Science: Birds v. Planes

Collisions between planes and birds are reported by U.S. airline pilots about twice a week. They can disable wing tips, dent the fuselage, foul the motor—but the chief danger is a windshield break. Last month a DC-3 almost crashed in Iowa when a duck came through the windshield in an explosion of glass and feathers and knocked out the pilot (the copilot saved the plane).

Both airmen and ornithologists think that bird collisions may have been responsible for some unsolved air disasters. The bird-bumping problem is becoming So troublesome that airlines rate the...

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