AAWHG Workshop
23rd and 24th July 2019
Presentations
Galah by Mark Rayner | BirdLife Australia
Masked Lapwing by John Barkla | BirdLife Australia
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Australian Aviation Wildlife Hazard Group

Wildlife strike and aviation

Aircraft and wildlife, especially birds, have been coming into contact with one another since the beginning of aviation. The first reported bird strike occurred in 1905, when the Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright struck a bird over an Ohio cornfield.

Bird strikes happen every day, and occur most commonly at airports (90 per cent according to ICAO), when aircraft are landing, or taking off. The majority happen at low altitudes: 50–60 per cent of bird strikes occur at zero to 50 feet, and 30 per cent between 50–500 feet.

Bird strikes worldwide have accounted for 262 human fatalities since 1988 and destroyed 250 aircraft.  Bird strikes cause over $1.2 billion in aircraft damage annually.

Wildlife strike statistics

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Engine
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Windshield
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Nose
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Wing
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Fuselage

Copyright © Boeing

The risks associated with wildlife strikes have increased as modern jet aircraft and airline operations evolve:

  • Engine noise levels have decreased
  • Engine fan blades are often more vulnerable than propellers to wildlife strike damage
  • Increased speeds result in greater impact forces
  • Multiple-engine damage from the ingestion of flocks of birds is of particular concern as the fleet of two-engine passenger aircraft increases around the world
  • As turnaround times decrease and scheduling is finetuned, engineering delay costs increase
  • The number of aircraft movements is increasing—the Sydney-Melbourne route, for example is the third busiest city pair in the world.

25 years of bird strikes

Date: Jan 1995
Location: Le Bourget, France
Aircraft: Falcon 20
Species: Lapwings
Result:
Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Sep 1995
Location: Elmendorf, USA
Aircraft: E3A AWACS
Species: Canada Geese
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Jul 1996
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Aircraft: C-130
Species: Starlings
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Jul 1996
Location: Aktion, Greece
Aircraft: E3A AWACS
Species: Starlings
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Jun 2003
Location: Milan, Italy
Aircraft: Lear 45
Species: Pigeons
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Jul 2007
Location: Moscow, Russia
Aircraft: Antonov 12
Species: Unknown
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rome, Italy
Aircraft: B737 800
Species: Starling
Result: Aircraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: Jan 2009
Location: New York, USA
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Species: Canada Goose
Result: Aicraft destroyed

0
Dead

Date: April 2012
Location: Australian airport (after take-off)
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Species: Australian White Ibis 
Result: Ibis ingested, GE engine fan blades damaged

0
Dead

Date: July 2017
Location: Gold Coast Airport (after take-off)
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Species: Masked lapwing/s 
Result: Number 2 engine failure

0
Dead

Date: August 2019
Location: Near Zhukovsky Airport, Moscow (after take-off)
Aircraft: Airbus A321, with 233 onboard
Species: Gulls
Result: Engines lost power, forced landing

0
Dead