Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why are the turkeys crossing the runway in Gatineau?

Small aircraft at the Gatineau Airport have hit one wild turkey and come within a drumstick on three other occasions in less than two weeks.

There’s been no damage to turkeys (as far as anyone can tell) or people. 

A veteran Ottawa pilot says turkeys on runways are fairly routine, and pilots who keep their eyes open shouldn’t get into trouble.

Adult male wild turkeys can weigh up to 10 or 11 kilograms, females about half that.

Transport Canada keeps reports on occurrences at airports, and their website, called CADORS, tells of some ruffled feathers at Gatineau airport, but no harm done.

- On Tuesday, a Piper PA-34-200T belonging to Ottawa Aviation Services, arriving from Ottawa, had to call off its landing because of a group of wild turkeys on Runway 09.

- On Sunday, an airplane belonging to the Evolution Flight School “began rolling for a departure off Runway 27 when they struck a wild turkey,” Transport Canada’s report says.

The pilot didn’t take off. Someone checked the runway for a dead turkey but couldn’t find one, perhaps indicating a tough old bird.

Transport Canada put it in the books as an “abrupt maneuver” caused by wildlife.

- Two days before that (on Friday the 13th), the same flight school had another close call. This time its Cessna 172M was approaching for a landing, and “conducted a missed approach on Runway 27 due to wild turkeys crossing the runway.”

No collision that time.

- On Jan. 7, a Cessna 172M from the Ottawa Flying Club was approaching the runway when a group of turkeys appeared on the runway.

“They (the pilot) asked for a touch and go, where they touch down and take off again to practise takeoffs and landing,” said Andrew Simpson of the Ottawa Flying Club. The pilot “saw the wild turkey and said, ‘well, I’m not going to touch down because there’s a wild turkey there,’ and did an overshoot.”

“This kind of stuff happens,” he said.

“Carp (airport) is also known for wild turkeys… We keep our eyes open.”

Simpson said he hasn’t noticed any increase in wildlife on runways in recent years


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