Chesley Sullenberger, Help Us! Bird-Plane Collisions Soar Toward Record

Reported collisions between airplanes and birds are climbing toward 10,000 for calendar year 2009, and the figures aren't even final yet.

Why? Authorities naturally speculate that reports have increased since hero pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger fought off geese who killed his engines and and then miraculously and safely landed Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. But some of those same authorities figured that airlines and airports would actually be more reluctant to report bird collisions.

More from the AP story:

The surge in reports for 2009 - expected to be as much as 40 percent higher once the final accounting is in - comes in spite of government concerns that disclosing details about such strikes would discourage reports by airports and airlines out of worries about lost business. The previous high was 7,507 strikes in 2007. The government's estimate of as many as 10,000 for 2009 would represent about 27 strikes every day.

Sullenberger relives the moment here.

For reading pleasure (and while we wait for those pissed-off birds to calm down), go back to Roy Edroso's aftermath piece from February 9, 2009: "Rescued Singer Ruins Flight 1549 With God, Dance Song."


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