Lawmakers push for radar to avoid dangerous bird strikes at airports

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — A group of lawmakers, including one who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, have fired off a letter to the Department of Transportation expressing their concerns about bird strikes impacting the aviation industry and urging the federal government to invest in technology to help planes packed with passengers avoid errant flocks.

Eight U.S. Representatives led by U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley, who represents New York’s 14th district, sent the missive to DOT secretary Anthony Foxx Tuesday. It comes less than two weeks after an American Airlines flight was forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport after striking a flock of birds shortly after takeoff.

The U.S. Representatives that sign the letter represent several New York districts and also include congressmen from Arizona, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

“While we understand that the technology has not been fully perfected, we strongly encourage your agency to prioritize investment in improving and deploying avian radar technology,” the letter states.

“Reducing the frequency of avian strikes is crucial to improve the safety of air travel, and it must be a top priority,” the lawmakers add.

The group cites 24 deaths and more than 235 injuries since 1988 as a result of bird strikes at U.S. airports.

Crowley has been one of the most vocal member of congress when it comes to avian radar detection at New York City airports.

The congressman has cited the example of the U.S. Air “Miracle on the Hudson” landing as one of the primary reasons to implement the technology at airports across the nation.

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