January 15th, 2009
04:42 PM ET

Planes vs. Birds

Bird Strike Committee USA

Bird Strike Committee USA is a volunteer organization directed by a 10- to 15-person steering committee consisting of 2-3 members each from the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, aviation industry/airlines, and airports.

Some Stats: Did you know that?

– Over 219 people have been killed worldwide as a result of bird strikes since 1988.

– Bird and other wildlife strikes cost USA civil aviation over $620 million/year, 1990-2007.

– Over 5,000 bird strikes were reported by the U.S. Air Force in 2007.

– Over 7,600 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported for USA civil aircraft in 2007.

– Studies indicate only about 20% of bird strikes to civil aircraft at Part 139-certificated (passenger service) airports in USA are reported. Less than 5% of bird strikes at General Aviation airports are reported.

– From 1990-2004, USA airlines reported 31 incidents in which pilots had to dump fuel to lighten load during a precautionary or emergency landing after striking birds on takeoff or climb. An average of 11,600 gallons of jet fuel was released in each of these dumps.

– Waterfowl (31%), gulls (26%), and raptors (18%) represented 75% of the reported bird strikes causing damage to USA civil aircraft, 1990-2007.

– Over 760 civil aircraft collisions with deer and 250 collisions with coyotes were reported in the USA, 1990-2007.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety • Top Stories
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. sam

    First and first of all thank god for protecting them .Maybe we will learn something from that . And thank god no one said a terrorist muslim bird was the problem .Again thank god for protecting them , and may god porotect us all .

    January 16, 2009 at 5:48 am |
  2. Phil

    Having been a pilot for over 35 years, I have been involved in numerous bird strikes, resulting in engine shut downs, damage to wings and tail surfaces. The most unusual strike I encountered was with a hoard of dragon flies that I impacted at 9,000 feet. It was nearly impossible to see through the windscreen for landing due to the numerous insect remains and blood that both darkened the windscreen and covered the wing leading edges. As a former aircraft accident investigator one of the most interesting reports I remember reading was a snake striking an aircraft windscreen at 30,000 feet. Kudos to the entire crew who managed to save the lives of their passengers today on the Hudson water runway!

    January 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  3. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    If we can put deer whistles on our cars, why can't we put a device that is a "sound repellent" for birds?

    January 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  4. Jacquie

    Canadians have been wrongly blamed for many things by our southern neighbours,but I must point out that the birds referred to as 'Canadian' geese on the 6pm news show, which seem to have caused the plane to come down in the Hudson River are actually 'Canada geese.
    We do not give passports to the geese!

    January 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    The part about collisions with deer and coyotes caught me by surprise. I'm surprised that these kind of animals get on runways because surely that is where they were struck and not in the air....right?

    January 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  6. Rhonda

    I was on a flight leaving Sacramento before Christmas a few years ago. We were barreling down the runway and they slammed on the brakes suddenly; turns out we had just sucked a bird into the engine and the pilot didn't want to risk take-off in case there was damage. Good thing, too. The engine was ruined and we didn't get to leave town until the next morning.

    January 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm |