Bird Attackers Left Sinister Clues


It turns out that the birds who took down US Airways Flight 1549 last week were more diabolical and calculating that we originally thought. Now that both of the plane's jet engines have been uncovered and examined, investigators have discovered the sinister clues left behind by the avian assailants. From today's Post:

"What appears to be organic material was found in the right engine and on the wings and fuselage," said the NTSB in a press release. Samples of that material have been sent to the US Agriculture Department for DNA analysis. "A single feather was found attached to a flap track on the wing," said the release, adding that the feather "is being sent to bird-identification experts" at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Gah! The balls on these bird buccaneers! Arrogantly leaving hints for us, sending us running in circles as they watch from above, cackling and carefully aiming their poop.

Some of you have asked us why we can't protect against these relatively crude — though nefarious — bird attacks, with something as simple as netting over the jet engines on commercial planes. Well, according to the Times, that strategy is no good. According to John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board and a former aircraft mechanic, it would only make things worse.

Chicken wire would barely make a difference in a bird hit, and a heavier screen might break and be sucked into the engine as well; there it would be more of a problem than bird bodies, which are easier for the engine blades to chop up and pass through.

Goglia "likened a bird to a bullet," because though they are moving relatively slowly, the plane's own speed heightens their impact. And the kind of birds who took down flight 1549 are no mere pigeons. “These are geese that came from Canada, liked America, stayed and got fat,” Mr. Goglia said. “They can still fly, but they don’t go very far. They’ve been seen up quite high, too.”

WHAT. They were immigrants living off the fat of our land and then turning around and attacking us with their newfound strength? Someone get Bill O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs on this case! We just figured out the only strategy birds can't fight back against — televised hate propaganda.

Screens Not the Answer to Keep Birds Out of Jet Engines [NYT]