Date of this Version
From Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management, ed. T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell, & J.L. Belant (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
On 15 January 2009, the world learned --- in dramatic fashion --- that wildlife pose serious hazards to aircraft. On that day, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus 320 carrying 155 people, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York City after ingesting Canada geese (Branta canadensis) into both engines at an altitude of ~2,900 feet (880 m) following takeoff from LaGuardia Airport (Marra et al. 2009, National Transportation Safety Board 2010). Historically, most people had never considered the extent of hazards posed to aircraft by birds and other wildlife. After all, how can birds, which generally weigh a few kilograms at most, bring down an airliner? Don't they just bounce off or get shredded by the powerful engines?