The Washington Times - July 7, 2008, 08:16PM



By Jeffrey Denning
In 1905 Orville Wright hit a bird in mid-flight. That was the first known report of a plane hitting a bird –– or was it?

When Northwest Airlines flight 478 landed today after having radar problems, it was reported that pilots and maintenance workers were surprised to see such a gigantic dent in the nose of the airplane. What in the world caused that dent? 

A flying pterodactyl maybe?

Is it possible that this aircraft and its passengers sufferred the same fate as seen in The Odyssey of Flight 33 from the 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone? Paleontologists would be excited and thrilled. Not sure how PETA would feel though.

Unfortunately for you Twilight Zone fans, the chances are slim the dent was caused by a flying dinosaur (unless you consider that birds are, in essence, the progenitors of their winged ancestors), but you can relive that episode here.

Perhaps a bird dented the aircraft nose and subsequently damaged the radar, but that would have had to be a really BIG bird. Who knows? Maybe the dent was caused by a miniature alien flying saucer (yes, that’s another TZ episode).

Seriously though, experts estimate that 7,000 to 8,000 birds will strike airplanes this year. Here are some of the more popular bird strike videos available online here, here, and here.
Speaking of animals and airplanes-but not the Hollywood film involving snakes and planes-according to this shocking report, dead mice have been seen in oxygen masks. Imagine having the oxygen mask fall down above your head only to discover a pesky critter has already claimed it! I can’t imagine that vermin (a.k.a. rodent), especially uncooked, tastes anything like venison and would hope no one would get a mouthful of that. Yuk!
According to this article, mice were found on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Beijing.

But that’s nothing compared to this shocking video in which a whistle-blower in Kansas City said one American Airline flight was estimated to be filled with 900 to 1,000 rodents.

And this report of a Delta flight being delayed because of rodents on board. These mice and rats chew through wires and can cause extensive damage to flight control systems.

It is suggested that there’s evidence of some 20 plane crashes in recent years that were caused, at least in part, by rodents.

So forget about the birds. Beware of the prehistoric creatures that might be scurrying under your seat instead.