- By Daniel W. Drezner
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.
I don’t have any big thoughts about yesterday’s dramatic water landing and safe rescue of everyone aboard USAir flight 1549. Of course, I do have two not-so-big thoughts:
First, as this USA Today story makes clear, what makes this event particularly unusual is the increasing safety of air travel:
For the first time since the dawn of the jet age, two consecutive years passed — 2007 and 2008 — without a single passenger death on a scheduled airline flight carrying 10 or more seats, according to USA TODAY research of government and industry data. During those two years, airlines carried about 1.5 billion passengers.
That’s pretty miraculous as well.
Second, despite this safety record, Michelle Maynard of the New York Times chronicles the persistent menace that birds pose to jetliners:
Since 2000, at least 486 planes have collided with birds, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Of those incidents, 166 led to emergency landings and 66 resulted in aborted takeoffs.
The earliest known fatal airplane crash involving a bird took place in 1912, nine years after the first flight by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, N.C. That plane crashed into the surf off Long Beach, Calif., pinning its pilot under the wreckage
While most birds probably wish to peacefully coexist with humans, it is becoming increasingly clear that a small group of radicalized avians are hell-bent on destroying our way of life. These radical birdists hate us for our freedom. This can not stand.
I, for one, look forward to President Bush’s declaration of a War on Birds. Unfortunately, this will last only four days, after which President Obama will no doubt appoint this guy as special envoy to the avian community.