Many of us never heard of a bird strike before Thursday's plane accident in New York, but a Federal Aviation Administration report shows thousands of bird strikes happen every year.
In 2007, the FAA reported 7,666 bird strikes. Since 1990, airports reported more than 30 bird strikes that damaged planes in the state of Texas. Even though Lubbock's airport is in the middle of a migratory pattern, none of the reported strikes were in Lubbock.
However, a local bird abatement specialist says that doesn't mean we haven't had any. "I'm sure they've had them. They just might not have noticed them," says Joe Bill Rogers.
Rogers travels around the country with falcons and hawks to get rid of unwanted birds. It's called bird abatement, or using birds of prey to scare off other animals. Rogers focuses mostly on agriculture, but has knowledge of airport bird abatement. He says while bird strikes aren't uncommon, you don't hear about them often because they usually cause only minor problems, and sometimes passengers don't feel them at all.
James Loomis, Aviation Director at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, says Lubbock typically sees four or five bird strikes a year, but it's never had a dangerous one. "Typically there's no damage because they're smaller birds.
Rogers thinks Lubbock flyers shouldn't worry too much when leaving the runway, "With what we've got now, it's not too bad. If they get geese out there, yeah, we've got problems. If they get seagulls out there we've got problems, but a few doves and meadow larks and things like that, it's not going be a big problem here."
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