Bird Strikes on the Rise: what pilots and FBOs can do


Bird strikes with birds and other wild animals have been a problem since the first flights. Are bird strikes and other wild species more often produced? If so, why and what can the pilots and the FBO do about it?

500 million dollars per year

A bird strike is when a bird, or more likely a bird flock, collides with an airplane, usually during an approach or exit. Birds are not the only cause of accidents, although Canadian geese are often the culprits due to their size and quantity. Deer, coyotes and other animals that go to the clues are also a problem in getting out of the airspace.

Bird strike is a serious problem that costs the US civil aviation industry at least $ 500 million annually due to damage to aircraft and more than 500,000 hours of aircraft, according to the federal Administration of aviation

The FAA, along with the United States Department of Agriculture, compiled all the wildlife strikes on civilian aircraft and foreign carriers from the United States between January 1990 and December 2011. The FAA and the USDA van There were 119,862 bird strike reports from 1,659 US airports and 534 foreign airports. Only in 2011, USDA and FAA counted 10,044 strikes, but because many bird strikes and wildlife are not reported, they estimate that this figure only accounts for about 39% of real strikes.

In addition to the financial costs and mechanical damage, bird strikes and wildlife have also caused accidents, planes and deaths to pilots and passengers, highlighting the seriousness of a growing problem.

First and famous bird hits

The first known bird attack was recorded on September 7, 1905 by Orville Wright during a flight over a cornfield near Dayton, Ohio. Calbraith Rodgers, the first driver to fly through the continental US, was the first to die as a result of a bird's eye. On April 3, 1912, the Rodgers plane hit a seagull and landed it against Long Beach, California surfing. Rodgers stuck under the shipwreck and drowned.

One of the most famous bird attacks occurred a few years ago. On January 15, 2009, Captain Sullenberger departed from LaGuardia Airport for the Charlotte / Douglas International Airport to Flight 1549 of the United States of Aeromexico. Approximately six minutes after takeoff, a group of Canadian geese pulled the two engines into the Airbus 320-214. Known as the "Miracle on Hudson," Captain Sullenberger, co-driver Jeff Skiles and flight attendants landed the plane safely on the Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew.

Why bird fluctuations have increased?

The bird strike has increased exponentially over the years due to several factors. One of the reasons is the evolution of jet planes: planes are faster and quieter than their piston propelled ancestors.

A larger number of birds due to successful conservation efforts can also be a factor that contributes to the biggest strike. More animals and more planes are equal to the probability of more collisions. Protected lands are often found in rural areas near airports, providing food and shelter for large populations of wildlife: deer, cayman, coyote, geese, cranes, gulls, gars, pelicans, Roosters and raptors probably live around airports. At the same time, many species have become victims of urban expansion, forced to move to urban and suburban areas where there is more air traffic.

Bird strike and wildlife resource

What can pilots, aviation professionals, airports and FBO do about bird strikes and wildlife? We can not control the increase of populations or traffic of airplanes, but we can be aware and knowledges about the problem, to know the facts and to follow standard operating procedures to reduce the risk of attacks of birds and fauna.

Boeing Article "Bird Watch Event Prevention Strategies"