bird strikes Posts

Geese Gassing the Newest Weapon Vs. Bird Strikes

I can always count on Johnny Jet to provide me with the latest travel news. His Tweet let me know about a story in today’s NY Post about a mission that Port Authority is on to kill geese. These are the bad geese who often get sucked into jetliner turbines.

Bird control is a big topic on travel sites everywhere, and now any goose within five miles of Kennedy and LaGuardia airports has a target on his back.

Airport Supervisors will learn to use gas to cleanly kill the large black honking birds, who gather on the grass next to the tarmac and are feared by pilots and passengers alike. Already more than 1250 geese have been ‘removed’ near LaGuardia. But more geese blood is to be spilled soon.

One ornithologist has suggested that the kill take place during molting season, when the geese can’t fly. In late June, the season will be here, and the killing will begin.

In addition to the kill, new state-of-the art bird radar will be going up at JFK to better detect the birds.

Can Bird Radar Make US Air Traffic “Birdproof?”

Birds are a constant problem for aircraft when landing and taking off.  In the months ahead, new bird radar systems will show air traffic controllers in towers just where the birds are and if it’s safe for planes to depart or land. There are two systems now battling for supremacy in this lucrative business–after all, more than 200 planes have been destroyed by errant birds entering  jet engine intakes and other mishaps since 1988.

The dumbest birds, say biologists who study such things, are seagulls. More than any other type of bird, these white idiots make it a point to fly into commonly used airspace and as a result lead the way, ahead of crows, another species who are prone to get sucked in.  Red-tail hawks have been observed to actually learn to be airplane savvy, and stay away from flight paths, said a story in the Wall St. Journal today.

At Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport there’s a team of 24 hardy souls who spend their entire shifts shooting off blank shotgun shells and firing flares to keep geese and gulls away from approaching planes. These folks would appreciate the faster development of bird radar, and systems made by DeTect can do just  that. They can differentiate between species by tracking how fast they plunge, and whether they flap constantly, or flap and soar.

Bird Strikes Vex Airports Coast to Coast

Bird strikes are in the news again, and it’s not looking good.  In Denver, reports the Wall St. Journal, there were 318 wildlife strikes in 2008, leading the nation’s airports. The incidents of birds getting sucked into airplane engine turbines has quadrupled to 7666 in 2007, says the FAA.  What causes the surge?  It’s a combination, they said, of rising bird populations, more flights and more reporting among airlines.

So far 219 people have died and 200 aircraft have perished since 1988. And this is only about 20% of the incidents, since the vast marjority are never reported!  The FAA is now under pressure from the industry to report these  strikes. Soon it appears that reporting will be mandatory, like near misses on runways, that must be tabulated.

But the FAA is worried about releasing too much info on bird strikes. The critics, though, say “If an airport knows it’s going to be scrutinized  more closely by the public, it tends to do more,” said Gary Andrews, of a Florida company that makes bird detection radar.

One bright spot: bird detection systems might be eligible for $1 billion in federal stimulus funds if the FAA deems it a high priority. The ultimate solution might be providing the warnings directly into the cockpits of planes, instead of to people on the ground.