April 27, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
The FAA’s bird-strike database, operated and maintained by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., is now open to the public and is undergoing changes to make it more user friendly.
It is a database of reports made voluntarily by individual airports, and may not contain all bird-strike incidents, or in some cases may contain no incidents for your airport. It depends on whether the incidents were reported. Now, pilots and the public can look up individual airports. While you’ll see a large number of data query fields, fortunately you don’t have to fill all of them in to receive information.
Embry-Riddle’s Archie Dickey, an associate professor and director of the Aviation Environmental Science program at the Prescott campus, said the database will be more user friendly in a few weeks. Currently, the only way to know the total number of strikes reported is to count them one by one in the database.
So where is the most highly reported area for bird strikes? (This isn’t necessarily the worst area, just the area where airports have sophisticated bird-strike reporting programs.) It’s the East Coast flyway, Dickey said, and includes the states of New York, New Jersey, and Florida. There are other major flyways in the United States. The more advanced bird-strike programs include the identification of species by sending feathers to the Smithsonian Institution Feather Laboratory following an incident.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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