I just received the Spring 2004 R & D Review from the FAA. This is a quarterly newsletter from the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization and Development Office. Although the newsletter primarily covers research and development efforts into safety related products and programs, this latest issue contained some statistics that I thought were very interesting. Did you know?:
Over 195 people have been killed worldwide as a result of bird strikes since 1988.
U.S. civil aircraft operators reported over 5,900 bird strikes in 2003.
Over 600 civil aircraft collisions with deer were reported in the U.S. from 1990 to 2003.
An estimated 80% of bird strikes to U.S. civil aircraft go unreported.
A 12 pound Canada goose struck by a 150-mph aircraft at lift-off generates the force of a 1,000 pound weight dropped from a height of 10 feet.
Here in Minnesota, with large goose and deer populations, these statistics really hit home. Especially when you consider that the 5,900 bird strikes in 2003 were only 20% of the actual bird strikes. Add to that the upcoming fall migratory season, and you have a safety situation that pilots should recognize and take actions to avoid or minimize.
What can you do? Before taking off, wait for that flock of gulls to clear from the area off the departure end of the runway. Change course to steer clear of airborne, migrating geese. Be vigilant when landing or departing during early morning or evening twilight to avoid deer that may want to share the runway or taxiway with you. These minimal precautions can help you avoid becoming a bird or animal strike statistic.