What is a Bird Strike?
Birds have always posed a threat to safe flight for aircraft but technological advancements in aviation and air traffic control have reduced the associated risks. Nonetheless, bird strikes remain a major challenge for airlines and can cause disruptions to passengers. Bird strike is the colloquial term for any instance when a bird or flock of birds collides with an aircraft in flight. Such an incident can have serious consequences, ranging from minor delays to serious safety hazards.
How Can a Bird Strike Affect the Aircraft?
When an aircraft encounters a flock of birds, even if it is only one bird, the impact can range from minor inconveniences to a severe safety hazard. A collision between an aircraft and even a small bird can result in serious damage to aircraft engines, fuel systems, windshields, and even the fuselage of the plane itself. Additionally, bird strikes can lead to flight delays and cancellations. In extreme cases, controllers may even have to reroute aircraft to avoid flying through flocks of birds.
The Most Dangerous Incidents of Bird Strikes
In 2009, Chesley Sullenberger famously landed an airplane on the Hudson River after striking a flock of birds and losing both engines. This incident highlights the potential danger a bird strike might present and that having experts qualified to handle these incidents is of the utmost importance. To prevent such hazardous incidents, some airports have taken to employing the use of birds of prey, particularly falcons, to deter nearby bird populations from entering the flight path. When flying, it is always important to know how to react in an emergency situation. Being aware that there is a possibility of bird strikes and knowing how to attend in case of one can help minimize delays and potentially avert disaster.
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