FAA bird strike data shows hits at Augusta airport, little damage

Friday, April 24, 2009 5:16 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 8, 2010 4:46 PM
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A Federal Aviation Administration wildlife strike database published today revealed 129 wildlife strikes have taken place at Augusta's Bush Field since September of 1990.

None have resulted in human fatalities or injuries, and only 10 of the 129 produced even minor damage to aircraft.

Of the aircraft involved, 22 were military flights, 23 were Atlantic Southeast, 21 were Delta flights, three were US Airways flights and 27 were categorized as business flights.

Birds affected included a barn owl, three barn swallows, a bat, four blackbirds, ten european starlings, 13 sparrows, four swallows and a vulture. One fox was among those struck, part of the reason the database is called a wildlife strike database.

Diane Johnston, marketing director for Augusta Regional Airport, said the local government and the airport recognized the increased problem that bird strikes could cause in the 1990s, when wetlands were put in place near Bush Field.

Since then, airport officials have had seasonal problems with hundreds of thousands of black birds passing over the runways as part of the nesting and migratory patterns.

Ms. Johnston said the use of their bird chasing dog, Mayday, along with some pyrotechnics, have helped to minimize the problem. Officials from the utilities department have also helped by cutting the brush the black birds use for nesting each year.

"I feel like its been a joint effort between the city and the airport to keep us safe," Ms. Johnston said today.

By comparison, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had 699 reported incidents, Charlotte's Douglas International Airport reported 715 and Columbia Regional reported 120.



View the FAA's wildlife strike data (in MS Excel format) for:

Augusta (Bush Field)

Augusta (Daniel Field)



Columbia, S.C.

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airsafe 04/27/09 - 03:35 am
Releasing the data was the

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 AirSafe.com Foundation offer many insights into how one should approach aviation safety data. Many of their bird strike examples are at birds.airsafe.org and strikevideos.blogspot.com.

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