Tulsa Airport Takes Measures To Prevent Bird Strikes

Friday, March 14th 2014, 10:36 pm
By: News On 6

A bird strike forced a Tulsa flight bound for Dallas to make an emergency landing on Friday. According to the airport, bird strikes aren't really a problem here.

The Federal Aviation Administration reports that Friday's strike is the 30th at Tulsa International since 2012. A spokesperson with the airport said that's not bad, considering they do 130 flights a day. But that didn't make a difference for the people on Friday's flight, who had to make an abrupt landing because of birds.

Out of nowhere, a bird strike can take down a plane. A concern for the American Airlines flight from Tulsa to Dallas when an airport spokesperson said two small birds hit the plane during takeoff.

3/14/2014 Related Story: American Airlines Jet Makes Emergency Landing In Tulsa After Bird Strike

"The pilot came on and said we'd hit birds and that we were turning around to come back," said passenger Connie Faurot.

The strike forced the pilot to make an emergency landing. But after an inspection, with no injuries to passengers or the plane, the flight continued to Dallas.

Since a U.S. Airways plane landed in the Hudson River following a bird strike in 2009, all airports have plans to keep birds away.

"We keep our grass mowed in the summer. We make sure any brush piles are taken care of and removed. Make sure that there's really not a food source for the birds," said Alexis Higgins, with the Tulsa International Airport.

Loud noise makers also keep birds away at the Tulsa International Airport, but when that doesn't work, the airport is prepared.

"Anytime a bird goes into an engine, we're required to collect the remnants of the bird and send them off to Washington D.C. to be evaluated," Higgins said.

Tulsa International even changes flight paths based on where birds fly.

"How can we best develop the flight paths of airplanes so that we don't encourage large flocks of birds to pass through those flight paths," asked Higgins.

Osage SkyNews 6 Pilot Will Kavanaugh has dodged birds in flight; he said the pilot made the right call to land.

"Just thinking that you might have a bird strike, you do have to put that aircraft on the ground right away because you have the risk of losing that engine," Kavanaugh said.

The FAA reports sparrows, larks, doves, robins, mallards and other birds being caught in planes at Tulsa International. And it's not just birds they're concerned about, it's also skunks, owls, and in Oklahoma, deer that can interfere on the runway.