New York to gas 2,000 geese to prevent another Hudson river incident

Ah geese… They look so peaceful making their way through your local pond or river, but we all know what can happen when they decide to fly to a different pond or river.

After the bird strike of January 15th (really? That long ago?), there has been growing pressure to do something about the large number of Canada Geese around the local airports.

The solution is pretty macabre – authorities will gas them. The extermination will begin in about a week, during the period when the geese shed their feathers preventing them from flying.

A total of 2000 geese are expected to be removed from a 5 mile radius around LaGuardia and Kennedy.

It make me shiver, but then again, so does the thought of sucking a flock of geese into the engine of my plane.

Watching news worsens aviophobia

Aviophobia, a fear of flying is not unusual. The American Psychological Association estimates that 10 percent to 25 percent of Americans suffer from it … despite the fact that we all have heard how much safer flying is than driving. What few probably realize, however, is that this fear can be exacerbated by news of travel disasters: a condition called vicarious trauma.

Flying is one of the two most common fears with which people struggle (the other is public speaking), and the recent crashes in London, Buffalo (i.e., Flight 3407) and New York (i.e., the “Hudson River landing,” Flight 1549) have the potential to ramp it up.

People become victims of vicarious trauma by seeing a crash in the media and putting themselves in that situation mentally. Eventually, they have trouble removing themselves from it. If you have several other phobias at work, they only add fuel to the fire.

Fortunately, you can break out of aviophobia.

Trust is crucial, and you can always get some tips from our resident expert, Kent Wien.

[Via CNN]

FAA releases US Airways flight 1549 ATC transcripts

Sorry if our constant coverage of the US Air flight 1549 crash is beginning to bore you – but it isn’t often that a plane ditches in a river, and everyone is able to walk away.

The news today comes courtesy of the FAA, who just released the air traffic control transcripts of the actual event.

The audio is pretty boring, so I cut out the most interesting part where the controller is told by the pilot that he’s going to ditch in the Hudson river (as you can see in the image above).

If you really want to hear the conversation, you’ll find the MP3 file here, or a written transcript here.

“Hero on the Hudson”: Play it on Gadling!

Maybe it’s too soon for this, but there’s already a popular online game inspired by the recent emergency landing on the Hudson River. “Hero on the Hudson” isn’t terribly sophisticated, but it gets the point across. You are in the left seat, acting as US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Your plane is headed toward the Hudson River, and you need to take action.

This free game was put together by Orb Games Ltd. The company, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine, has been around since 2006 and is responsible for such popular (and viral) titles as “Duke Nukem Endangered Species,” “Star Wars Galaxies” and “Vivisector: Beast Inside.” Orb also developed games for Nintendo DS and Sony’s Playstation and PSP consoles.

According to company CEO Andriy Sharanevych, the “Hero on the Hudson” was created around a week and a half ago, only days after Sully brought his bird down west of Manhattan. Sharanevych claims that the miracle of the event is what prompted the game’s development: “We just wanted people to understand and not to forget that this is not for granted, so we tried to make a game that would remind everyone about this miraculous event.”

I know I’m a cynic, and I do wonder if this is just convenient admiration to mask just a bit of opportunism (which I really don’t fault anyway). Apparently, I’m not alone.

Find out what users think after the jump, and take your own shot at the landing!Sharanevych has received mixed feedback from users, many of whom have considered the game “heartless.” But, the CEO defends himself with the scripted monologue, “[W]e deliberately made it very simple to make a successful landing in the game, as this is the game about the miracle and not a tragedy. You can play a role of a pilot, who will save hundreds of lives behind him and bring joy, happiness and hope to millions of people.”

Stunt or salute, it’s definitely brought home results. “Hero on the Hudson was played more than 1.5 million times in the first week it was available. And, more traffic is expected.

Read the entire interview with Sharanevych here.

View our ongoing coverage of Flight 1549.

Ready to play? Click and hold with your mouse, then move it around to try to swing the plane into a safer landing position.

Play Games at AddictingGames

Sharks circling Hudson landing

When US Airways ponied up $5,000 a passenger for the passengers of Flight 1549, most seemed skeptical. Commenter Bill opined, “I’m guessing those $5000 checks won’t stop any lawsuits.” A recent story in USA Today confirms this view. And, of course, lawyers have been contacted.

Joe Hart wants his bloody nose and bruises “made whole.” The salesman from Charlotte also says it’s too soon to know what emotional distress he has endured. So, while a hero is lauded, Hart is telegraphing his intentions.

According to US Airways, the $5,000 checks were for “immediate needs” that passengers may have and were not intended to mitigate the risk of litigation. Some say this isn’t enough. Gail Dunham, executive director of the National Air Disaster & Alliance Foundation, a safety advocate, remarks, “We’re grateful everyone survived, and the captain on the plane was so marvelous.” She notes, however, that passengers have lost important personal effects, such as briefcases, cell phones, BlackBerrys and business documents.

Oh, and they “and went through a terrific ordeal.”

The fact that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may need the recovered personal items for several weeks or more in order to determine their weights does not seem to be a priority for Dunham. Safety, I guess, should take a back seat to remuneration.Several passengers, including Hart, claim that they had more than $5,000 in personal items on the plane. The fact that (a) the check is intended to be a stopgap measure and (b) that it is not intended to stem lawsuits does not seem to have entered into Hart’s thinking (or Dunham’s). Before passengers can be compensated fully, US Airways needs to know what’s been lost … which can’t happen until the NTSB has finished its safety-related exercise.

For some, future lives aren’t as important as adjusting payouts in excess of $5,000.

Even with the entire process beholden to the NTSB’s review, US Airways Vice President Jim Olson has noted that passengers are being contacted by an insurance claims specialist and that they will be reimbursed as necessary above the $5,000 threshold. Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are only liable for up to $3,300 per passenger for lost or damaged checked bags (on domestic flights). They tend to disclaim liability for carry-ons unless someone on the flight crew has a hand in stowing the bag.

Interestingly, anybody who has not suffered a financial loss of less than $5,000 probably won’t be asked for a refund. I love to pick on the airlines, but this seems downright reasonable!

Several passengers have reached out to Kreindler & Kreindler, a plaintiff firm that specializes in crashes. Attorneys from the firm are looking into the injuries and emotional distress sustained by passengers.

[Via USA Today, photo by jkrums via twitpic]