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The Traveller's Magazine
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Reports are only now coming in after last week’s devastating plane crash over the Himalayas and it appears the cause of the crash was a bird strike. More common than we think, birds are falling planes all over the world.

Bird strikes are one of the biggest threats to passenger safety and have always been since the history of aviation began. Even Orville Wright reported that birds are a serious problem for planes in 1905. Today birds have been reported as the cause of dozens of fatal plane crashes around the world.

Remember when US Airways had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River in 2009? Bird strike. Or in 2010, when Thomas Cook barely managed to land in Manchester after being struck by birds?

Despite millions of pounds being spent to prevent these strikes, they still occur alarmingly frequent.


There is at least one major incident every year in the UK because of bird strikes and are particularly threatening when flying at low altitudes or in regions known for migrating birds. One or two won’t do much harm but if an aircraft intersects a whole flock… then there could be real trouble, especially if they hit a turbo prop or engine.

While engineers bring out new technologies and better enforced windscreens it seems that the best solution to bird strikes during take-off and landing is to remove all trees and vegetation from the surrounding areas. No wonder airports are set in bleak fields covered in tarmac. Dogs, firearms, remote-controlled airplanes, even audio devices are also used to scare birds off the runways.

As for the recent crash in Nepal, seven British tourists were killed after a bird flew into one of the aircraft’s engines shortly after taking off from Kathmandu Airport, causing it to crash-land killing all who were onboard.

Imgs: epsossuperstrikertwo / Flickr cc.

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One response to “Birds of prey: bird-caused crashes on the rise

  1. I’ve seen some close calls over the years at Cardiff and Southampton airports. I think airports mostly do a good job at keeping us safe and that it is just one of many factors that you have to realise are a risk when flying.

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