Data: Hundreds of 'wildlife strikes' at Charlotte airport since - | WBTV Charlotte

Data: Hundreds of 'wildlife strikes' at Charlotte airport since 2011

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Hundreds of animals have collided with airplanes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in the past six years, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Wednesday, an American Airlines airplane had to make an emergency landing after striking a deer during takeoff at the Charlotte airport. 

The flight crew declared an emergency and then did a flyover so personnel on the ground could inspect it for damage prior to attempting a landing.

“5320, you are showing you’re trailing some kind of vapor or something off the right wing,” an air traffic worker can be heard telling the flight crew on an air traffic recording from the Charlotte Douglas tower.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Plane collides with deer on takeoff at Charlotte airport

Firefighting crews met the plane and sprayed flame retardant because it was leaking jet fuel. The runway was closed for a while so that crews could clean up from the incident. American Airlines officials say none of the 44 passengers or four crew members were injured in the collision.

Surrounded by over 19 miles of barbed wire-topped perimeter fencing, Charlotte Douglas is also ringed by thousands of acres of wooded land conducive to deer.

According to the FAA, there have been four incidents involving a plane striking a deer at the Charlotte airport since 2002, including Wednesday's incident.

An incident in December 2002 caused substantial damage to a Piedmont Airlines that was landing at the airport. According to the data, the collision caused the nose gear of the plane to collapse. No one on the plane was injured.

According to FAA, a deer collided with Republic Airlines flight that was landing in Charlotte in February 2009. There was no damage to the plane in the incident.

The fourth incident involved a US Airways flight in October 2010 when the flight's landing gear struck a deer while landing, causing only minor damage.

Thursday, the airport officials say they inspected the perimeter fence after the incident and determined the deer did not access the airfield through an opening in the fence. Officials said the airport conducts numerous daily inspections of the perimeter fence.

“Safety and security are CLT’s top priority, and the Airport considers every animal strike to be a serious one. The Airport recognizes the importance of the Wildlife Hazard Management Program,” airport officials said. 

Airport officials said a full-time wildlife management coordinator position was created in 2011. Two years later, the airport contracted with a “qualified airport wildlife biologist” and conducted a wildlife hazard assessment. 

Last year, the FAA approved the airport’s updated Wildlife Hazard Management Plan, which included changes to the perimeter fence by 2020. Earlier this month, the airport put in a request for enhancements to the fence, including increasing the height of the fence to ten feet and a perimeter intrusion detection system. 

MOBILE USERS: Click here to see photos of the plane after the collision

According to a FAA database, there were 851 “Wildlife Strikes” between January 2011 and April 2016.

While many of the strikes involved birds, there were also ten incidents involving coyotes, two involving raccoons and separate incidents involving a snapping turtle and an opossum.

Currently, the Airport continues to utilize the following measures for Wildlife Hazard Management:

  • Habitat modification, including removal of vegetation and other things that attract wildlife.
  • Non-lethal and lethal measures, including use of exclusionary devices (non-lethal).
  • Daily patrols to disperse any wildlife found on the airfield.
  • Use of depredation permits issued at the state and federal level. The Airport follows best management practices and guidelines as required by state and federal government permits.

According to airport officials, these measures have resulted in a reduction in reported deer sightings inside the perimeter fence from 70 in 2011 to two in 2016.?

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