Aviation Safety Group Adds Birds to Priority List

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — A U.S. government-aviation industry safety group added birds to its list of priority issues at the behest of two government entities, officials said.

The Commercial Aviation Safety Team elevated birds to its priority issues after reviewing bird-aircraft incidents, including January’s Hudson River landing of a US Airways jet that hit geese and engine damage caused by birds on a Frontier Airlines plane departing Kansas City Nov. 14, USA Today reported Monday.

The team was asked to urged to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agriculture Department.

“This is a big flashing beacon,” says Carla Dove, head of the Smithsonian Institution’s bird identification lab. “It’s time to wake up.”

Since the Hudson River accident, the FAA improved bird strike reporting and is writing new, tougher requirements for how airports should combat birds and other wildlife, Kate Lang, FAA’s acting associate administrator for airports, told USA Today.

Airline officials believe the risk from bird strikes remains relatively small but still deserving of more attention, said Basil Barimo, vice president for safety with the large-airline trade group, Air Transport Association.

Bird experts said efforts must be undertaken to develop new technology to track birds and study other ways to lower bird hazards.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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