Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 23: Keep Bird Strike Reports Public

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Is the Federal Aviation Administration kidding?

Given the re-emergence of birdstrikes as an issue following last January's US Airways ditching in New York City, how can the FAA even consider making reports about birdstrikes secret?

An Associated Press article Monday reported that the FAA solicited public comment about this proposal. Have they ever gotten it - 5 to 1 against. One of those comments was by Donald Jones of Jacksonville, one of the survivors of the US Airways ditching in the Hudson River. He said, "This issue needs to be addressed openly, not swept under the rug." Agreed. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents, also advocates publicity of birdstrikes.

The FAA and the Airline Pilots Association, which also supports making the reports secret, want to avoid panic. The idea that secrecy can do that is misguided. Only openness can do so. The FAA must keep the reports public.

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