Bowing to outside pressure, most recently from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to make public its full database on airplane birdstrikes. The information will be online beginning Friday morning, although the database won't be fully searchable at first.
The FAA had worried that releasing the data would discourage voluntary reporting by pilots and airlines. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the agency's boss, ended up concluding that "The Department of Transportation is, among other things, a safety agency. Public disclosure is our job."
Meanwhile, the Air Line Pilots Association has put out a white paper with suggestions as to how pilots can avoid bird strikes. Along with much valuable advice, we learn that:
The first recorded bird strike was reported by the Wright brothers in 1905. According to their diaries, “Orville ... flew 4,751 meters in 4 minutes 45 seconds, four complete circles. Twice passed over fence into Beard’s cornfield. Chased flock of birds for two rounds and killed one which fell on top of the upper surface and after a time fell off when swinging a sharp curve.”