29August

Federal Inspector: Bird Strikes Rising & FAA’s Current Efforts Insufficient

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How big a problem are bird collisions for planes? They’ve quintupled in the last 20 years!

See the AP’s new articleAn audit of the Federal Airline Administration’s efforts to curb bird strikes of airplanes cited a five-fold increase in bird strikes over the last two decades, from 1,770 reported in 1990 to 9,840 reported last year, due in part to growing bird populations. The strikes have led to at least 24 deaths and 235 injuries in the United States since 1988. The report said the FAA’s oversight and enforcement efforts were insufficient.

“FAA has not developed robust inspection practices, and its inspectors do not have the technical expertise to effectively oversee the program,” [the inpsector] wrote in the audit, issued [August 22, 2012].

Planes can be crippled by hitting birds, like when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 lost both engines shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in January 2009 but landed safely in the Hudson River. On April 19, several birds struck Vice President Joe Biden’s plane as it approached Santa Barbara Airport in California, but no one was injured.

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