National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker today praised Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his decision to publicly release a government database on aircraft bird strikes.
The Federal Aviation Administration had proposed a rule that would have barred from public release reports from pilots of incidents involving birds striking aircraft. The NTSB filed an objection to the proposal this week, stating that "public access to all the data in the FAA Wildlife Strike Database is critical to the analysis and mitigation of the wildlife strike problem."
"I fully support the decision of Secretary LaHood to release this data to everyone," says Rosenker. "The more information is known about the extent of this problem, the better able regulators and others will be to combat a phenomenon that brought down an airliner and possibly a transport-category helicopter earlier this year.
"I was particularly gratified to read the Secretary's comments in the news media today suggesting he would support making these reports mandatory. As many may know, in 1999 the NTSB recommended that the FAA require all airplane operators to report bird strikes; reporting is currently on a voluntary basis."
The NTSB has announced that a public hearing into the January ditching of US Airways flight 1549 will be held in June. The threat of bird strikes to aviation safety is one of the issues that will be explored at that hearing.
"Public disclosure is our job," says LaHood.
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The investigation uncovered improper and noncompliant charter operations that should have been identified and discontinued by the FAA.
The FAA recently launched a wildlife poster outreach campaign for the general aviation (GA) community to increase wildlife strike reporting among this important segment of aviation.
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