Every once in a while I feel obliged to report on the statistics gathered by the Federal Aviation Administration regarding bird strikes and other unhappy encounters between wildlife and aircraft at Bradley International Airport.
In addition to 60 bird strikes involving a range of species from larks to kestrels, there were three fatal encounters reported between aircraft and mammals in the period from May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011. These incidents, which presumably took place on the ground, were:
- On June 23, 2010, an American Airlines 737-800 struck and killed a red fox. The 737-800 is among my least favorite aircraft, owing mainly to what I consider an unfavorable lavatory configuration for the coach passenger in the typical two-cabin layout. This incident suggests that the 737-800 is also a menace to the fox community, which does not surprise me.
- On July 19, 2010, a Virginia opossum was dispatched from this mortal sphere in a manner consistent with an encounter with an aircraft of some kind. The aircraft was not identified. I suspect a 737-800 on the grounds that there is nothing to which this bladder-torturing jet would not stoop. Marsupials, take note.
- On Oct. 15, 2010, an American Eagle Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet hit a striped skunk. This raises the question of whether there are unstriped skunks. The answer is not entirely clear. Let’s just say that some skunks are more striped than others. But none is equal to a collision with a commuter jet.