Birds causing issues for pilots at Sanford Airport

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SANFORD, Fla. - Every year, birds caused issues for dozens of planes at the Sanford International Airport, so officials are planning to bring in artificial turf in an effort to alleviate the issue.

A few years ago, Channel 9 reported on Thompson Airways jet that had to make an emergency landing after a bird flew into an engine.

"Sure, it's always in your mind," said former pilot Dave Brown. "I mean, rule one when I was learning how to fly is don't try to avoid them, they will avoid you."

In 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration spent more than $100,000 on air cannons to scare away the birds, but officials now want to go for a quieter approach.

The artificial turf won't hold water or food, which is what the birds are often looking for, so the theory is the birds won't hang around it.

But the turf will serve two purposes, the other keeping gopher tortoises away.

The fake grass will only be on 3 acres on the north side of the airport, but it will cost between $500,000 and $1 million.

Airport leaders are planning to meet about the project in February and put down the artificial turf afterward.