from the they-hit-very-few-passenger-pigeons dept.
The Narrative Fallacy writes "Every year pilots in the US report more than 5,000 bird strikes, which cause at least $400 million in damage to commercial and military aircraft. Now safety hearings are beginning on the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, where a flock of eight-pound geese apparently brought down a plane, plunging it and 155 people into the frigid waters of the Hudson River. Despite having experimented with everything from electromagnetics to ultrasonic devices to scarecrows, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to endorse a single solution that will keep birds out of the path of an oncoming aircraft." (More below.)
"The best bet right now is understanding bird behavior, although an intriguing old pilots' tale — that radar can scatter birds — may carry enough truth to ultimately offer a viable technical solution to a deadly problem. 'We need to find out, is that an urban legend or is there some truth to that?' says Robert L. Sumwalt, the vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The Federal Aviation Administration already has an extensive program in place for 'wildlife hazard mitigation,' but it seems ill suited to the problem that faced the US Airways flight, which struck geese five miles from the runway — too far for the New York airports to take action — at an altitude of 2,900 feet — too high for radars being installed around the country to detect birds. 'There's no silver bullet,' says Richard Dolbeer, a wildlife biologist and expert on bird strikes. 'There's no magic chemical you can spray or sound you can project that is going to scare the birds away.'"
PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the
-- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5