Cherry Capital Airport staff know the dangers birds can pose to aircraft. Just last May, a loon struck an incoming plane 10 miles out and crashed through into the cockpit . The pilot, flying at about 3,500 feet, managed to land safety at Traverse City airport, but the plane was left severely damaged, said Dan Sal, the airport’s operations director. Birds of all sorts congregate around the runway at Cherry Capital, as they do at other airports. In the winter, the issue is with snowy owls. The summer brings gulls, loons, ducks and geese. Airport staff use sirens, pyrotechnics and more to keep the birds away and prevent trouble for planes flying in and out.
But late last year, they added a secret weapon named Piper. The 6-year-old border collie may be their best chance at keeping their runways bird-free. Click here for the rest of the story.