 people roared toward liftoff on July 7, numerous birds thumped into the wide-body jet, Italian accident investigators found. Both of the plane's massive engines were heavily damaged and vibrating, but they continued producing power, and the jet returned for a safe landing, according to a report by Italy's Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo.

This little-known accident in Rome two years ago demonstrates that there are simple things regulators and airlines can do to reduce risks from birds, according to top experts in bird hazards.

"Let's start with the elemental basics. Tell operators not to take off into birds," says Paul Eschenfelder, an airline pilot who teaches college courses on bird risks. "We don't even have that now."

A daunting challenge

Preventing another potentially catastrophic bird collision like the one that crippled both engines on a US Airways jet Jan. 15 will not be easy. The Airbus A320 struck a flock of geese at 2,750 feet altitude several miles after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport.

The collision occurred northeast of New York City, home to thousands of geese and a favored stopping point for migratory birds. The pilot landed the plane in the Hudson River, and all 155 aboard survived.

Parts of airplanes other than the engines also are vulnerable. One such incident came Nov. 4 when the windshield on an Ameriflight Beech C-99 cargo plane was shattered after it struck a bird at 11,000 feet on approach to Show Low, Ariz. The impact splattered blood and broken glass throughout the cockpit. The single pilot could barely see through the cracked window and could not hear the radio over the roaring wind -- but landed safely.

Experts in bird strikes say far more can be done in better instructions for pilots and research on how to predict where birds fly and make planes stronger.

Eschenfelder likens the issue to microbursts, sudden wind changes that caused numerous crashes in the 1970s and 1980s until new technology and pilot training all but eliminated them. "We can do a lot more about it than we are doing now," he said.

Others say considerable hurdles remain to speedy action. Even if radars can spot heavy bird activity in a region, there is little agreement about what to do with the information. "I don't say it's insurmountable, but it's a pretty incredible task," says Sidney Gauthreaux, an emeritus professor at Clemson University who has spent decades studying bird migration patterns using radar.

No single solution

There are several ways to reduce risks from birds, according to experts, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the airline industry:

*Pilot training and procedures. While carriers offer general advice to avoid birds, no U.S. airline has specific guidance for pilots on such matters as when to abort a takeoff if birds are nearby.

More specific advice about scenarios to avoid and better pilot training on the hazards of birds would help, Eschenfelder says.

*Avian radar. The same radars that track rainstorms and aircraft also can spot birds. The FAA is studying different models and testing the devices at airports. Such radars could help monitor birds' flying patterns and track their movements at night when they can't otherwise be seen. The Air Force uses bird radar at some of its bases.

Technical limitations make it difficult to cover all of the area above an airport with radar. Even harder is deciding how to use the information to help air-traffic controllers guide aircraft, Gauthreaux says.

One answer may be using weather radars aboard aircraft to monitor skies for birds, enabling pilots to spot hazards themselves, he says.

*Slower speeds, steeper climbs. Flying slower reduces the damage birds cause when they hit aircraft, according to the NTSB. Similarly, climbing or descending more steeply through areas where birds fly also could reduce the chances of a collision.

*Strengthening aircraft. The NTSB in September recommended that the FAA study how to make aircraft surfaces stronger so they could withstand impacts with larger birds.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #38
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Bird risk to jets a 'flashing beacon'
Safety group raises issue as cases soar

7 December 2009
USA Today

Several spectacular collisions between aircraft and birds in recent months are stark evidence that last January's water landing of a US Airways jet that hit geese is far from unique and that the hazards may be increasing, according to federal records and aviation safety experts.

The Commercial Aviation Safety Team, a government-industry aviation safety group, on Friday for the first time elevated birds to its list of priority issues at the urging of the Federal Aviation Administration and Agriculture Department.

In an incident jarringly similar to the collision with birds that is now dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson," large birds damaged both engines on a Frontier Airlines Airbus A319 that had taken off from Kansas City on Nov. 14. One engine sputtered out, but the other engine maintained power after the birds hit its exterior, missing the critical fan blades by inches, according to a preliminary accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board. None of the 130 people aboard was hurt after an emergency landing.

Also last month, a bird blasted a hole through the windshield of a cargo plane over Arizona and another gouged an 18-inch tear in the side of a Delta Air Lines jet near Phoenix. Birds also have been involved in several helicopter accidents this year, including a crash in Louisiana that killed eight people headed to an oil platform.

"This is a big flashing beacon," says Carla Dove, head of the Smithsonian Institution's bird identification lab. The lab's load of cases assisting federal accident investigators has soared this year. "It's time to wake up."

"I don't think we can dismiss what happened to (US Airways Flight) 1549 as some freak event that is unlikely to happen again," says Richard Dolbeer, a retired Agriculture Department wildlife biologist who has studied bird hazards for decades. "These incidents that we've seen recently are proof of that. It's something we need to be concerned about."

Since January's Hudson River accident, the FAA has improved reporting of bird strikes and is writing tough new requirements for how airports should combat birds and other wildlife, says Kate Lang, the FAA's acting associate administrator for airports.

Airlines believe that the risks from birds are relatively small, but it deserves more attention because other hazards have been addressed, says Basil Barimo, vice president for safety at the Air Transport Association, the trade group for large airlines.

Bird experts contend that the FAA and the industry have not moved quickly enough. There needs to be a massive effort to create new technology, such as radars that track birds, and to study other ways to reduce risk, they say. "The time to act is now," says Russ DeFusco, former chief of the Air Force's effort to reduce bird hazards.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 01:51 PM   #39
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NY, NJ jets hit Canada geese after takeoff on consecutive days; both planes land safely
11 March 2010

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Two jetliners crossed paths with flocks of Canada geese shortly after taking off from airports on consecutive days in New York and New Jersey, and the collisions with the large birds forced the pilots to make emergency landings. No one was hurt.

A US Airways jet headed to Charlotte, N.C., with 124 passengers and a crew of five struck several geese Thursday morning about two minutes after leaving Rochester's airport in upstate New York. The pilot reported a problem with one of the two engines, and the plane turned back, officials said. Passengers said they heard a loud noise followed by the smell of burning.

The Airbus A319 landed safety at 8:30 a.m. The plane underwent repairs, the flight was canceled and passengers were shifted to other flights. The last bird strike at Rochester's airport was three years ago, airport spokeswoman Jennifer Hanrahan said.

Canada geese also struck a Continental Airlines jet with 301 people aboard shortly as it took off from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Boeing 777, bound for Hong Kong, landed safely and did not appear to be damaged, the airline said. Most of the passengers were rebooked on a flight Thursday morning to Hong Kong.

There were warnings of migrating birds in the area, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Canada geese typically range in size from about 6 pounds to 12 pounds.

In January 2009, another Charlotte-bound US Airways flight struck a flock of Canada geese and lost both engines minutes after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who retired earlier this month, landed the Airbus A320 safely on the Hudson River and was quickly hailed as an American hero. All 150 passengers survived.

Reports of airplanes hitting birds and other wildlife surged last year, including serious accidents such as birds crashing through cockpits and crippling engines in flight, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of new government data.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 06:55 AM   #40
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Gov officials saves human lives chasing away birds
By JASON H OROWITZ
4 October 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) - Michael J. Begier is a mild-mannered government official who loves his job.

"It's fascinating work," said Begier, the national coordinator of the Department of Agriculture's Airport Wildlife Hazards Program. In bird-loving circles, Begier has another job title.

"Contract killer," hissed Patrick Kwan, an official with the Humane Society of the United States.

Begier, 40, is the man who makes troublesome birds go away. The wildlife biologist is the government's point man for drafting and executing policies to eradicate avian threats from the friendly skies. His office is on the speed dial of cities, states and airports swarmed by winged saboteurs, especially the Canada geese, European starlings and European rock pigeons that perch atop the current ornithological terror list.

"We're the federal office people turn to when there is a wildlife situation," said Begier, as pigeons circled a hot-dog stand outside his Independence Avenue SW office.

Since January 2009, when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 struck some Canada geese and caused the high-profile "Miracle on the Hudson" landing, Begier has been very busy.

There are now 3.89 million Canada geese in the United States -- and 1 million on the East Coast -- up from 230,000 in 1970. There are not enough predators to keep them in check. That's where Begier comes in. Between October 2008 and September 2009, the last year statistics are available, Begier's colleagues at Wildlife Services chased away 400,000 geese from golf courses, athletic fields, gated communities and other places where lawns are plentiful and man and animal come in conflict. But at airports, Begier said, "there is zero tolerance."

Last year, Wildlife Services technicians euthanized 24,000 geese, a full 10,000 more than the year before. Most are gassed in CO2 chambers, but those in close proximity to planes at airports are dispatched with a gunshot. Begier and his team have sought to raise awareness of the peril from above, but airport wildlife biologists warn that only about a third of bird strikes are even reported.

------

On a recent workday afternoon, Begier walked to his office down the squeaky hallways of the Department of Agriculture. He wore a blue tie and a pen in the pocket of his checkered shirt. Balding and sporting a '90s boy-band beard, he had just finished a strategy session where he imparted best bird-whacking practices to a delegation of Nigerians ("They are very professional"). Back in his office, he hurriedly prepared for an international bird-strike committee conference at Cairns Airport in Australia, where he would deliver a paper titled "On Board and on the Ground: New Strategies to Reduce Bird Strikes."

Begier came to the bird issue after forestry college in Syracuse, silviculture research in Arkansas -- "to grow pine more effectively for pulp and paper products," he specified -- and then a largely successful effort to keep deer off the runways at the military airport in Cherry Point, N.C. ("Eighty-nine percent of the time the deer and the plane collide, the deer dies. But there is also plane damage.")

"Getting out of school, did I think I'd be here?" Begier said in a moment of reflection. "No."

And yet he has gone on to great distinction in his field, attested by a Special Achievement for Wildlife Mitigation Award from the FAA propped on a bookcase. The posters hanging around the room speak to his passion. On one wall, a poster showing a plane taking off right into a flock of geese read "Strike One -- You're Out." On another wall, a framed poster pondered: "When does a goose become an elephant?" The answer: "When it collides with an aircraft!"

"High school physics," Begier explained matter-of-factly.

Flight 1549's Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's heroic day marked a declaration of war on anti-aircraft fowl and elevated Begier's office to global renown. "The international community is very interested in what we are doing in the United States," Begier said.

He considers the address in Australia the "high point" in his career. His paper focuses on new scientific research about how pulsating lights on planes can trigger "fight-or-flight" instincts in birds. He's banking on flight, not fight. "It's very exciting," he said.

Begier argued that wildlife officials preferred less lethal options for bringing down the bird population. But chasing away geese with border collies, as some animal rights activists recommend, doesn't send the geese far enough away for good. Birth-control doses in bird food only attracted more flocks in the short term. Begier's teams have tried addling -- or violently shaking -- eggs. They have coated eggshells with corn oil to prevent chicks from hatching. These and other in-the-nest tactics did little; the full-grown geese population posed the same threat as ever.

For those flocks, a less subtle solution was required.

In June 2009, USDA authorities and New York City officials responded to the Canada geese collision with Flight 1549 by taking advantage of the molting season, when the birds cannot fly away and can be more easily rounded up and hauled off for execution. The birds were shipped to a nearby and undisclosed CO2 gas chamber. ("Bye-Bye Birdies," read a New York Post headline that week.) A few months later, a plane carrying New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg survived an avian collision, which the ill-fated bird did not. ("Kamikaze Goose Slams Mike's Jet," the New York Post wrote.) Then, in March, a Continental flight bound for Hong Kong from Newark smashed into a gaggle of Canada geese. (This time a New York Post reporter on the plane recounted: "It was a whole flocking family of geese.")

In July, Begier went to work. Early in the morning, with only a few joggers circling Prospect Park in Brooklyn, his team of wildlife specialists approached the sleepy lake and netted 400 Canada geese and goslings. They, too, were shipped to a nearby gas chamber. The dead included Sticky, a goose who had earned the city's affection in prior months for how he was still able to waddle around with his neck pierced by an arrow. A public outcry followed, and then, weeks later, hope glimmered on the lake as two dozen geese returned.

The sense of sanctuary was short-lived.

New York state and local officials have agreed to take the number of Canada geese down from 250,000 to 85,000. Begier's department has orders to follow.

"Our agency possesses the expertise to do this work most efficiently," Begier said.

The Wildlife Services euthanasia method is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. There are two acceptable inhalant agents, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, plus the last-resort gunshot option. Wildlife Services prefers the carbon dioxide method because it leaves no traces in the tissue. In Maryland, birds are donated to food banks. In Virginia, they are lunches for carnivores in zoos.

Begier prefers not to dwell on the executions and prefers to see himself as a protector of his fellow man. Still, he acknowledged that the morbid fact of his job "doesn't get easier" with time.

"It can be very upsetting," said Begier, who donned a hard hat to personally remove the bird remains from the engine of Flight 1549. "But at the end of the day, it's for safety."

------

Canada geese are hardly the only avian menace darkening America's skies. According to the FAA Wildlife Strike Database, which Begier's office maintains, the Washington area has endured its share of close calls. In March 2006, a United Airlines flight sustained "substantial" damage at Dulles from a collision with a four-ounce European starling, or "feathered bullet," in Wildlife Services parlance. A year later, a Mesa Airlines plane hit a Canada goose and suffered serious damage. Last year, an "Unknown bird -- large" severely damaged an American flight leaving Reagan National Airport. Red-tailed hawks and horned grebes have also wrought havoc on planes in recent years, and collisions with mallards, rock pigeons and mourning doves are common.

In the nearly 20 years that Begier's office has kept track of such things, 24 aircraft have been destroyed by collisions with wildlife, but that accounts for only about 1 percent of all reported strikes. In nearly every case, the animal gets the worst of it. But when plane damage did occur, the birds tended to go for the most sensitive parts: the engine, wings, rotors and nose.

In April 2008, a turkey vulture crashed through the windshield of a Piper Aerostar (normally a six-seater) during approach to a Colorado Springs airport, knocking the pilot's headset off and temporarily blinding him with blood and 200 mph winds. The airport cleared the runway and he landed safely. In July 2009 in Utah, the nose of an Embraer 120 (larger than the Piper) smashed into a pelican on takeoff and had to return to the airport for $150,000 in repairs.

On the eve of his takeoff to Australia, Begier said he was not concerned about his own safety, because all the D.C. airports have a federal biologist on the payroll.

"We have a great team at Ronald Reagan Airport," he said. "Not a lot of people know that."

As competent a professional as he is, Begier is but one man up against centuries of flawed fowl policy.

On Nov. 15, 1877, members of the American Acclimatization Society met in the reading room of the New York Aquarium to discuss beautifying the city with "English titmouse, chaffinch, blackbird, robin redbreast." They lamented the 50 pairs of English skylark that had unfortunately "all crossed the East River," but the European starling held promise, especially for Eugene Schieffelin, a drug manufacturer from the Bronx, who had a lofty ornithological vision of importing all of the some 60 bird species mentioned in Shakespeare's works. (The eerily human-sounding voice of the starling -- a flock is called a murmuration -- merited a mention in "Henry IV," when Hotspur says, "A starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer.") In 1890, Schieffelin disastrously released a few score of glossy black Sturnus vulgaris in Central Park.

Their 200 million starling descendants have come home to roost, and the burden rests on Begier to blast them out of the flight path. It's a serious job, but sometimes he can't help but take pleasure in his work, as, for instance, when he talks about using food in cages to trap the "social" starlings.

"You can attract a few," Begier said, a smile beginning to spread across his face. "And that attracts more."
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