Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FAA and Bird Strike Data: Now you're doin' it right!

FAA logoYou may have heard that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently proposed to keep the agency's database on aviation bird strikes private. Today the agency reversed itself and announced that FAA bird strike data will be available to the public by the end of this week.

Earlier, FAA officials had expressed concerns that the bird strike data might be misinterpreted in ways that would damage the image of the aviation industry and airports. They also feared that if the database was available to the public, some organizations (i.e., airlines, airports, etc.) might feel inhibited about reporting full and accurate information about bird strikes, so as not to tarnish their reputations.

Fortunately, the folks at the FAA have had a change of heart and have decided to withdraw their proposal to 'protect' the bird strike database. An FAA press release issued a short time ago says:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will make its entire Bird Strike database available on a public website this Friday, April 24. Portions of the database have been publicly available since the information was first collected in 1990, but the public will now be able to access all of the database's fields.

The FAA is also withdrawing a proposal to protect the data, after a 30-day comment period closed earlier this week. The FAA has determined that it can release the data without jeopardizing aviation safety.

The FAA has redacted a very small amount of data in the database containing privacy information, such as personal phone numbers.

Over the next four months, the FAA will make significant improvements to the database to improve the search function and make it more user-friendly. In its current format, users will only be able to perform limited searches online, but will be able to download the entire database.

The FAA also plans to work with the aviation community to find ways to improve and strengthen bird strike reporting.

The database can be accessed through
Okay, FAA. Now you're doin' it right!