Plane-Bird Collisions Up: FAA

Agency compelled to release statistics after Flight 1549
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2009 12:01 PM CDT
Plane-Bird Collisions Up: FAA
In this Sept. 22, 1995, file photo, a section of the Elmendorf Air Force Base runway 5 is seen in Anchorage, Alaska, after an E-3 AWACS jet collided with more than 30 Canada geese.   (AP Photo/USAF, File)

Collisions between airplanes and birds have increased dramatically since 2000, with the number of instances at 13 major US airports doubling. New York’s JFK topped the list with the most avian accidents—30—since 2000, with California’s Sacramento International the runner-up at 28, the AP reports. Both are in areas—wetlands at JFK, farmland around Sacramento—that attract birds.

But bird strikes have been rising at some of the nation’s most popular airports: New Orleans, Houston’s Hobby, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City. Scientists think that many bird species are hanging around cities and other areas with year-round food—and, perhaps, airports—rather than migrating, increasing the likelihood of collisions. The FAA has kept the bird-strike data secret for years, but was pressured into releasing it in the wake of US Airways Flight 1549.
(More FAA stories.)

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