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.

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