Newly opened database shows airplane bird strikes not rare
Nationwide, there were 98,328 reports of aircraft striking birds or other wildlife since January of 1990, although the actual numbers probably are far higher. The Federal Aviation Administration said only 20 percent of incidents are reported under the voluntary system of data collection.
The database shows strikes resulted in “substantial damage” to aircraft on about 3,000 occasions. Eleven people died in incidents relating to bird strikes.
The FAA initially fought to keep its database closed, saying publication of the details might discourage the industry from reporting information. …
While bird strikes account for the majority of the mishaps, the database contains numerous aircraft encounters with deer, moose, caribou and even fish.
According to the records, a fish hit a US Airways aircraft landing in Warwick, Rhode Island, in May of 2000. The fish had been dropped by an osprey.
The FAA opted to make the database public after being pelted with criticism from passengers, media organizations and the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates crashes.
Interest in aviation bird strikes has been heightened by several recent incidents in addition to Sullenberger’s flight — the January 15 ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River. All on board survived.