how are bird strikes prevented

Avoid the dangers of bird strikes on planes with our comprehensive guide on mitigation strategies and how the aviation industry is addressing this challenge.

Responsibility from the ground

Airports have a significant role in preventing potential strikes. For example, the authorities at London Heathrow invest in research to determine what species of birds are native to the area and how they react to various deterrents.

The airport uses certain methods to manage the habitat. For instance, it maintains the airfield’s grass at a height of six to eight inches to deter birds from taking up residence there. In order to preserve the natural life, site officials have also put measures in place to manage biodiversity in the surrounding areas.

Additionally, airports frequently blast distress calls over speakers, which can scare off birds. They also cover open waters so animals arent attracted. It is necessary to consider additional elements of the food chain, such as mechanisms for managing insect populations. Aviation associations collaborate closely with wildlife organizations to promote the relocation of animals.

Some airports also go for a hardline approach. They may try to capture and kill birds if required.

Photo: Getty s

Plenty to consider

More than two thirds of strikes in North America and Europe occur at night. Thirty-three percent of these incidents happened during approach, thirty-six percent occurred during takeoff, and twenty-five percent occurred during landing.

These incidents arent only dangerous to the animals being hit. In certain cases, the impact can have a major negative impact on operations and cause serious harm. Since 1988, over 290 people have lost their lives due to wildlife strikes. Moreover, it can be a costly situation to deal with. For example, these problems have cost the US civil aviation sector up to $650 million annually.

Because there are so many variables at play, airports, airlines, and crew members must make sure the appropriate safeguards are in place to lower risk.

how are bird strikes prevented

Captain Chris, a senior Airbus A350 training captain, recently spoke with Simple Flying about how pilots handle strikes. He emphasized that efforts are being made to try and stop them from occurring. However, depending on the circumstances, they are handled differently if one should occur.

“Again, it all depends on the size of the bird and the aircraft. Bird strikes are not common.” Chris stated to Simple Flying that “a goose is going to cause more damage than a sparrow.”

“A few years ago, I struck a big seagull near Glasgow, and it caused a fist-sized hole in the wing’s leading edge. It would be far worse if the same bird struck a smaller aircraft. Most airports have bird scaring equipment to avoid these encounters. “.

In Chris’s case, engineers in the cabin with his team during flight training in Glasgow saw the strike. After reporting to the tower to check the runway for debris, the crew continued to train despite being unable to see any damage from the inside of the aircraft. Had there been any obvious damage or issues with the systems, they would have landed right away. Nonetheless, the team submitted a report after landing.

Just like with birds, land animals can also disrupt operations. Naturally, the magnitude of the impact determines how severe it is.

“Size matters. Secure boundary fences surround every international airport to keep animals out of the field, especially the runway,” Chris continued.

“On one occasion, the ground crew at New York JFK cleared about forty large turtles off runway 04L so we could depart, and I had to wait for fifteen minutes.” “.

how are bird strikes prevented

Regulations and Reporting Procedures: Ensuring Aviation Safety Amid Bird Strikes

how are bird strikes prevented

In order to protect the safety and wellbeing of passengers, crew, and aircraft, the aviation industry is heavily regulated. Various international and national regulatory bodies have established standards and guidelines for bird strike management in order to address the challenges presented by these incidents. These rules and reporting guidelines are essential for improving aviation safety and lowering the danger of bird strikes.

An important regulatory organization that offers guidelines on managing and preventing bird strikes is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). They advise establishing bird hazard management programs, keeping an eye on and controlling wildlife populations near airports, and notifying the proper authorities of any bird strikes. Furthermore, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States have created their own bird strike regulations, highlighting the necessity of a proactive approach to bird strike prevention.

To maintain the highest standard of safety, airline operators and airport authorities are required to abide by these regulations. This entails creating and putting into practice programs to manage bird hazards, keeping a close eye on bird populations and activities near airports, and implementing practical mitigation techniques like habitat management, bird deterrents, and air traffic control protocols.

Reporting bird strikes is another crucial aspect of these regulations. Airlines and airport operators are required to report bird strike incidents or a wildlife strike report to the relevant authorities, such as the FAA’s Wildlife Strike Database or the ICAO Bird Strike Information System (IBIS). These databases collect essential data on bird strike incidents, helping regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders analyze trends, identify high-risk areas, and develop effective prevention strategies.


What are the methods of bird avoidance?

Long-stemmed grasses are best suited as vegetation as small birds cannot alight there and birds of prey cannot hunt. Another method used alongside “passive deterrence” by manipulating the ecosystem is monitoring: radar and IR cameras are used to detect larger birds or flocks.

How do bird strikes not happen more often?

Most aircraft collide with birds during the takeoff and landing phase. While this isn’t good news, it minimizes the risk a little, as these flight phases are when the aircraft is at its slowest, meaning there is less force when a strike occurs. Only 3% of bird strikes occur in the USA during the en-route phase.

What is the bird strike prevention device?

Bird Strike Prevention Radar System The Radar System includes a high-resolution, X-band transceiver with 8′ array antenna that can be operated in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. An optional ground-tracking channel for surface movement, and aircraft tracking channel for aircraft movement are also available.

How do airports protect against bird strikes?

The approach aims to make the area less desirable for birds, so they vacate and find nesting elsewhere. To do this, airports remove food sources, cover nearby water sources like ponds with netting (so birds can’t land), and keep grass as short as possible so birds can’t shelter within it.