Attrition: Pakistani Air Force Losing Aircraft to Garbage


May 13, 2007: Last year, Pakistan lost eleven military aircraft to bird strikes, and so far this year, has lost two. The problem is worse than it sounds, because for every aircraft lost to a bird strike, dozens more are damaged by such collisions. In fact, the rate of bird strikes is higher in the Pakistani air force than in most other nations. The reason is garbage. Several Pakistani air bases suffer from locals dumping their garbage near the ends of the runways where there is, quite naturally, a lot of open terrain. The garbage attracts a lot of large birds, who tend to fly off when they hear an aircraft approaching (to take off or land). There often follows a collision. Garbage collection, like a lot of other public services in Pakistan, are not done with great regularity. So many freelance garbage haulers come by a night and just dump their loads in isolated places, like the end of military runways. To fix this problem would require fixing much that is wrong with Pakistan, and the inefficient government. Until fixes are made, the garbage, birds and jet fighters will continue to come together in Pakistan.


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