Readers of the Journal of Air Traffic Control hardly need to be told about the hazards of bird strikes. Even the general public is aware of them, following the downing of US Airways Flight 1549. Yet, the “Miracle on the Hudson” could have been a tragedy, had it not been for the professionalism of the aircraft’s crew and the support of rescuers.
Unfortunately, other bird strike losses, have been beyond either the aircrews’ or the controllers’ help. At Boston/Logan in 1960, an Eastern Airlines Lockheed Electra hit a flock of starlings immediately after take-off, and crashed into Boston Harbor, with the loss of 62 lives. In 1995, all 24 crewmembers of a USAFE-3B AWACS died at Elmendorf AFB, AK after the aircraft struck several geese just after rotation. Aside from the devastation of human lives lost, it’s estimated that bird strikes annually cost the aviation industry over one billion dollars worldwide.
Avian Radar may provide a solution.