The unscheduled landing of a US Airways plane into my beloved Hudson River was allegedly caused by a bird strike, which is when a bird or flock of birds is sucked into the jet engine. The passengers are reported to have all emerged without serious injury; no report on avian fatalities!
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Pretty scary, isn’t it? Though from what I heard, the pilot deserves a medal.
I think you’ll need a DNA analysis to figure out those avian fatalities…
I cringe to think what would’ve happened if this wasn’t a water landing. Especially because I’ve got a flight in two weeks… I hate getting reminded about things like this! So glad everyone got out okay.
The pilot was apparently brilliant. And though I love the birds, urban Canada Geese, the theoretical culprits, can be a real scourge.
I think it is terrible that planes are allowed to fly in migration paths of these protected species. Surely we are aware of bird flight patterns – especially in large flocks (that is supposedly responsible for the crash) – so either ban certain routes for Health and safety reasons combined with Nature Conservation legislation. I would like to know exactly what the bird species were and how many were killed.
My flight into Bangkok on Jan 1st was involved in a bird-strike. Those of us near the front of the plane felt a double thump but had no idea what it was, and the plane landed normally. When we had a look at the nose of the plane there was in fact a sizeable dent next to a rivet line, and the airline decided that to be safe it would be flown back at a lower then normal altitude (because of the effects of air pressure) and without passengers. I asked the Captain what we’d hit but it was night and all he’d seen was “two birds” lifting off (a tree?) and flying straight into the plane.
JAX does though make a point that I’ve made myself many times. The airport in Bangkok, called Suvarnabhumi, is only two years old and was built on what was once a swamp (much of Bangkok is built on wetland). Inevitably there are still birds like Little Egrets and pond herons in drainage ditches and small pools all round the airport. When Osaka Airport was built some ten years ago it was on a purpose-built island off the coast. Inevitably the local Black Kites started using this new landmass to scavenge fish from – and the airport authorities had a constant battle to keep them out of the flight-paths of the aircraft using the main runway. South Korea’s new international airport was built on a wetland; London is still occasionally mooting the idea of building a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
The point is that when planners look to build a new airport the land around cities is too expensive and will disturb too many people – so they inevitably look for land that’s not already developed and is flat: that tends to be wetlands, river basins, grasslands – all habitats that are full of birds. Frankly as the number of flights into and out of airports built in these sort of areas increase year-on-year it’s pretty amazing that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often.
Here here Charlie!
Lets hope that this ‘fact’ of increasing incidence of this sort of thing, get international recognition. I think it will take a USA carrier whereby all passengers die should raise awareness. Never mind the terror attacks – its our own collission with nature that is worse! Check out Mark Edwards book ‘Hard Rain – our collision with nature’ – based on Bob Dylan’s song ‘Hard Rain’ for some thought provoking images!
We don’t know for certain that the crash was caused by striking a protected species. The plane could also have hit starlings, or … something else could have happened. In my experience, reports after a plane crash are unreliable, and the real story comes when the relevant agencies investigate.
Personally, I’m uneasy with the popular reaction to the bird-strike theory. Standing out on the piers (a couple of blocks from my home) as the wreckage floated by, I heard people gossip about “some birds,” and then look up into the sky as if expecting some Hitchcockian attack. True or not, it’s bad press.
OC: It could either be Bad Press or an opportunity (fortunately not an opportunity built on large loss of life) for every bird blogger and enviro commentator to point out that building airports in the heart of major migratory flyways and by river systems and wetlands full of birds is really not very sensible and that these strikes will inevitably happen if we don’t change our way of thinking…
Somehow, I come across as a “tree-hugger” when I try to explain to non-birders that WE built the airport on the BIRD’S turf. “Yeah, well it’s there now. Surely you’re not advocating putting bird’s lives before people’s.”
Even those sceptical folks concede my view when I point out that wiping out LaGuardia’s (magnificent) bird populations would be short-sighted, as bird-stikes occur all over the world.
We REALLY can’t build bird guards for jet engines? REALLY?
Your post here Charlie inspired me to write a blog about the fear of birdstrikes here in Peru, and put it in relation to the recent happy emergency landing. Since my post is still getting several hits per day, I´d thought I just came back to this article to read some of the comments. Then I noticed I had not left a comment last time visiting. Slap my fingers now please!
Well, better late than never. Thanks for the inspiration Charlie!
Here is my blog on the Peruvian perspective of bird strikes.
The real need for goose hunting and no more of this antihunting crap like FLY AWAY HOME we need to seriously control the numbers of geese and aninmal rights jerks
Cheers Birdzilla, now that’s a really intelligent contribution. About time a deep-thinking hunter spoke out about the need to kill lots more geese and control those pesky animal rights people who keep asking dumb questions like “What do you expect if you build an airport on a wetland”. Bullet in the back of the head that’s what jerks like me need.
well,since flying is for birds,we have 2 study and,under stand there flying patterns!