Wed, Feb 04, 2009
Say Agency Moving Too Slow To Implement Measures
With the topic of bird strikes
top-of-mind following "The Miracle on the Hudson," the Air Line
Pilots Association is taking the FAA to task for dragging its heels
on developing avian radar and other measures to mitigate the risks
to aircraft posed by birds.
The Associated Press reports it's been 10 years since the
National Transportation Safety Board recommended the FAA develop a
radar system to allow pilots to avoid birds.
The FAA responds that technology is years away from being able
to provide reliable altitude information, which is needed along
with bearing and distance to properly warn pilots.
Rory Kay, a Boeing 767 captain, is safety chairman of the Air
Line Pilots Association. He told reporters at a Monday press
conference, "That is not a satisfactory timeframe... 1,000 feet and
five miles from the airport, they're not an issue... But if they're
at 1,000 feet three miles from the airport, they're right on the
flight path if I'm making an approach."
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown tells AP the effort can't be rushed.
"...When you operate in a commercial environment you have to have a
very high level of reliability," she noted. "In many cases these
systems take time to tune to the reliability we need."
While there's little question there's a lot of room for
improvement in the technology used to detect large avian flocks,
it's worth noting the FAA hasn't exactly sat idly by in this
As ANN has reported, the agency has worked to
implement avian radar test systems at three major airports --
Seattle-Tacoma (which already has three bird radars
up-and-running,) Dallas-Fort Worth, and Chicago O'Hare.
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