Thursday, December 3, 2009

Full Size Photos from the Show Low Bird Strike Now Available

Last month's bird strike involving an Ameriflight Beech C-99 aircraft (N330AV) near Show Low, AZ was a fairly dramatic one involving a windshield penetration, copious amounts of blood and guts (the bird's) in the cockpit, and an injured pilot who brought the plane in for a safe landing.

One of the employees of the city of Show Low took a number of photographs of the event, some of which you may have seen in either a previous article on this site or in another web site or news program. Below, you will find eight of those photos, and if you click on any of them, you will see the full sized original.

Since these photos are in the public domain, you are free to use them without cost and without asking permission. It would be appropriate to give any photo credits to the city of Show Low, AZ.

NTSB Preliminary Report
NTSB Identification: WPR10IA045
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Incident occurred Wednesday, November 04, 2009 in Show Low, AZ
Aircraft: BEECH C-99, registration: N330AV
Injuries: 1 Minor.

On November 4, 2009, about 0750 mountain standard time (MST), a Beech C-99, N330AV, encountered a bird strike while on approach to Show Low Regional Airport (SOW), Show Low, Arizona. Ameriflight, LLC, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained damage to the left front pilot windshield.

The cross-country cargo flight departed Phoenix, Arizona, about 0715. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that shortly after beginning the descent at an altitude of 11,000 feet mean sea level (msl), approximately 20 miles west of Show Low, a bird impacted the upper part of the captain’s windshield, breaking a football size hole in it. A considerable amount of blood, tissue matter, and windshield fragments came into the cockpit.

The captain suffered facial lacerations, bruising, and some lacerations on his chest.

The pilot continued his approach to SOW in spite of the fact the windscreen was nearly opaque. The pilot made radio calls in the blind using the standby hand microphone. He was unable to hear any transmissions due to the wind noise in the cockpit.

The photos from the event can also be found at the following locations:

Click to Enlarge

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bird Strike near Show Low, AZ Injures Pilot and Damages Aircraft

On 4 November 2009, an Ameriflight Beech C-99 aircraft (N330AV) was cruising at about 11,000 feet in the vicinity of Show Low, AZ when one or more birds struck the aircraft and penetrated the windscreen. The pilot, who was the lone occupant of the cargo aircraft, sustained minor injuries to his face and shoulder and was able to land the aircraft without further incident at Show Low, AZ. The blood in the accompanying photos is from the bird.

Photos by Mike Pflueger

Additional information is available from KSAZ Television in Phoenix.

Related Resources
Bird Strike Risks to Aircraft

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Australian Transport Safety Bureau Bird Strike Study for 2002-2006

While reviewing a directory of recent reports from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), I came across a document analyzing Australian bird strike occurrences from 2002-2006 (full report available here).

The summary has risen from approximately 750 in 2002 to 1,200 in 2006. The report includes bird and bat strikes that occurred in Australian territory or that involved any strike involving an Australia-registered aircraft. The analysis looked at a variety of variables including location, date, phase of flight, type of flight operation, effect on flight, aircraft damage, and bird size, and bird species.

Bird strike reporting was found to have almost doubled over the five-year reporting period from about 750 in 2002 to 1,200 in 2006. Around 7.5% (383 of 5,103) during the study period resulted in damage. The overall strike rate was about one per 6,407 aircraft movements. There were three injuries, but no fatalities, during this five-year period.

Additional Resources
Recent Bird Strikes in the News

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ten Free Social Media Things You Can Do

Two of the biggest excuses organizations and individuals have when it comes to using social media applications is that it takes too much time to figure out how to use them and takes too many resources once your start using them. True, some social media applications may take a bit of time to learn, but unless you have been on a deserted island for the last ten years, you probably figured out by now how to use email and do basic things on the web like find things with a search engine. If you can do that,figuring out most social media applications should be easy.

Cost is not an issue because once you can get online, which you should be able to do either at home, at work, or at your local library, much of the really good stuff is free. The following ten social media resources are not only free, but should be useful to you in some way, especially if you are trying to make yourself or your organization more visible online.

Before you explore new social media applications, you may want to get a free online email account. Having this kind of account makes using social media much more convenient. Some applications require that you have an account with one of these email services, and most require an email account for administrative purposes. Also, if your main email account is from your organization, you may want an outside account to keep your activities more private. Three of the most popular places for online email accounts are from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.
Suggested Resource: Gmail

The following ten social media resources are not only free, but should be useful to you in some way.

1. Blogging
Think of a blog as a web site where just about all the work is done for you. You sign in, write something, hit a button, and it is online. If you've thought about starting a web site but have no idea what it takes to do it, a blog is the easiest way to get that experience. Also, if you already have a web site, a blog is an easy way to try quickly try new ideas that may later put on the site. Two of the biggest blog services are Blogger and WordPress. Both of them can get you from login to published blog in less time than a lunch break.'s Choice: Blogger

2. Micoblogging
This is a stripped down version of a blog, basically little more than a couple of sentences and maybe a link to something online. Examples include Yammer and the much more widely known Twitter. This blogging method that may work best for sending short messages to portable devices like an iPhone or Blackberry, or in conjunction with other resources such as a web site, mailing list, or full sized blog.'s Choice: Twitter

3. Online File Storage
If you need to share files with one or more colleagues, or you need to access key files from several different computers, and don't want the hassle carrying around a laptop or thumb drive, or emailing files, you can use one of these services to manage your files in a password protected environment.'s Choice: Airset

4. Photo Sharing and Storage
If you are interested in sharing photos, services like Flickr and Picasa allow you to store photos online, and even giving you the option of allowing others to access them or download them.'s Choice: Flickr

5. Intelligence Gathering
If you need to find or track some information online, for example monitoring a developing news story or keeping current on a competitor or industry, Google has a service called Google Alerts that will keep track of them for you and send regular email updates when it finds something.'s Choice: Google Alerts

6. Video Sharing
Some of the millions of user generated videos are published every day may actually be of interest to you. While you may be able to find them using general search engines like Google or Bing, you may have better luck by searching within video sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe, and LiveLeak. YouTube is by far the biggest, with the greatest variety of content. Also, if have videos that you want to share, you can follow the example and create a home page withing the site to showcase your videos.'s Choice: YouTube

7. Social Networking
Facebook and Myspace may be the most well known social networking sites, but a site like LinkedIn is more relevant to working professionals, providing a kind of online resume and biography, and allowing others to see you out and contact you.'s Choice: LinkedIn

8. Subscribing to Podcasts
There are millions of audio and video podcasts out there that cover a huge range of topics, including a few that would be of interest to you. Both Apple (iTunes) and Microsoft (Zune) distribute free software that allows you to easily manage subscriptons to audio of and video podcasts of every description. The iTunes software also has extensive links to online audio stream of radio stations from around the world.'s Choice: iTunes

9. Free Phone Calls
Wouldn't it be great if you could use the Internet to call someone long distance, even internationally, without spending any extra money? You can download a program like Skype or Googletalk and talk for free with anyone else who has both a connection to the Internet and who has downloaded the same software.'s Choice: Skype

10. Social Bookmarking
All web browsers allow you to bookmark favorite pages, but if you use several computers, or even several browsers on the same computer, keeping track of your bookmarkes can be next to impossible. Bookmark sharing resources like Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon allow you to create an online account where you can store and manage your bookmarks, and then either make them private and password protected, or make them public and available to anyone.'s Choice: Delicious

Selected Social Media Applications Used by
Podcast (main page)
Podcast (subscription)
Mailing List (online press releases)
Bird Strike Blog
Crash Video Blog

Next Steps
If you are using none of these services, go ahead and try one of them to see if it can help you out in some way. If you are using one or more of them, leave a comment on this blog post and share your experiences, positive or negative, with using these services.

How Uses Twitter and a Mailing List with Its Blog

Social media applications make it easy to publish and share information with an audience. They can be used individually or they can be used in combination with other online resources and applications. By combining applications, their combined usefulness can be greater than the sum of their individual strengths.

One combination uses consists of an automated mailing list, a blog, and Twitter. The mailing list had been developed over several years and had been used to send newsletters and breaking news items. The various blogs are more recent additions, and have been used to provide more details than were possible in a newsletter, and to supplement the main web site.

Twitter is the newest addition to, and initially had the most problems. Twitter is what is called a microblogging service, which acts like a blog it that it allows users to easily publish something online, but is very limited in that you have a 140 character limit, basically enough for a headline and maybe one link to another resource.

For, having only enough space for a headline and a link to another resource isn't a problem since Twitter's main use was to encourage a subscriber to link to other content such as a particular page on a web site. As a relatively new online service, very few current visitors would have had an account, and many may never be convinced to subscribe to the service. Incorporating Twitter into's content wouldn't make sense unless there was a way to include the majority of's audience that doesn't use Twitter.

The key breakthrough was using Twitter in combination with other resources, specifically the site's automated mailing list and the News blog site. The mailing list service, which over the last several years has grown to several thousand subscribers, has a feature that allows it to be linked to a blog so that any new blog item leads to an automatic generation of an email that includes a short message and a link to the blog item. A second feature automatically sends out a Twitter message to followers that includes a link back to the new blog posting.

In short, those two features allowed anyone who was either a subscriber to the mailing list or to the Twitter account would be automatically notified whenever there was an addition to the blog. Instead of updating three resources, only one had to be updated to reach three distinct audiences.

The mailing list, blog, and the Twitter account are promoted in different ways to different types of visitors. By doing a little bit of behind the scenes work, all three audiences could be easily connected.

One of the unexpected benefits was that Twitter and related technologies opened up additional options for finding useful information that was of interest to the audience with the audience. The most useful was the Twitter search function at It is a great tool for quickly finding useful links to breaking news stories. For example, after a plane crash, it can be used to search through the hundreds, and sometimes thousands of Twitter messages that users send to one another after a crash. At least a few will have links to news media and other resources that have timely information on an unfolding event.

The blog is the main resource that uses for breaking news on plane crashes, so when the blog is updated and subscribers receive a notification of the new blog entry and then visit the blog, they get information from and also benefit from the work that Twitter users did to find relevant online content.

Next Steps
If you want to see how this stuff works or how it can help you, do one of the following:

- Follow on Twitter: If you don't have an account, you can quickly create one for yourself.
- Join the mailing list: Receive breaking news on plane crashes, plus much more information.
Visit the Mailing List Archive: See what you have been missing.
Check out's mailing list provider: If you are thinking of starting a mailing list, or making your current list more capable, this is a good place to start.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Social Media's Role in Airline Safety

Dr. Todd Curtis of the Foundation will present the paper "Social Media, Bird Strikes, and Aviation Safety Policy" at the upcoming 2009 Bird Strike North America Conference in Victoria, Canada the week of 13 September 2009. The following excerpt of the abstract gives a good overview of what to expect:

When many bird strike related organizations first launched their web site, that was about all the online presence that was needed. However, with the rise of the use of social media technology that allows users to tailor how they find and use information, having a web site is no longer enough. Many of the most useful tools in the social media arena are relatively simple to use, often free, and can greatly expand the ability of an organization to reach an online audience.

For those of you who will not be in Victoria for the conference, Dr. Curtis and the Foundation will provide information online, including podcasts, videos, presentation slides, and other materials that will allow those of you in the bird strike and wildlife hazard community, as well as others in the aviation safety community, to benefit from the presentation.

The first of these online resources is the Conversation at podcast "Social Media's Role in Airline Safety." In this show, Dr. Todd Curtis discusses the role that social media applications like Twitter, YouTube, and podcasts have had in shaping the public's relationship to aviation safety issues. Using the example of the January 2009 ditching of a US Airways aircraft in the Hudson River, the show discusses why any organization that intends to influence aviation safety policy or the aviation safety community should embrace these emerging technologies in order to better serve their members and the general public.

You can listen to the podcast at, and review the full transcript, as well as follow links to a number of supporting resources, at the News.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NTSB Determines that Pelican Caused 2009 OKC Crash

28 July 2009, Washington, DC:
The National Transportation Safety Board today determined that the probable cause of the 2008 crash in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, of a Cessna 500 (Citation) was airplane wing-structure damage sustained during impact with one or more large birds (American white pelicans), which resulted in a loss of control of the airplane.

"While the Board has determined that it was the bird strike that brought down this airplane," said Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker, "this investigation also uncovered improper and noncompliant charter operations that should have been identified and discontinued by the FAA."

On March 4, 2008, at approximately 3:15 p.m. (CST), a Cessna 500, registered to Southwest Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic PC of Oklahoma City, entered a steep descent and crashed about 2 minutes after takeoff from Wiley Post Airport (PWA) in Oklahoma City. Both pilots and the three passengers were killed and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire.

Major safety issues identified by this accident investigation focus on airframe certification standards for bird strikes, inadequate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforcement of wildlife hazard assessment requirements for airports located near wildlife attractants, the lack of published information regarding operational strategies for pilots to minimize bird-strike damage to aircraft, and inadequate FAA detection of and intervention in improper charter operations.

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB issued 10 recommendations to the FAA and reiterated 1 previously issued recommendation.

Among the recommendations, the NTSB urged the FAA to revise bird-strike certification requirements for transport category (14 Code of Regulations Part 25) airplanes so that protection from in-flight impact with birds is consistent across all airframe structures. Other recommendations in this area include calling for more stringent verification of airport wildlife hazard assessments and reporting of wildlife strikes.

To correct the shortcomings uncovered in this investigation regarding federal oversight of aircraft charter operations, the NTSB wants the FAA to explore and implement strategies to improve on-site inspector surveillance activities at airports and of flight operations to detect and deter improper charter operations. The NTSB urged the FAA not only to require pilots to identify in the flight plan the operator and the operating rules under which the flight is operated, but also require the operator to provide its customers with written documentation that identifies the terms of carriage.

The reiterated safety recommendation, initially issued in 2006, urges the FAA to require aircraft equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) to be functionally tested before the first flight of each day and to perform a periodic maintenance check of the CVR.

A synopsis of the accident investigation report, including the findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations, can be found on the Board Meetings page of the NTSB's website, The complete report will be available on the website in several weeks.

Cessna Citation Information
Bird Strike Committee USA

Monday, April 27, 2009

Use Google Alerts to Find Bird and Wildlife Strike News Stories

When the FAA proposed to severely restrict the public's access to the FAA's bird and wildlife strike database in March 2009, it ignited controversy as well as hundreds of news stories related to the proposed policy change. When the DOT and the FAA reversed course the following month, it led to hundreds of other articles, many of them focusing on the strike record of specific airports and airlines.

This spike in interest represented an opportunity to increase's audience by using the media coverage to direct people to bird and wildlife strike information on's web sites and blogs.

The key was that many of these articles allowed readers to leave comments. left comments on many of these articles, making sure that the comments invited the reader to visit an related site.

Finding the articles was particularly easy, with the most important tool being Google Alerts, a free service that allows you tell Google to search for recently published content that contain specific keywords of interest.

The full plan to take advantage of the sudden public attention had three parts:

1. Use Google Alerts to find out what news stories were coming out online (in this case, the search terms [+faa +"bird strike"] were used).

2. Find the articles with the largest potential audience and either post comments to the article (always mentioning at least one of my bird strike blogs or sites).

3. If an article from a medium to large media organization had contact information for the writer of the story, I'd make a point to contact that person by phone or email and offer to provide information or answer questions.

By letting Google do my research for me, I was able to easily find dozens of opportunities to post comments to articles and use those posts to direct readers to some of my resources. In addition, I also found relevant media contacts that I could help or that could help me later.

Each of's comments were a variation of the following message:

Releasing the data was the right thing to do on the part of the FAA. The right thing to do on the part of the public is to use the data as a way to understand a problem and not as the final answer.

Keep in mind that the FAA bird strike database is voluntary, so you can't just look at the raw numbers. Aggressive reporting is only one reason why there may be many reports in the database from a particular airport or airline.

Aviation organizations like the Foundation offer many insights into how one should approach aviation safety data. Many of their bird strike examples are at and

It's not too late to do this kind of thing for your web site or blog. Whether it is for bird strikes or for something else, if you have a blog or web site that needs a boost, and there is a major media frenzy that is relevant to your site or blog, try this three step marketing method yourself. Even if you don't place comments, it is an excellent way to identify reporters that you may want to approach later.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Response to a Bird Strike Protection Idea

A reader responded to comment I made to a 23 April 2009 Washington Post article about the FAA opening up the bird strike database. A reader made a suggestion for a screen or grate that could be placed in front of engine intakes. My response will likely generate additional feedback from the visitors to this site.

Question: Couldn't you engineer a conical grate in front of the jet intake, like this:

      / ||
     / || intake
air flow --> \ ||
      \ ||

That way if a bird struck it wouldn't stay on the grate but roll off due to the air pressure.

Response: The kind of design you have may in fact be effective. However, one must look at the effect that this kind of system in place on an aircraft. Weight, extra maintenance, and design costs are only the beginning. On the other hand, look at what this system would prevent. It may avert the rare serious accident that causes serious injury or death. For US airlines, in the last half century the number of passenger airliners involved in bird strikes that caused serious injury or death has been exactly two (assuming the system worked as designed), and that includes the US Airways ditching in January. Given the rarity of a fatal bird strike event, and especially in the absence of a relatively recent and spectacular fatal event, any suggested change that involves a new design for the entire airliner fleet would not likely be accepted by the FAA.

Any suggested change in aircraft design or procedures would have to survive the regulatory process, which includes the kinds of cost effectiveness issues like the one I just implied. It wouldn't be a situation of a change being rejected because of costs, but rather a rejection based on whether it were not as cost effective as other alternatives.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why the FAA Should Not Block Access to Bird Strike Data

In March 2009, the FAA quietly made a stunning proposal to make it nearly impossible for the public to access a vital aviation safety resource. Since 1990, the FAA's National Wildlife Strike Database has been one of the most important tools for understanding bird and wildlife strike risks to aircraft. With over 100,0000 records, this database has the potential to benefit everyone who flies by giving the aviation safety community and the general public the opportunity to analyze that data in order to discover ways to reduce the threats to aircraft caused by birds and other wildlife. The FAA states several concerns about the database, but none of their arguments support their proposal to block public access to the data.

The FAA admits that over the last 19 years they have collected and used this data to improve safety. One of their concerns with the current database is that there is a serious potential that information related to bird strikes will not be submitted because of fear that the disclosure of raw data could unfairly cast unfounded aspersions on the submitter.

This argument only makes sense if the FAA assumes that there is no way to counter an argument based on a biased or incompetent analysis. This is not the case at all. The tools needed to analyze aviation safety data are widely available. If an analysis is unfair or incorrect it should be easy to review the assumptions, the data, the analysis, and determine whether the conclusions were justified.

Another part of the FAA's argument to make this database unavailable to the public is that when the FAA began collecting this data, it assured the entities submitting the data that the submissions would not be made available to the public. While that may have been true 19 years ago, it apparently hasn't been the case for at least the past 12 years The current online submission form and the paper wildlife strike report forms available since at least 1997 made no such promises of secrecy.

In the proposal, the FAA states releasing this information without benefit of proper analysis would not only produce an inaccurate perception of the individual airports and airlines but also inaccurate and inappropriate comparisons between airports and airlines.

The concern of the FAA is clearly not for individual submitters, since they already redact this kind of personal information from the database. Their concerns appear to be for the reputation of airports and airlines. More importantly, this argument implies that the FAA has the attitude that the public doesn't have the ability to properly analyze the data. It's true that the process of asking and answering aviation safety questions can be an extremely difficult task even for aviation safety experts. It's probably true that if most members of the media or the general public attempt to analyze this bird strike data they may come to conclusions that may unfairly highlight an airline or airport. However, this possibility should not be the FAA's concern. The FAA has many roles, but passing judgment on the ability of the public to scrutinize data is not one of them.

The FAA in their proposal states that it is imperative that nothing should stifle flow of information into this database. However, their proposed action will do exactly that. For aviation safety data to be useful, the flow of information has to go in two directions, not just one. Cutting off the pubic from this information makes it less likely that the aviation safety community will learn from the experiences of others and use that knowledge to enhance safety.

The FAA can and should take steps to ensure the privacy of individuals who voluntarily submit safety data. However, protecting airports and airlines from the potential embarrassment of unfair or incompetent data analysis is not a valid reason to close public access to the database. The database exists in part to help prevent accidents and to help save lives. Putting a wall around this database may help to enhance the public's opinion of airlines and airports, but it will not help protect the public from risk. If the FAA's goal is to save lives then the database should remain available to the public, and they should not be allowed to implement their proposed changes.

The public has an opportunity to make its voice heard on this issue. In an upcoming post, will give you step-by-step instructions from submitting your comments prior to the close of the public comment period on 20 April 2009. will follow this issue closely, and in the next few days will provide detailed guidance on how to submit your comments to the FAA and prevent this policy change. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to the mailing list or get Twitter updates to keep up to date on this critical issue.

FAA Proposal to Change Database Access
Background Information on Bird Strike Threats
Bird Strike Committee USA

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Social Media, Bird Strikes, and Aviation Safety Policy

The January 2009 ditching of the US Airways flight in the Hudson River in New York was an excellent example of how social media applications like Twitter and YouTube affect how the public finds out information about plane crashes and other aviation safety related events.

While the accident took place on the doorstep of the most important media center of the United States, many of the early images of the crash and the rescue that were distributed by major media outlets originated from witnesses. One of the most well known one was from a cell phone camera of Janis Krums, who was on one of the ferry boats involved in the recovery of the passengers. The picture was uploaded from an iPhone to TwitPic, a service that allows Twitter users to upload photos (see photo on TwitPic).

Twitter was not the only social media application working overtime that day. Video sharing sites like YouTube were flooded with many examples of user-generated content that collectively had hundreds of thousands of views within a day.

I'd certainly argue that if social media applications like Twitter didn't exist, a plane crash in New York would still get massive amounts of attention from major media. However, the "Miracle on the Hudson" was also an excellent example of how the average eyewitness can easily distribute images and other newsworthy information that could reach tens of thousands in a matter of minutes.

Until recently, one of the few options for publishing content online was through a web site. participated in the January 1999 launch of the Bird Strike Committee USA web site One of the stated purposes was to have the site act as a resource for the media and the general public, especially if there were a dramatic event such as a bird strike related crash. To serve that end, the site's content included extensive contact information for many of the key members of the Committee.

In the early years of the web, the key way that users would locate information was through a search engine. Because the site had been active for many years, and because the content included many of the popular search terms for bird strike issues, the site was often among the top results for many bird and wildlife strike related search terms. Because of this, major media organizations were able to find basic information about bird strikes and to contact many of the key Committee members, and as a result many of these members were able to provide insights and information to a broad audience in the hours after the crash.

It used to be that an organization was doing a good job getting its message out online if it had a solid web site and if content from that site was in the top results of relevant searches on Google or other search engines. This approach is no longer sufficient. It is necessary to go beyond web sites and search engines because an increasing number of online users are using technology to develop different kinds of ongoing relationship with other users, with information, and with organizations.

For an example of the differences, one just needs to look at the online realities of two New York area plane crashes, TWA Flight 800 and the recent Hudson River ditching involving US Airways. Flight 800 happened in July 1996, just two weeks after was launched. While there were search engines, Google did not yet exist. Major media web sites, were the most important sources of information for news about the crash. There was no YouTube, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, or any other easy to use social media related technologies for sharing photos, videos, and other information with large numbers of people. Email was certainly widely available, but it was mostly a way to communicate with individuals or small groups, not a way to communicate with thousands at a time. While I did my best to add independent information about the crash to, it had only a tiny impact. Traffic went from about 35 visits on the day before the event to about 700 visits the day of the crash.

In contrast, within minutes of the US Airways A320 ditching in the Hudson, there were thousands of people around the world who were contacting each other on Twitter, uploading videos to YouTube, and photos to Flickr. True, much of it was simply copied from traditional news organizations, but some of it was both original and unique. In many cases, traditional media relied on the public for information rather than the other way around. By the way, traffic on was a bit higher in 2009 than it was in 1996, with about 12,000 web site visits on the day of the event, plus at least 5,000 views or downloads of's initial podcast about the event.

The changing nature of the Internet, and the dramatic rise in the importance of newer social media applications, make it necessary for organizations like Bird Strike Committee USA to expand its relationship with the Internet. Fortunately for the Committee, there are many examples of social media use that can be followed, and most of them require no up front or ongoing costs. Perhaps the most pressing needs are in the following areas:

1. A review of existing web site policies and content to ensure that the site continues to rank well for key wildlife hazard related search terms.

2. Development of Bird Strike Committee USA policy for the use of evolving social media applications, in order to use those applications to better coordinate public education and public outreach efforts.

3. Encouraging the use of these same social media technologies among the organizations that support the work of the Committee.

While the early development of an informative web site was an innovation that put Bird Strike Committee USA well ahead of similarly structured aviation safety organizations, recent events have highlighted the fact that adopting at least some of the newer social media technologies is essential if Bird Strike Committee USA is to maintain its relatively high online profile.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bird Strike Testing on an Engine

A short clip of bird strike tests on an engine, including slow motion and closeup views of strikes on fan blades. The engine appears to be one of the larger engines such as the types used on the A380 or 777.

Bird Strike on an A-10 Vertical Stabilizer

The following videos contain two perspectives of a bird strike on an A-10 vertical stabilizer. The strike took place in late July 2007, during an air show above the Columbia River in Yakima, WA. The aircraft struck the bird during airshow maneuvers, and after the strike the aircraft landed without further incident.

News Report from KNDO/KNDU Television

View from a Spectator's Camera

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ditching of a US Airways A320 on the Hudson River in New York

Crash of US Airways Flight 1549

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For more videos, visit the YouTube channel.

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 experienced a loss of power to both engines shortly after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan. Reportedly, the aircraft encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The aircraft reached an maximum altitude of about 3200 feet before it began to descend. After ditching, all five crew members and 150 passengers evacuated the aircraft. One passenger sustained serious injuries.

According to early reports, the aircraft took off normally toward the north, but the flight crew reported striking a flock of birds about two minutes after takeoff. Both engines lost power, and unable to either return to LaGuardia or to land in nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the crew turned the aircraft toward the south. After flying over the George Washington Bridge, the crew executed a controlled ditching on the Hudson River just west of midtown Manhattan. The passengers and crew escaped with the help of numerous ferries, tour boats, fireboats, and other vessels in the area.

This was the first crash of an Airbus A320 operated by a US airline. The A320 has had eight events involving passenger fatalities. The first was a 1988 crash involving Air France, and the most recent was a May 2008 crash of a TACA airliner in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

While many jet airliners have crashed in the water, prior research by revealed only three previous events where the crew of a large passenger jet intentionally ditched the aircraft in a controlled manner. Prior to the US Airways event, the most recent ditching involved a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines 767 in 1996. The others included a 1963 ditching of an Aeroflot jet in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg), and a 1970 ditching of a DC-9 in the Caribbean.

Fatal and serious bird strike related crashes of large jet aircraft are also quite rare. The last fatal US bird strike accident involving a large jet was the crash of a US Air Force E-3 AWACS in Alaska in 1995. The last time bird strikes led to passenger deaths in the US was in 1960 in Boston. Since 1990, five other large jet airliners have crashed due to bird strikes, but only one involved fatalities.

The NTSB is currently investigating this US Airways accident. For updates on this investigation, and for the latest news from, visit

For related information, visit:
Previous US Airways Crashes
Other Significant A320 Events

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bird Strike in Paris - the Music Video

The previous post was about a 2001 birstrike event involving an American Airlines 767 near Paris. Just for fun, I decided to make a music video out of it.

For more on how to make these kinds of videos using any kind of photo or graphic that you may have, check out this posting on The Conversation at podcast blog.

By the way, the song is "Time and Place" from from the Canadian group In-Flight Safety (yes, that is their name).