In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 cult classic “The Birds”, unsuspecting beach town residents are brutally attacked from the sky by, well, birds. Terrifying in 1963, the Hitchcock coastal village bird attacks now seem ridiculous.
But birds are striking back… for real. Birds more recently re-gained international fame in 2009 when US Airways pilot Sully Sullivan heroically landed his jet on the Hudson River after birds struck the airplane he piloted.
Since 1990 bird/airplane collisions have increased from 2,119 annually to over 10,000 in recent years. Events of recent days foreshadow another possible serious air collision, or many.
For example, on April 19 Vice President Joe Biden’s “Air Force Two” collided with three birds while landing in Santa Barbra, California. That same day, a plane transporting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hit by birds somewhere over France or Belgium. And, last Tuesday a Jet Blue flight aborted a landing in Palm Beach, Florida because of flocks of birds near the airport.
The FAA attributes the increase in bird strikes to more flights, quieter engines and more birds. No solution is evident. Meanwhile, birds plot their next attack.