Air Transportation: April 22, 2003

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U.S. Air Force transports used to suffer about four million dollars a year in damage from bird strikes. Mostly, the birds are sucked into jet engines, causing damage that can be very expensive to repair. But in the last year, the bird damage has been reduced to about a million dollars by hiring local falconers to let their birds lose around the air force bases. The birds who normally blunder into aircraft engines, catch sight of the hawks or falcons, and depart the area. These predator birds have been preying on other birds for millions of years and most birds are quick to stay out of any area where the predators hang out. Hiring the falconers is cheaper than repairing the bird strikes, which also interrupt transport operations, putting an aircraft out of action until repairs are completed.

 


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