Birds Always Lose, But They Keep Coming

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Last week, two Olympic Airways jets had to return for emergency landings after seagulls were sucked into their engines on departure from Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport. Both aircraft landed safely. In Japan, a runway at Tokyo International Airport was closed for two and a half hours last Friday after two departing flights reported seagull strikes, and more than 200 gulls gathered on the runway and wouldn't leave. In July, a student and instructor were killed in Texas after their Cessna 172 struck a bird and crashed. In 2002, more than 6,100 bird strikes were reported by U.S. civil aircraft, and according to a recent FAA report, the problem is getting worse. Engines are getting quieter, bird populations are increasing, and air traffic will likely continue to grow, says the FAA -- so the number of bird strikes is expected to rise. Since 1990, 155 people worldwide have died in bird-strike incidents, according to records kept by the Bird Strike Committee USA. AVweb is unaware of a comprehensive plan to address the problem, and Embry Riddle has taken over the FAA's Bird/Wildlife Strike Report and is interested in hearing about it if it happens to you ... provided, of course, you live to tell the tale.