Danger of Birds to Aircraft
On December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers flew the first heavier-than-air aircraft. Two years later they experienced the first recorded collision between a bird and aircraft. Then in 1912, Calbraith Rodgers, the first person to fly across the continental USA, was killed as a result of a midair collision with a gull, becoming the first recorded fatality due to bird strike . More recently, public awareness of the treat that birds can pose to aircraft was spurred by the January 15, 2009 downing in the Hudson River of a U.S. Airways Airbus A320 by Canada geese. Since 1980, the risk of wildlife strikes to aircraft has been trending upward, driven by:
• growing populations of many large bird species;
• adaptation of hazardous bird species to urban environments, including airports;
• increased commercial air traffic consisting of aircraft with two, rather than four, engines and
• increases in the number of potentially more vulnerable regional jets, which transit hazardous airspace more often than long-haul aircraft.
Every year birds and airplanes attempt to occupy the same space, resulting in loss of life and millions of dollars of damage. For information about bird strikes, visit http://wildlife.faa.gov/ and http://www.birdstrike.org/