Pelican collision that killed five in Oklahoma getting new look

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: July 28, 2009 at 11:04 am •  Published: July 28, 2009
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/> Where Flight 1549 became celebrated for what went right, the Oklahoma City accident is illustrative of the many things that can go wrong.

Although bird populations generally are declining, nearly all large bird species have been increasing since the enactment of environmental protections in the 1960s and 1970s.

Air traffic has also increased dramatically, and even though traffic is currently down due to the poor economy, annual takeoffs and landings in the United States are forecast to surpass 1 billion a year by 2020.

"We have birds and planes that are literally fighting for air space,” said Richard Dolbeer, an expert on bird-aircraft collisions.

One resurgent species is the white pelican, which averages about 16 pounds but can weigh up to 30 pounds.

"I don’t want to be an alarmist, but in my view something has got to be done about this,” NTSB acting Chairman Mark Rosenker told an aviation club in Wichita, Kan., this spring.

Video: Watch the NTSB report on the incident

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