National Air Traffic Controllers Union spokesman Doug Church says the Airbus 320 reported the bird strikes about 30 to 45 seconds after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport and asked to return to the ground. As the controller began to turn the aircraft, the pilot radioed that he saw an airport below him and asked what it was.
Church said the controller ``That's Teterboro'' in nearby New Jersey. The pilot asked to land there. The last transmission between the pilot and controller was the controller's order to divert to Teterboro for an emergency landing.
"Bird strikes have been a hazard since the dawn of aviation. The first officially recorded bird strike was by Wilbur Wright in 1905, and the first death by bird came in 1912," Wired reported in 2005. "Now each year birds cause more than $600 million in damage to civilian and military aircraft, and 163 injuries and nine deaths have been reported for civilians since 1990, according to the FAA."
"Airbus actually puts out a series of flight operations briefing manuals kind of like on-line references for pilots, and there's a whole separate subcategory called bird strikes," reports WCBS's Pablo Guzman. "Among some of the main points are that Pilots may expect to encounter from two to five bird strikes during their career. The FAA reported over 33,000 bird strikes of civil aircraft between 1990 and 2000."
Among the most recent instances, a multiple bird strike caused a Ryanair 737 to make an emergency landing at Rome's Ciampino Airport on Nov. 10, 2008. The plane lost significant power in both engines, but landed safely. Five people suffered minor injuries.
Bird Strike Committee USA is a volunteer organization led a 10- to 15-person steering committee consisting of representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, and representatives from the aviation industry.
According to the committee: