On the 10th anniversary of US Airways Flight 1549’s miraculous landing on the Hudson River, Smithsonian Channel revisits the event to explore the impact of bird strikes in aviation accidents around the world. Featuring first-person accounts from survivors and flight safety experts working to reduce collisions, as well as leading scientists in the field of ornithology and wildlife management, BIRD VS. PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON examines commercial and military air accidents, investigates the roles different bird species play in these events and highlights groundbreaking work to prevent future occurrences. BIRD VS. PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON premieres Tuesday, January 15 at 9 p.m. on Smithsonian Channel.
While the miracle on the Hudson made headlines around the world and created a national hero in US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger, bird strikes are actually an everyday reality in skies across the country. Unbeknownst to much of the nation, a unique coalition of biologists and flight safety experts closely studies bird movements around airports and in-flight paths, sharing knowledge and technology to mitigate threats. In addition, the U.S. Military operates its own dedicated program, Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Hazard, or BASH, to address the conflict between military aircraft and bird species since military flights account for nearly a third of all reported bird strike incidents in the United States.
When a strike does occur, Carla Dove, a forensic ornithologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, steps in. Dr. Dove is one of the foremost authorities in this specialized field of ornithology and, together with her team, identifies birds involved in more than 10,000 strikes annually. BIRD VS. PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON zeroes in on Dove and her team’s work to identify the species involved in such accidents and study their migration behaviors in hopes to better inform aviation groups and organizations around the world. The end goal, Dove says, is to “fight this for birds and for mankind.”
BIRD VS. PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON is executive produced by Ash Potterton for Arrow Media. Linda Goldman and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel. The program is produced by Arrow International Media for Smithsonian Networks.