The Birds! Are Birds Properly Held Responsible for Midair Collisions?

Subject: The final draft on Captain Sully's midair collision and his responsability in the matter.


*Flight Paths of Migrating Birds Are Generally Known To Pilots*

*Birds ALWAYS Have The Right of Way.*

Captain Sully of flight 1549 became a hero for picking a good landing area and setting the airplane properly in the water. We do not envy his recently gained acclaim and the money he received but his recent efforts to eliminate the grand geese is disgusting.

*Captain Sullenberger, however, is now using his position to lead an attack upon birds, especially waterfowl. Captain Sully and others are viciously and shamefully promoting the mass killing of thousands of innocent birds in the fake cause of safety is totally wrong, unnecessary and inhuman to say the least. They have incorrectly determined that Man has the right of way and the right to clear the way.* *Thus, we must regretfully present our studied opinions of the situation. *

This whole improper scenario was put into action by flight 1549 having a mid-air collision with a flock of migrating geese on a path designated thousands of years ago by their creator. The paths, altitudes and times of the year when the birds will be moving are well known by most all qualified pilots in these transit zones where the semiannual flights occur. The birds will probably continue on these established paths for many more years. Will the forces that are now set in motion continue their murders until these great beautiful birds are extinct.

The thoughts and opinions quoted here are from studied reviews of Flight 1549 by Lt. Commander. Paul Coughlin. They are based on studies and knowledge gained from his more than 10,000 logged pilot hours (as a Naval Aviator in WWII and an Air Force Pilot in Korea) during 92 years of life and more than 60 years of flying experience.

Sea birds especially have always been or seemed to have been akin to all aviators. We have watched them and shared with them *their airspace*. They always have the right of way. Remembering always that you are invading their sky and that your flight is faster, making it your responsibility to watch carefully and avoid running into them.

Formations of waterfowl, in the spring and fall, follow certain well known paths. During these seasons most pilots are vigilant in their observations and conduct of their flights. A single bird being hit by an airplane would rarely if ever be responsible for an air catastrophe. It should be recognized that birds do not fly into airplanes the birds are run into or struck by airplanes.

Bill Sanderson of the N. Y. Post quotes First Officer Jeffrey Skiles' statements on CNN's Larry King program, *.Both of us just briefly saw the birds ahead of us, just shortly before they struck us. * It's my feeling that they were Canada geese just because they were all evenly spaced in line, like Canada geese fly.. The report continues, *Captain Chesley Sullenberger said he was pretty sure as soon as he saw the birds that they would hit the jet.* * .I said to Jeff, 'birds' and a second later they struck the airplane.. * Most of the bird hits do little damage. .This was very different,. Skiles said.

In the case of Captain Sully, who proved he was a good pilot in the recovery from a collision with the migrating flock of birds. It should be understood that had that flock been an airplane that was off course, miss directed or other cause in this crowded airspace the midair collision as a result of his neglect of duty would have been far more disastrous.

* Let us see what was happening in the cockpit of flight 1549 BEFORE it intercepted the migrating geese and crashed into their formation. Let us calculate what or who was responsible for the disaster:*


   The Co-pilot was flying the plane
   (admitted by both pilots) which
   is often the case. He thus would
   be interested in the instruments,
   general operation of the machine and
   the steady straight climbing attitude.
   His attention would be directed
   primarily upon the total functions of
   the aircraft.  He might occasionally
   glance out the windshield but that in
   this case was not his duty..


   Watching for other traffic in this
   scenario was totally and wholly the
   responsibility of Captain Sully.

   Flight 1549 was on a steady course
   and climb at a speed of about 5 miles
   a minute. According to reports they
   were about 2.5 minutes out of the
   airport. *This means that the flock
   of birds that was intercepted by the
   airplane would have appeared in one
   position on the windshield for MORE
   than five miles. * (When another craft
   or object stays at the same angle
   with a moving vessel it is known as a
   collision course.) *Thus, if Captain
   Sully had been responsibly performing
   his duty the collision with the flight
   of birds would not have occurred.*

   The duty of watching for possible
   outside problems such as other planes,
   birds, balloons or other obstacles
   is the responsibility of the pilot
   who in not controlling the aeroplane.
   In this case the full responsibility
   for watching for other traffic or
   obstructions was that of Captain
   Sully. *The sky was clear and the
   flock of birds were in plain sight at
   the same spot on the windshield for
   more than a minute.*


   When Captain Sully cried "birds"
   one second before the airplane ran
   into the flock, it was his admission
   then that he had not been performing
   his duty.

We do not wish to defame the Captain because after his dereliction of duty of not watching for other traffic. He did performed very well and made a great recovery from his goof up that caused the resulting catastrophe.

The Captain did an excellent job of selecting an emergency landing location and gliding the aircraft to that position. All pilots are trained to do that in the primary lessons and tests for their initial private pilot's certificate. In short, he performed as he should have in that situation and deserves credit for the final job.* But when he uses that notoriety to head the cadre of fools murdering innocent birds its too much and his dereliction of duty must be exposed. He's responsible for the accident not the geese! Murder is wrong! Geese fly two times a year. They come in and then fly out.*

*To A Waterfowl*
William Cullen Bryant
Whether, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do the wrong,
As. darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking bellows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean's side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along pathless coasts --
The desert and illimitable air .
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere.
Yet stoop not weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
And soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone! The abyss of heaven,
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou has given,
And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.

[The poem above is presented here as a memorial to the birds that have been killed in the recent irresponsible slaughter.]

June 25, 2009
pecoughlin at gmail dot com