David Dust commented on an article he read in response the the Hudson River Airplane Indicent about Rupert Murdoch's call for the killing of geese to keep it from happening again. It kinda got Miss Ginger to thinking about how much she flies in and out of Houston's airports, and about the enourmous amoung of wildlife that enjoy Houston's temperate climate. She even remembers once that she was delayed on a flight because the plane in front of hers ran over a rabbit on the runway (I'm serious!) and it all had to be cleaned up before any more planes could take off!
So she was kind of relieved to read this interesting story in the Houston Chronicle:
Area airports employ harassment to keep wildlife away from runways
By ROSANNA RUIZCopyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 16, 2009, 9:30PM
When birds and rodents move onto the grounds around Houston’s runways, their eviction notices are issued in the form of fireworks, sirens and horns.
These “harassment” techniques along with proper drainage and routine lawn maintenance are intended to lessen the chance of wildlife bringing down an airplane here as is suspected to have caused this week’s incident in New York, when a USAir flight landed in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff.
“We have pro-active and reactive measures,” said Houston Airport System spokeswoman Marlene McClinton. “Some of the methods we use include basic harassment of whatever critter there is out there.”
Those measures include routine patrols of the grounds around the runways, reports by pilots who spy birds or other animals in close proximity, and regular landscaping maintenance to reduce insect and rodent populations that attract birds. Drains also reduce chances of standing water that can attract birds.
The Houston Airport System is not required by the Federal Aviation Administration to implement a wildlife management plan as are others more prone to wildlife problems. HAS does conduct wildlife assessments with the agriculture and fish and wildlife service agencies.
Last year, 23 bird strikes were reported at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, 44 at Hobby and 9 at Ellington Field, McClinton said.
Texas ranks second in the nation in reported bird strikes, behind California and followed by Florida, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Ostrom said that if the USAir crash were caused by a wildlife strike, there will be more regulation and more emphasis on reporting.
Engine improvements and reduced air time at altitudes where collisions are more likely to occur are among potential measures to lessen these incidents, he said.