Friday, January 30, 2009

Fowl Air

The guy who landed this plane deserves The Congressional Medal of Honor, he shouldn't have to pay taxes the rest of his life, and there should be statues erected on both the New Jersey and New York sides of the Hudson. The pilot, co-pilot, crew, and the passengers who stood on the wings in freezing water are all heroes.

But who are the villains in this drama? Sure, you can point to the nimrods who ignore the periodic mishaps at LaGuardia Airport caused by short runways, steadfast in their denial that anything can be done to address the problem. And rumor has it one of the engines stalled a couple of days before this accident, which a more conservative or profitable airline might have replaced as a precautionary measure.

But it was a flock of geese sucked into the jet engines that brought the plane down. As a nervous flier I need someone to blame, so that I can reassure myself this wasn't a result of man's inability to fly, but rather the villainous act of a negligent airline or inept FAA --- or someone, somewhere, fouling the system. I blame the geese.

Now it turns out there is a level of "bird protection" that varies by airport, depending on the runway proximity to wetlands, trees, and so on. And there are a wide variety of deterrents used to keep or scare birds away from planes. But since humans are inherently compassionate and amazingly short-sighted, apparently there are organizations actively trying to protect the birds, not the planes. No doubt these same people get together at Thanksgiving and stuff themselves with turkey while bemoaning the plight of wayward geese. Or perhaps they chow down on a Wendy's chicken sandwich while writing their local Congressman to preserve wetlands near the airport.

A friend of mine suggested the airline mount machine guns on the wings of the jets, just like World War I biplanes. If it works for Snoopy, why not a 737?

But I have a different approach to the problem --- eat the birds. To my vegan friends, listen up, this isn't about you anymore, this is about keeping our skies safe. Geese taste like chicken. So does duck. So does everything if you put the right sauce on it, and that probably holds true for eggplant and soybeans. So you might as well make it a goose-burger next time instead of a veggie burger, since the whole idea of the faux burger is to replicate the taste of cows, which thankfully aren't airborne.

Bon appetit. And while you're at it, have a ham sandwich, too, just in case pigs start to fly.


G.M. Malliet said...

That pilot was an absolute hero. I want him flying all my planes.

Darned geese. They are worse than ever around here, mid-Atlantic. The airports have a booming "gun" that goes off sporadically to scare them, but the same technique doesn't work in NY. The geese there are more hardened, I guess.

Keith Raffel said...

Tim, how will Sally's martial arts abilities help her save Cape when his plane swallows a couple of geese?