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Top ten US airports reporting wildlife-aircraft collisions

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During the 19-year reporting period in the FAA database, bird collisions caused 14 airplanes at OIA to abort their takeoffs and prompted 54 others to make precautionary landings there, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Scores of the OIA reports noted damage to the aircraft after a bird collision -- and that damage has added up through the years, totaling about $1.3 million.

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But only one of the 1,085 OIA incidents cited an injury of any sort: On Oct. 7, 1997, a Sun Country Boeing 727 made an emergency landing after an unidentified large bird crashed into the cockpit windshield, shattering glass, which injured a crew member.

At Orlando International, six deer and two alligators were among the animals hit on the ground.

9) San Francisco International, California, 1,021 reported incidents.

Officials at both SFO and the Sacramento airport pointed out that the number of wildlife strikes involved an infinitesimal percentage of flights, and that nobody -- aside from the birds -- was injured or killed in the accidents, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I have no problems putting any member of my family on a flight in or out of SFO," said Mike McCarron, an airport spokesman.

Both airports have physical and geographical factors making them more susceptible to bird strikes, including locations on the Pacific Flyway, the principal north-south migratory route for birds.

10) Pittsburgh International, Pennsylvania, 994 reported incidents.

Spurred by better reporting at major airports, the trend nationwide has been to record increasing numbers of strikes. But Western Pennsylvania halved hits since 2000, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Officials said that's not because airlines and airport officials lag in reporting, but largely because they've toiled to make the habitat near Pittsburgh International less attractive to wildlife.

Workers have cut back trees and replanted others, drained standing pools attractive to waterfowl, and continue to shoo away rodents and birds by honking horns and firing off pyrotechnics.

"It's been an aggressive program and one we're very proud of," said an Allegheny County Airport Authority spokeswoman.


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