Sunday, July 25, 2010

Available equipment for bird avoidance

Since 2005 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has required bird strikes to be reported and a database established in an effort to determine migratory patterns. This will aid in flight planning when flying into airports during certain times of the year. The U.S. Air Force uses a program called Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH). The program managers maintain one of the largest bird strike databases available with links to the FAA, USDA, Smithsonian Natural History, Bird Strike USA, and Bird Strike Canada. Also available on the Air Forces' website is Avian Hazard Advisory System (AHAS) which uses NEXRAD radar to track bird movements close to the ground in and around airports. The FAA has maintained a bird strike database available to all aviators since 1990. Listed below are links to some of the available bird strike databases.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wildlife Strikes

There is a constant wildlife threat to aircraft as you can see from the photos above. In and around airfields there exist all different kinds of wildlife and their habitats. Most people associate wildlife strikes with birds. This is the majority of wildlife strikes with aircraft but not the only type. Aircraft have collided with such animals as deer, coyote, and rabbits. In the past few decades there has been an increase in bird populations paralleled with an increase in people traveling by air. Bird populations have increased significantly and in some cases, such as the turkey, by as much as 12 percent. The deer population has increased from approximately 350,000 in 1900 to over 30 million today. In 1980 approximately 350 million flew on airlines around the globe compared to 750 million in 2008. This number is going to continue to rise. Annually there are around 28 million aircraft movements globally and that number is predicted to increase at a rate of 1.3 percent culminating in 35 million aircraft movements by 2025. These factors alone increase the probability of aircraft wildlife strikes. Couple this with the new NextGen National Airspace System which will increase airspace capacity and only one conclusion can be drawn. More aircraft flying means increased risk of wildlife strikes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bird strikes

Here is a website to view a good animation of the mishap.
Birdstrikes can happen anywhere at any time. Flight 1549 proved this truth. If you do not recognize that flight number, it has become known as the "Miracle on the Hudson". Captain Sullenberger performed a flawless water landing when his engines were catastrophically diabled after flying through a flock of geese. It was a normal day and a normal flight. It was just pure luck Captain Sullenberger had the river to land in. Ingestion of the birds into the engines made them completely inoperable. The hazards birds present are very real. Airport managers are utilizing numerous abatement techniques at their disposal to try and reduce the possibility of bird strikes. These techniques include such things as bioacoustics, pyrotechnics, propane cannons, vegetation management around the airfield and lethal means.