It’s that time of the year—preparations are under way for the 2018 North American Bird Strike Conference to be held in Baltimore, Maryland: August 21 – 23
Birds Strikes are major safety risks
Information gained is invaluable for driving preventative
Bird Strike Awareness is Important
A recent run of articles on Wildlife Hazard Mitigation, particularly Bird Strikes, was a catalyst for reviewing that subject. [The Journal has visited this subject many times before, e.g. ACRP’s reports saves Wildlife and adds to Airport Safety, Dayton Airport experiments with Natural Barriers to Wildlife: Great Aviation Safety Gain?]. In particular, the need and value of reporting bird strikes were highlighted:
Bird and other wildlife strikes to aircraft are estimated to cause over $900 million in damage to U.S. civil and military aviation annually. Furthermore, these strikes put the lives of aircraft crew members and their passengers at risk: over 250 people have been killed worldwide as a result of wildlife strikes since 1988.
As with much of aviation, information, the accurate, timely collection thereof, is an emphasis. Thus, the posters, featured in the cover graphic were created by the Bird Strike Committee and the FAA. More than 30,000 posters have been distributed to general aviation airports, aviation schools, other organizations and associations, and Part 139 certificated airports. According to new data and the number of strikes reported at GA airports, the outreach and posters have been successful.
Others have contributed to the message to all segments of aviation that reporting is essential to understanding the problem, researching the wildlife (species, time of day, location, etc.):
[Much of this information was gleaned from a very useful PPT by John R. Weller, FAA.}
The guidance on reporting is found at wildlife.faa.gov and is most accommodating—responses may be sent by paper or electronic forms- including the QR Code on some of the posters:
All of that data is included in the FAA Wildlife data base and then provide a basis for research to ways in which these events can be avoided in the future. The output leads to a number of methodologies to refude the hazards:
- Habitat Management (habitat modifications are undertaken to make this habitat less desirable to the problem species),
- Detection Methods (provide airport personnel with a set of tools to effectively detect wildlife in and around the airport environment 24 hours a day),
- Wildlife Control technologies (a set of passive and active methods to manage wildlife at airports by means of habitat modification, species deterrence and techniques for rapid dispersal of hazardous species when critical risks are encountered)
- Systems Integration (to understand and to predict the potential for wildlife strikes at the airport level, it is necessary to process information about wildlife hazards using information collected at the regional and national level (such as migratory paths)
As SMS is introduced for Airports, the associated data rich discipline should help.
This initiative is broadly based, witness the existence of the Bird Strike Committee, whose meeting is one of the precipitants for this review. The BSC is managed by a steering composed of the following industry/ government representative organizations, including:
- Federal Aviation Administration
- S. Department of Agriculture
- Department of Defense
- S. Airports
- Private Sector Services
- Aerospace Industry
The Committee was formed in 1991 as a forum to facilitate the exchange of information, promote the collection and analysis of accurate wildlife strike data, promote the development of new technologies for reducing wildlife hazards, promote professionalism in wildlife management programs on airports through training and advocacy of high standards of conduct for airport biologist and bird patrol personnel, and be a liaison to similar organizations in other countries. One of its functions is to recognize an outstanding contributor to its mission by naming a recipient of the James Forbes Lifetime Achievement Awards, one of who is a JJ friend John Goglia.
Its annual meeting will be in Baltimore next month. The scale of its impact must be large.
On a more micro level is the success of the recognition of the Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field’s efforts to deter wildlife from interfering with airport operations. The Airport Wildlife Award by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The award recognizes proactive measures taken by airports to keep wildlife from negatively impacting operations. In Yakima, those efforts started in 2015 and include implementing a wildlife tracking system at the airport, maintaining landscaping that doesn’t attract wildlife and ensuring garbage containers are secure.
Much of what is done by aviation safety professionals is being aware CONSTANTLY of the risks associated with flight. Wildlife Hazard Management is one element of that 3600 vigilance and reporting bird strikes is vital to reducing this risk.
Share this article: