Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bird-strike database to debut on Friday

Perhaps some birders and ornithologists fall into the group of independent researchers, cited below, that wants to look at all available data.


After getting pelted by criticism from everyone from airline passengers to federal accident investigators, the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday reversed course and said it will publicly reveal its records on bird strikes.

The FAA said it will make its entire bird-strike database available on a public Web site on Friday, and is withdrawing a proposal to keep certain data confidential. The FAA had argued that protecting certain information, such as the names of airlines and airports involved in bird mishaps, would encourage airlines to participate in the voluntary reporting program.

But critics, including the National Transportation Safety Board, said the FAA's secrecy was misguided. In a letter Wednesday, the NTSB said it strongly disagreed with the plan to restrict public access to the data.

"The board believes that withholding such information ... would deny independent researchers the ability to examine all available factors in the database and would make valid comparisons among airports and among some other entities impossible," wrote Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB.

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