For years, I have been told that AirlineReporter needs to do their own podcast. Sigh. Why? I just couldn’t imagine adding on something else. Having to get guests, come up with scripts, and the worst part — editing the audio! I have often asked our writers if they might have an interest, but no takers. Well, I am finally giving in and I have created our very first podcast, called Plane Talking with Mom. So what makes this podcast different?
#1 I talk about airplanes with my mom — 100% exclusive. No one else has my mom talking about planes.
#2 I am not editing crap (and you can tell). You get everything. All the “ums” and “uhs,” the mess ups.
#3 My mom doesn’t even like airplanes. So many podcasts have experts or at least people who are interested in talking about the topic. Booooooring. Hear directly from a person who might care the least, and doesn’t even like to fly.
Some reviews are already in…
“It was interesting… at least you and your mom had a nice time” – My Wife
“(It’s) purrr (fect)” – My Cat (aka #A380cat)
“What… I… listened to is… the… nice… podcast… will… listen… again” – My Friend Nick
“The combination of airplanes, birds, and moms is a real winner. A++” – David P Brown
Give it a listen… it is the best podcast we have ever done!!! Oh yea, it is not actually up at any of the places you normally listen to podcasts, so you just have to listen to it via our site.
So… what do you think (remember my mom will be reading the comments too)? But before you make any comment, make sure you listen to the end…
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Man began to take over the skies. Birds had dominated for millennia, but now planes started to usurp the atmosphere.
At first it didn’t seem a problem. Man and bird managed to share the airways. However, as planes became more predominant, birds became more of a hindrance to the flight of humans.
Collisions between birds and planes cause damage to the planes and on rare occasions, planes are downed. According to the FAA, twenty-three people have been killed and 209 injured by bird strikes. Not huge numbers. However the financial cost has been estimated at a total of $400 million. Of course the fatality to birds has been great. Since there are 5,000 bird strikes per year and 80% are not reported,many of our avian friends are lost. They have no chance when it comes to encountering a plane! Interestingly, the first bird strike was reported in 1905 by Orville Wright!
Since birds cannot solve this problem, it is up to Man to create a way for birds and planes to share the sky. Since the majority of strikes occur below 3,000 feet and during take-offs or landings, most of the research centers around airports, both civilian and military.
To discourage birds from hanging around airports, there have been experiments with electromagnets, ultrasonic devices, scarecrows and other predator effigies and noisemakers. None of these methods have been endorsed by the FAA. And even though there is still hope that someday there will be a “magic box” having to do with microwave alarms, the common wisdom as of now is much more simple.
According to Matt Klope, a civilian biologist at NAS Whidbey Island, “…the best management practice is to identify the problem species… and modify/alter the airfield habitats to encourage the birds to go somewhere else.” This stategy is also echoed by other experts.
In other words, birds need a habitat that includes, food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young. Birds are attracted to airports that provide some or all of these needs. Thus, if the airport eliminates them, the birds will leave.
So, airports need to minimize water at runway ends, close landfills and other food sources.If prey birds are discouraged from airports, predators won’t have food. An additional tactic is to introduce predators and dogs to keep the much more numerous prey birds away. Gulls and pigeons are the most common birds in strikes.
Airports also continue to experiment with random explosions and fireworks as well as gas cannons. As a birder, I am encouraged with the efforts to keep my feathered friends away from those huge metal avians. And I am realistic enough to concede that human life and financial considerations trump the lowly bird who once inspired Man.
Hopefully, Man will continue to find ways to keep these two fliers apart!
Introduction from David: My mom has always loved birds and I have always loved planes. We have talked about the similarities a lot and she loves reminding me how birds were around before planes. I asked if she wanted to put some thoughts down for a blog on the concept of birds, planes and flight and she was more than happy. Here are her thoughts in her own words…
For eons and eons, birds had the skies to themselves. Even though there were insects and bats, birds were the dominant aviators.
Man would look up to the skies from Earth and marvel at the wonder of flight. The shepard with his flock, the fisherman at sea, the Indian on the plains would enviously wish that some day they could soar above the mountains, prairies and oceans.
For thousands of years, Man could only wish for flight, so the birds were free to tease the earth-bound. As the years progressed, humans began to study birds and how they can defy gravity. It probably began in China in about 400BC with the invention of kites.
Wings were obviously important to flight. Many early attempts at flight tried using the flapping of wings like birds. These attempts all failed because the shoulder muscles of birds are so much stronger than humans, plus the fact that birds have hollow bones, making them much lighter.
So Man floundered in his experiments with flight.
The turning point seems to have begun during the Renaissance with a man named Leonardo Da Vinci. Yes, that Da Vinci! He was a scientist and inventor as well as an artist. He was intrigued with flight and believed humans could conquer it. In 1485, Da Vinci wrote, “The bird is a machine that operates according to mathematical law. It lies within the power of man to make this instrument with all its motions”. To try to prove this statement, DaVinci produced a hundred drawings of what he called the ornithopter, and even though there is no proof that he created a model that flew, it is considered the forerunner of the helicopter.
So Man began to realize that perhaps it was possible to break the bounds of gravity and soar like an eagle!
It took another 300 years for the hot air balloon to be invented by the Montgolfier Brothers. Then during 1799-1850, Cayley invented the glider and realized the importance of a tail( birds knew that!) and the need for a power source.
Later in 1891, Lilienthal showed that a glider could fly a person and go long distance. Based on a study of birds and how they fly, he wrote a text. And this text was studied by the Wright Brothers who also through experimentation, created that historical flight at Kitty Hawk. Their first flight traveled 120 feet and lasted 12 seconds!
The rest is history! From the time of the first flight until putting a man on the moon was less than seventy years-one generation. In fact, my grandmother who was born in 1878 and died in 1973 saw during her lifetime the entire evolution of the flight of Man!
So now Man has conquered the skies and now dominates the air. Birds, who once were his inspiration are now a nuisance.
What are we doing so man and birds can coexist? Stay tuned for Part 2 early next week.
My mom (Jennifer Brown) loves to support my blogging efforts, but she isn’t the biggest fan of aviation (well she LOVES birds, but that is a whole other story). A lot of our conversations about airlines comes back to how everything was different when she was younger and that “my generation just doesn’t understand.” She is kind of right. Sure I can read the history books and look at the old video and pictures, but it is not the same as being there. She has written for the blog before and I invited her to talk a little bit about her experience with flying. Here is her story:
My first flight was in 1962. I was 14 years old and my family was flying from Denver to Indianapolis via Chicago. But that flight was not my first experience with flying. My dad was a businessman who had to fly often. The rest of my family would take him to the airport and that was an adventure in itself. Back then in the late 50’s and 60’s, you never just dropped someone off at the airport. Of course there was no security. So we would all go in with him, walk to the gate, watch him walk across the tarmac to the plane (no jet tunnels back then). We would watch him climb the stairs to the plane, waving madly. Then after he was on board, we would hope he’d have a seat on the terminal side of the plane so we could wave some more. You never left the gate until the plane was in the air and a mere dot in the sky. Often we would have dinner at the airport-a true family outing.
Those trips to the airport made me long to fly! How exciting it would be! However, back then flying was rare for middle-income families. It was mainly for business or the rich or emergencies. In fact when I took take my first flight in 1962, it was to be with family at Christmas because my mother had died.
During the 60’s and 70’s, I probably did fly more than most people for various reasons. And now that I can look back on that time and compare it to now, I have noticed some differences.
One difference was that there were not many choices. If you wanted to fly from point A to Point B, there were usually only one or maybe two airlines to choose from. There were also fewer flights. People were also loyal to airlines. If you wanted to book a ticket, you had to go through a travel agent or sometimes actually go to the airport to pick up your ticket. Airlines didn’t have 1-800 numbers and of course no Internet to check for deals. There were no deals.
The first deal I ever remember was in the late 60’s. I think it was Frontier Airlines who had a half-fare stand-by for students. At the time, my sister and I were in college in Colorado and would fly to St. Louis where our dad lived. It was perfect for us, so we used to race down to the Denver airport, hoping we’d get on. Otherwise, we’d have to drive across the plains. I used to count the windows of the plane, multiply by four, and then count the people at the gate to figure out if we’d make it. We always did!
Flying was an event-not just a way to get to a destination. People who flew dressed up-no jeans or T-shirts. I still cannot wear jeans when I fly. The stewardesses [Gosh mom they like to be called “flight attendants” now 🙂 -David] were all young and pretty. It was a high status job and many young girls aspired to being one. The food service had real food on real plates and silverware and was included in the fare.
I know there have been a lot of changes to flying since then. I think most of the changes started in the 80’s when deregulation of the airlines began, but I’m not an expert.
I think we all know what it’s like to fly now. To me flying is no longer an adventure but an ordeal. I think that passengers nowadays are driven more by the price of the flight instead of the “experience”. And the consumer usually gets what they pay for.