The Federal Aviation Administration says hundreds of airplanes collided with birds at Nevada airports between 1990 and 2008, but, thankfully, few of the incidents resulted in substantial damage to aircraft.
Although McCarran International Airport visitor traffic is down in Las Vegas, it led the nation with 244 bird strikes, five of those incidents resulting in substantial aircraft damage.
Following the Las Vegas record, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport followed with 176 strikes, four involving substantial damage.
Elko Municipal Airport reported eight strikes, one involving substantial damage.
The reports follow January’s ditching in the Hudson River in New York of a US Airways jet after being struck by a flock of geese after takeoff.
Our economy is tanking, but don’t tell that to the thousands of tourists that daily fly in helicopters to get a birdseye view of the majestic Grand Canyon. An average of 99 helicopters fly out daily from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, just six fewer than the 2005 peak. And that doesn’t include the additional 3,500 customers that are planned to fly daily from the new Boulder City Aerocenter [Las Vegas Backstage Access April 2 article].
The first phase of the proposed 229-acre Sloan heliport, costing an estimated $115 million and projected for a mid-2011 completion, will provide the home for 80 to 110 helipads.
That will make the heliport the biggest on the planet, say Federal Aviation Administration officials.
The heliport will also clear McCarran airport space for jetliners to bring much-needed tourists to boost the Las Vegas Valley’s economy, while safely moving helicopters away from crowded city neighborhoods.
The FAA has recently signed off on the environmental assessment that now paves the way for the Bureau of Land Management to transfer the Sloan heliport property to Clark County.
Heliport project groundbreaking is planned for early 2010.
Maverick Helicopters is planned to be the first tenant to lease heliport space, which may approved as early as April 7 when the Clark County commissioners meet to discuss the matter. Two more tour operators could join Maverick in occupying the heliport.