Collisions between birds and airplanes are going to get worse

Monday, December 16, 2013

From Canada geese to snowy owls, avian strikes at airports aren’t going anywhere

By Katie Drummond - The Verge

It's the flight risk that TSA agents can't screen for: a single bird getting sucked into an airplane's jet engine can wreak damage serious enough to require an emergency landing or, much more rarely, even cause the plane to crash. Known as "bird strikes," the incidents are surprisingly common, with an estimated 10,760 reported strikes at US airports in 2012 alone. But despite ongoing efforts to curb the prevalence of bird strikes, experts warn that they're likely to become more common — and that where strikes by some species are concerned, this winter might be particularly severe.

Unfortunately for birds and airplane passengers alike, avian species are often attracted to the wide open spaces that are characteristic of airports. "In general, birds that show up at airports are looking for three things: water, shelter, and food," says Archie Dickey, dean of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's College of Arts and Sciences who also developed an FAA database to document bird strikes. "So for them, an airport will often seem like the perfect habitat."

“"An airport will often seem like the perfect habitat."”

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