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Humans have always been a little jealous of birds at least to an extent.
For thousands of years, we looked up at them
and envy their ability to fly.
and wondered what the world might look like from up there.
Birds were beautiful majesty creatures full of wisdom.
And eventually we managed to build a machine
capable of seeing the world as they saught, the airplane.
It was only afterwards though that we discovered birds are kind of dicks.
Even Orville Wright’s struggled with
birds hitting his plane in 1905.
And at 1911 air race between France and Madrid
a pilot found himself getting attacked amid air by an eagle
which he drove away by shooting out with his pistol.
In 1912 the first recorded fatality of a bird strike
on an airplane took place,
when a gull got stuck in the plane’s controls,
which cause the pilot to tragically crash.
Decades later in 1960,
Eastern Airlines Flight 375 took off from Boston
and flew through a flock of birds,
which severely damaged all four of the plane’s engines
and caused it to crash into Boston harbor,
resulting in the loss of life of 62 people on board,
and representing the deadliest known incident ever caused by birds.
But it’s not just the engines
that birds are capable of causing damage too.
In 2004, a KLM flight
departed from Amsterdam Sciphol
suffered a bird strike to their nose landing gear during takeoff.
since the landing gear ended up being retracted normally,
they continued on to their destination at Barcelona.
But upon landing the plane veered unexpectedly off the runway and crashed,
because was later determined to be a cut cable
in the nose wheel steering system caused by that bird strike.
And while everybody aboard the plane survived,
the plane itself was destroyed and written off as a total loss.
But perhaps the most famous incident of bird strike
on an airplane was back in 2009.
when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York
and quickly ran into a flock of geese,
many of which got stuck in the plane’s engines,
which caused a complete power failure.
Unable to reach any airport,
the pilot thankfully managed to guide the plane into a ditch planting in the Hudson River
and saved everybody on board.
But the results could’ve obviously been way worse.
And that’s not just airplanes that birds hit either.
In 1999 Italian’s super model and pony lookalike Fabio
got hitten in the face by a bird
that broke his nose while he was enjoying a roller coaster.
And in the 1960 Belgian Ground Prix,
a driver for lotus got hitten in his face by a bird while going through a corner just too tight,
which caused him to crash.
It’s estimated that just in the United States alone
about 13000 birds were striking airplane every year
and cause about $400million of damages,
Worldwide it’s believed that bird strikes cause about $1.2billion of damage,
more than the price of two brand new airbus A380-800s.
So what makes bird strikes so damaging
and what can we do to stop them?
Most birds strikes on airplanes occur
during takeoff or landing at lower altitudes
where birds are more common to be.
That’s not to say that they only happen here though.
There was an instance
a while back where pilot flying over Ivory Coast
at 11300m unexpectedly crashed into a vulture,
which also happens to be the highest recorded altitude of a bird ever measured.
Birds generally make impact on any part of the front facing part of a plane.
So the wing screen, the nose, wings and engines
因此 挡风玻璃 机头 机翼和引擎
are the areas that are most often hit.
The engines in paticular though are the most vulnerable.
A bird getting ingested into one is dangerous
because as the bird strikes one of the blades of the fan inside
that blade can become displaced into another blade
which causes a cascading engine failure.
The fans inside of the engines are spinning at the highest speed during the takeoff
where the presence of birds are also most common
and it therefore makes for the most vulnerable period.
Flocks of birds provide for more opportunities
of one causing a cascading engine failure.
since multiple strikes are likely to occur.
But what can be done to mitigate this from happenning?
Airports around the world employ various techniques to keep birds away
including making food hard to access,
keeping birds of prey or guard dogs present as a visual deterrent,
using fake effigies of predators and speaker systems playing preditor noises
using cannons and pyrotechnics to make loud scary noises.
placing sharp spikes on areas where birds may perch up on to deny them anywhere convenient to land,
or by bringing in sharp shooters with rifles and shotguns
to keep their populations in check.
JFK airport in New York used to experience a problem
with a nearby colony of gulls flying overhead.
There was a contributing up to 315 birds strikes on airplanes there per year.
So they brought in snipers to begin shooting the birds
as they flew over in1991,
hoping that it will encourage them to change the flight path to somewhere else.
Within 2 years, they had shot down over 28000 of those gulls,
which was about half of the population of the colony.
And birds strikes on planes were reduced by 89%
A more humane method of avoiding birds strikes
though has been the recent development of avian radar,
which is surprisingly powerful.
The Dutch military for example has developed a system
that they call Radar Observation of Bird Intensity, where Robin for short.
Robin is capable of tracking thousands of birds
symotaneously in real time day and night,
with 360º coverage out to a range of 10km,
updating every single bird’s position, speed,
heading and size every 2-3s.
Deployment of Robin by the Royal Netherlands Airforce at airbases
has been proven to reduce birds strikes by 50％,
as air traffic controllers are able to better alert pilots to flock of birds nearby
during takeoff and landing procedures.
Still, the impacts of birds on planes
when they do hit can be pretty devastating.
The force of an impact depends greatly on the weight of the bird,
the speed difference between it and the plane,
and the direction of the impact.
The energy of the impact increases with the square of the speed difference,
which is why a low speed impact of a small bird
on a car windshield causes very little damage,
while a high speed impact with a jet
can cause catastrophic damage.
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