Andrew Caballero Reynolds
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a midair nightmare?
We’ve been sharing the sky with its native aviators since the Wright brothers took off in 1903. Mostly, we come in peace:
Roaring engines keep the majority of birds at bay, and pilots do their best to avoid wildlife. When bird strikes do happen—there are about 11,000 in the United States each year—they rarely imperil the plane. (If you’re curious, the FAA keeps track of every strike at wildlife.faa.gov.) Astonishingly, even this Delta flight touched down without incident at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. Fortunately, the birds were safe that day, too.
Though the white color of planes usually keeps birds away (here’s how), a feathered flock still surrounded this plane as it made its descent on a November day in 2015. Luckily, the pilot landed the plane without so much as a delay—but plenty of other, even crazier things have resulted in flight delays, from mice to massages. Check out 11 of our favorite crazy flight delay stories.
Even though everything turned out OK, this photo might still make you feel reluctant to ever travel by plane again. If that’s the case, here are some facts about air travel that will restore your faith in flying.