Bird strikes have been in the news lately and especially after the Hudson River incident earlier this year along with a controversial proposal by the USA’s FAA to keep data about bird strikes confidential. However and as we have noted in the past, bird strikes are fairly common but are rarely deadly (that is, for the aircraft and the passengers).
To help further put things in perspective, Brett, who is the blogger behind the popular Cranky Flier blog, has recently posted an exclusive preview of Tableau Software’s interactive visualization of FAA bird strike data. The interactive display clearly shows that bird strikes rarely do damage but the reporting of bird strikes (and we emphasis the reporting of) is clearly on the rise. However, Brett also notes that:
A whopping total of .06% of bird strikes destroyed the airplane. That’s 11 airplanes out of the 20,000 that have hit birds since 2005. (And this only goes through 2008, so it doesn’t include the ditching in the Hudson.) You’ll notice that props receive damage more often than jets
In other words, bird strikes are a threat but with all things considered (i.e. the weather, other air traffic etc.), they remain a fairly small threat to worry about.
Should you be curious about the actual data, the interactive display is a fairly handy and useful tool to help put things in perspective and hopefully it will help to allay any fears among the general public concerning the actual risk from such a strike.