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Wild JFK! Airports And Animals  
User currently offlineaviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1352 posts, RR: 11
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 6101 times:

The southern shore of Kennedy airport, along the edges of runways 31L/13R and 04L/22R, abuts a protected area known as the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 9000-acre section of the Gateway National Recreation Area.

Wildlife and airplanes aren't a good mix, but these runways provide some surprising opportunities. Once, taxiing for takeoff, back when I was a Jetstream 41 captain for TWExpress, I saw a pelican coasting along the shoreline just off our wingtip.

A few weeks ago, after landing from Europe, taxiing in from runway 22R, an osprey flew right-to-left just in front of the cockpit. It couldn't have been more than 20 feet away, with a fish clutched in its talons.

Not quite as exotic, of course, are the birds -- namely sparrows, starlings, and pigeons, that live * inside * the terminals at JFK -- particularly in Terminals 2 and 3. Not long ago I saw a pigeon sitting in a drinking fountain in Terminal 2. (The birds know where the fountains are. Sipping from the residual drops and splashes is their only source of water. Except for the sinks and toilets in the rest rooms, maybe.)

A few morning ago we were coming in from South America. We were at 30 feet or so, in the flare, just over the threshold of runway 22L, when a gray rabbit came dashing across the runway, right-to-left. He was only in view for a second or two, but it was clearly a rabbit, and he was running like his life depended on it. Which obviously it did.

I'm pretty sure he made it, but it wasn't by much.

And speaking of rabbits.... the airport in Brussels, Belgium, is infested with them. When I flew for DHL we would leave from BRU late in the evening, and the taxi lights of our DC-8 would illuminate huge swarms of rabbits all along the taxiways and at the ends of runways 25L/R.

Not all of them were alive, having been run over by planes. I imagine a few turbofans had their taste of rabbit stew from time to time.

So this all gets me thinking about wildlife at airports. I've seen photos of lions, etc., lazing on remote airstrips in African game parks. Does anybody have any good stories/sightings to report?


PS

[Edited 2010-08-05 18:00:42]


Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePITrules From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3203 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6047 times:




FLYi
User currently offlineGothamSpotter From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 586 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5998 times:

One day last summer, JFK had to shut down one of their runways for an hour or so after swarms of turtles climbed out of the bay to mate.

JFK Runway Closed Due To Turtles (by Gothamspotter Jul 8 2009 in Civil Aviation)


User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25346 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5913 times:

Plenty of wildlife at many Canadian airports. A few excerpts from Transport Canada daily incident reports over the past few months (all this year). There are dozens of similar reports.

Churchill, Manitoba (YYQ)
CAV7999, Calm Air Hawker-Siddeley 748, was inbound to land RWY25. When the a/c was short final FSS noticed 2 polar bears entering RWY25, FSS informed CAV7999 of the bears and the a/c initiated a missed approach and landed safely on RWY33 at 2113Z.
UPDATE Aerodrome Safety reported that the 2 airport staff on shift were working on the apron with the loader and dump truck. The FSS advised the aircraft crew and the airport workers of a mother polar bear with 2 cubs on the end of Runway 25. By the time the staff got to the end of Runway 25, the bears were already going over the edge of the runway heading east.

Sudbury, Ontario (YSB)
NAV CANADA staff at Sudbury Municipal Airport (CYSB) FSS. observed four (4) bears on the main apron. Security staff were advised and successfully scared them away.

La Grande Riviere, Quebec (YGL)
AIE301, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Air Inuit, had its departure from La Grande Rivière (CYGL) delayed by approximately five minutes due to a caribou on the runway.

Old Crow, Yukon (YOC)
ANT 600, an Air North Hawker-Siddeley 748, was departing Old Crow and the crew rejected their takeoff due to a wolf on the runway.

Whitecourt, Alberta (YZU)
The pilot of a departing helicopter at Whitecourt reported two moose on the north side of Runway 11/29. The airport operator was advised and the moose were subsequently escorted off the airport.

Calgary (YYC)
DAL 1496, a Delta Air Lines Airbus A319, landed at Calgary and was taxiing to the terminal when the crew had to make an abrupt stop on Taxiway Golf while crossing Runway 28 due to a coyote crossing in front of the aircraft.

Kitchener/Wateerloo, Ontario (YKF)
The Waterloo-Wellington Flying Club Cessna 172RG aircraft (C-GPIQ) had concluded a VFR flight from Brampton Airport (CNC3) to Kitchener/Waterloo Regional Airport (CYKF). The flight crew reported a skunk on taxiway ALPHA near taxiway ECHO.

Also YKF
NAV CANADA staff at Kitchener/Waterloo Regional Airport (CYKF) were advised that there was a turtle on the threshold of runway 14. As runway 26 was closed due to a disabled aircraft with a flat tire (refer to CADOR 2010O0779), no runway was available for a period of approximately 10 minutes. All aircraft were held until the turtle was removed.

Vancouver (YVR)
An Air Canada Jazz Canadair CRJ200 operating Flight JZA442, IFR Whitehorse to Vancouver, landing Rwy 08L reported a dead bird on the runway with an eagle eating the remains. Rwy closed til 1725z. One arrival diverted to Rwy 08R. No birdstrike reports received.

Also YVR
Kelner Airways Flight FKL1110, a Pilatus PC12 IFR Vancouver (CYVR) to Kelowna, in position for departure Runway 08L reported an eagle on the runway in front of the aircraft refusing to move. FKL1110 was instructed to exit the runway. Mexicana Airlines Flight MXA980, an Airbus A319 IFR Mexico City to CYVR, was issued a cautionary and given the option to land, which was accepted by the pilot who landed long. The runway was closed. ACA1175 was diverted to Runway 08R. Runway 08L re-opened at 2022Z. FKL1110 departed at 2024Z. Eagle(s) were attracted by a small dead animal on the runway, which was removed.


[Edited 2010-08-05 19:54:23]

User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5880 times:

JFK doesn't probably compare to MCO in terms of wildlife - constantly have turtles and alligators on the taxiways. We have coyotes, bobcats, deer, foxes.

All sorts of large birds - turkey, eagles, ospreys, woodstorks, sandhill cranes, all the different types of egrets and herons - I was on the tram to airside 4 and we hit a little blue heron - heard a loud clunk, the bird possibly survived because someone said they saw it fly down to the water after it got hit, but I have to think it was badly injured after that.


User currently offlineRJLover From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 577 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5824 times:

Pacific Coastal (8P) had one of their Saabs go AOG in ZMT (Masset, BC) due to hitting a deer on the takeoff roll. IIRC it caused some damage to a prop/engine.


Last Flight(s): YHZ-YUL-YYC-YVR-YYJ // YYJ-YYZ-YSJ-YHZ.....Next Flight(s):
User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5739 times:

Quoting aviateur (Thread starter):
A few morning ago we were coming in from South America. We were at 30 feet or so, in the flare, just over the threshold of runway 22L, when a gray rabbit came dashing across the runway, right-to-left. He was only in view for a second or two, but it was clearly a rabbit, and he was running like his life depended on it. Which obviously it did.

I might have been listening at this time! It's possible there was another rabbit in the runway on another day, but I did hear a pilot report a rabbit on the runway to the tower, and the tower asking following planes lining up for takeoff if they'd like to wait for someone to come out and pick him up, or if they just wanted to go. The two I heard just went. I didn't hear what happened to the rabbit.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlinesteve6666 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 411 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5418 times:

The Air France A330 went straight into a herd of cows on landing in PHC back in 2004 I believe.


eu nasci ha dez mil anos atras, e nao tem nada nesse mundo que eu nao saiba demais
User currently offlinecalibansa333 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 208 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5380 times:

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 7):
The Air France A330 went straight into a herd of cows on landing in PHC back in 2004 I believe.

Cow... I gotta go, we got ah cow! Another cow! Actually I think that was the same one...
  From the movie Twister.


User currently offlinereggaebird From Jamaica, joined Nov 1999, 1176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4646 times:

We have animals at Boston Logan Airport as well. Check out this video caught by a local spotter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMhE3zGIbJs


User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25346 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4492 times:

Quoting steve6666 (Reply 7):
The Air France A330 went straight into a herd of cows on landing in PHC back in 2004 I believe.

It was July 2005.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4659281.stm


User currently offlinenkops From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2665 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4486 times:

At ACY, we have a flock of wild turkeys who are actually very good at staying off the airfield... we do have a bald eagle on the airfield, and unfortunately it is illegal to do anything with them ( including harassing), we also have coyotes and foxes... however, the strangest thing we had to catch on the AOA was a peacock.. it was walking in front of one of the hangars just looking at itself in the glass doors, apparently it escaped from a local farm.


I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently offlinegreg3322 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 205 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4418 times:

I was taxing out at JLN (Joplin, MO) and four wild turkeys were crossing the runway. I advised the tower... He told us to bag one for him.



User currently offlinegoldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1843 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4168 times:

Quoting aviateur (Thread starter):
And speaking of rabbits.... the airport in Brussels, Belgium, is infested with them. When I flew for DHL we would leave from BRU late in the evening, and the taxi lights of our DC-8 would illuminate huge swarms of rabbits all along the taxiways and at the ends of runways 25L/R.

CDG & ORY too.


User currently offlineaviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1352 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3811 times:

Damn, I almost forgot this one....


Battle of the Dinosaurs (Summer, 1999)

It's a hot morning at San Juan, and our old DC-8 freighter has just touched down. After rollout along runway 10, we make the left onto taxiway F to access the cargo ramp. Except, there appears to be a sizeable chunk of debris along the taxiway edge at the intersection. And it's moving. Er, well, it's crawling.

Turns out it's a four-foot iguana (Iguanidae Ctenosaurus), and he's looking for a spot to bask. He finds it, naturally, dead center along the yellow taxiway stripe, directly in our way. The animal plops down and is hellbent not to budge.

So we stop.

"Give him some noise," says the captain, reaching for the thrust levers.
"Do iguanas have ears?" asks the first officer.
"I don't know."
"Well, we can't just run him over."

We move closer, hoping to startle the lizard off. It's not working. He's just under the nose now and we can see him clearly -- the frills of his head, the spikes along his tail. A 15-pound prehistoric lizard standing down a 255,000 pound prehistoric airplane.

"I knew a girl once," I say out loud, "who had a pet iguana. They're vegetarians, you know. Strict herbivores." I'm eating a piece of Tillamook cheese from my breakfast tray. "Her name was Lynn Farrell. She was very pretty. She also had a tattoo of an iguana down her back. I wonder where she is now."

"But can they hear?"
"Probably, sure."
Ground control has noticed us motionless and crackles in. "What' s the problem?"
"Do you know if iguanas have ears?" the captain answers.

Two minutes later a yellow pickup comes racing over. Lack of further discussion from the tower gives us the impression this has happened before. The pickup honks, nudges forward, and finally the lizard goes dashing off into the bushes.

Later, on the drive to the hotel, our animated talk of iguanas leads the van driver to ask if we're amateur zoologists.


PS



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
User currently onlineAlias1024 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2760 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3780 times:

I've seen some smart coyotes at ABQ. They'll run up to the runway edge and look both directions for traffic before crossing the runway.

Had to stop for some kind of furry mammal slowly making its way across taxiway N one day at PIT. Neither of us were sure what it was, but we were guessing it was a possum. Do they have those in Pittsburgh?

There's one captain at my airline that uses continuous ignition on every departure from SMF because of the extremely high number of birds in the area.



It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

There was this pretty large pack of coyotes that lived inside the PRC airport. They were quite smart though. They would sit in the middle of the taxiway at times but move over as soon as a plane approached them and once it passed they'd go back to their spot. However the one time a coyote did get struck by one of our planes while it was landing. I also had many MANY close calls with turkey buzzards and very large crows. There were a lot of birds in the area. In fact bird strikes were so frequent there im very surprised I didn't ever strike one.

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