News and Events
World Birdstrike Association 2021 virtual conference
The biennial WBA conference was held on 13 and 14 January 2021, this year in virtual mode due to the well-known Covid pandemic.
The written text of the presentation by Valter Battistoni, entitled "ATC & WHM: WHAT'S NEW" is available here.
The presentation highlights the significant steps forward that ICAO, in the opinion of the author, has made regarding the role of air traffic control in the prevention of wildlife strikes, futher to the publication of the new edition of Doc 9137 Part 3.
Catapults employed to avert bird strike disasters
This is the solution adopted by Arusha airport in Tanzania. The airport manager recently stated that, though bird strikes were uncommon, it was still imperative to take precautionary measures that could prevent such catastrophes from happening.
It is not clear what will be shot nor the species of birds that mostly affect the airport.
Indian Air Force will use dogs at the Agra base
They are specimens of an Indian dog breed called Mudhol, which is defined as “agile and intelligent”, and will be used to chase birds and other animals from operational areas. Border Collie dogs are already used in many airports. Four puppies were handed over to the airbase as part of a pilot project that sees the Agra base as the first experimental site. The goal is to drive away birds that mostly live on the ground, such as lapwings and larks. If the experiment will be successful it will be extended to other bases.
Mammals strikes with aircraft have increased by up to 68
In a recentanalysis experts have found that mammals strikes with aircraft have been increasing by up to 68 percent annually. The analysis considered the annual reports from 47 countries. The species involved ranged from bats to deer, coyotes etc… and include also reptils.
Pakistan to install bird repellant system
The Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority has decided to install acoustic deterrent systems in some airports following the increase in bird strikes. According to the CAA officials, the system will be installed at the main and secondary runways of Jinnah International Airport, Karachi and Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore.
Relevant occurrences of the quarter January – March 2021
- 3 January 2021 – Istanbul
Turkish Airlines B777, durning the initial climb the aircraft flew through a flock of birds and received multiple bird strikes including the left hand pitot tube. The aircraft landed back about 45 minutes after take-off. The multiple bird strike caused a dent to the radome and to the left pitot tube.
(Photo: ha effort melcey taken from Avherald.com)
- 3 January 2021 – Cancun (Mexico)
Aeromexico B787, rejected takeoff at low speed (about 60 knots) due to the failure of the left engine further to a bird ingestion; the engine emittede a muffled bang and a streak of flames.
(The bird ingestion; photo taken from https://www.riviera-maya-news.com)
- 3 January 2021 – Amsterdam
EAT Leipzig A300, at rotation the left hand engine emitted a bang and a streak of flames further to a bird ingestion. The crew decided to continue the flight to destination (Leipzig). In the photo is visible another bird that impacted the upper part of the right engine cowling and fell on the runway.
(Over the right engine is visible the bird that impacted on the engine cowling; photo PilotSanderHD taken from YouTube)
- 7 January 2021 – Sao Paulo (Guarulhos)
LATAM Brasil A320, during the acceleration for takeoff the aircraft hit a capybara on the runway. The crew continued takeoff then landed back to Sao Paulo about 65 minutes after departure. The runway was closed for about an hour for cleaning up. The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest living rodent in the world and typically weighs between 35 and 66 kg, top weights 91 kg. Minor damages to the aircraft are reported.
(A capybara; photo taken from imieianimali.it)
- 13 January 2021 – Harare
SA Airlink ERJ170, bird strike during the initial climb; landed back 35’ after departure.
- 13 January 2021 – Houston (TX)
Spirit Airlines A320, during the take-off run struck a coyote on the runway. The crew landed back about 35 minutes after departure. The aircraft received unknown damage.
- 16 January 2021 – Frankfurt
Lufthansa A320, rejected take-off at low speed (70 kts.) further to a bird ingestion into the right engine.
- 16 January 2021 – Baltimore (MD)
Southwest B737, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike; landed back 40’ after take-off. Minor damage.
- 23 January 2021 – Patna (India)
Vistara A320, at touchdown struck a bird; minor damage to an engine.
- 23 January 2021 – Sarasota (FL)
Delta A321, bird strike on approach; minor damage.
- 24 January 2021 – Tampa (FL)
Delta A319, multiple bird strike during take-off with bird ingestion into the left engine causing strong vibrations. Immediate return about 15’ after departure. The aircraft needed to be replaced.
- 25 January 2021 – Brasilia
LATAM Brasil A320, in the initial climb suffered a bird strike that caused unreliable airspeed and multiple system faults. The aircraft landed back 45’ after departure.
- 9 February 2021 – Rome (Fiumicino)
Alitalia A319, rejected take off at high speed (110 kts) further to a bird strike during the takeoff run.
- 11 February 2021 – Dunedin (N. Zealand)
Air New Zealand A320, a bird strike on landing caused delay to a the subsequent flight; the aircraft with destination Auckland then was forced to divert to Christchurch for unknown reasons and had to be replaced.
- 12 February 2021 – Johannesburg
KLM B777, rejected take off due to a multiple bird ingestion into one engine.
- 24 February 2021 – Islamabad
AirSial A320, during the approach struck a bird that punctured a flap at the right wing section. The aircraft was unable to continue service. The next sectors had to be cancelled.
(Photo taken from Arynews.tv)
- 27 February 2021 – Little Rock (AK)
Southwest B737, on approach struck a bird that left a dent in the leading edge of the nose cone.
- 28 February 2021 – Amsterdam
KLM B777, during the initial climb the aircraft received a bird strike(s) onto the left hand engine. In the absence of abnormal indications the crew initially continued the flight. A couple of hours later however the crew decided to return to Amsterdam. https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/klm-flight-nowhere-bird-strike-amsterdam-b1809248.html
(The damaged engine; photo Menno Swart taken from Avherald.com)
- 4 March 2021 – Sao Luiz (Brazil)
Gol B737, during the initial climb the left engine ingested two birds and began to severely vibrate. The crew shut the engine down and decided to land back. Due to the bad weather the aircraft landed about 40 minutes after departure. Minor damage reported.
- 9 March 2021 – Norfolk (VA)
American Airlines A320, after take off at 300 ft. struck a bird. After a first decision to continue the flight, the crew landed back 25’ after departure.
- 9 March 2021 – Chicago (IL)
American Airlines A319, after take-off the left engine ingested a Canada Goose that caused high vibrations; the crew advised that the engine was operating nearly normal, but not normal enough to continue the flight. The aircraft landed back about 15 minutes after departure.
- 16 March 2021 – Agadir
National Cargo B747, bird strike on approach; the aircraft was unable to continue its schedule; several tons of spare parts needed to be flown in for repairs.
- 17 March 2021 – Karachi
PIA A320, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird. The crew decided to land back 9’ after take off.
- 20 March 2021 – Dharamsala (India)
Air India Express ATR72, on approach about 20nm before touchdown a large bird, probably a vulture, impacted the aircraft at the right hand wing root. The aircraft received substantial damage.
(Photo taken from Avherald.com)
- 21 March 2021 -Kano (Nigeria)
Aero Contractors B737, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike on one engine; the crew decided to return and landed back 16’ after take-off.
- 21 March 2021 – Little Rock (AR)
CommutAir ERJ145, on approach multiple birds collided with the aircraft. The aircraft was unable to continue its schedule due to a dent on the nose cone and rupturing on the fuselage.
- 23 March 2021 – Fort Lauderdale (FL)
JetBlue A321, during the initial climb the crew reported they had a bird strike with ingestion into the left engine, that was reduced to idle power, and needed to return as soon as possible. While on final the crew reported a lot of birds at their right side at about 700 feet.
- 30 March 2021 – Salt Lake City (UT)
Delta B757, during the initial climb the left hand engine ingested at least one bird. The crew decided to return and landed back about 15 minutes after departure. The NBA team of Utah Jazz was on board of the aircraft.
The left engine; photo Marc Sternfield taken from Avherald.com)
(Nose cone damage; photo Marc Sternfield taken from Avherald.com)
- 30 March 2021 – Atlantic City (NJ)
Spirit Airlines A320, during the initial climb the crew advised ATC they did have damage to outboard right leading edge slat due to a bird strike and needed to return; the aircraft landed back about 25 minutes after departure.
The role of air traffic control in the prevention of wildlife strikes at airports
Air traffic control plays a fundamental role in accident prevention within a generally clear and detailed regulatory framework. However, some air navigation service providers have been involved in legal proceedings following birdstrike events; at least in one case the Control Tower has been sentenced by a Court to refund part of the damage following an assignment of liability.
With this paper
Valter Battistoni aims to provide an analysis of the ICAO regulation on this matter, not just to ascertain possible liabilities of air traffic control in birdstrike events, but rather to assess whether and how the aforementioned regulation takes into account the role of ATC in preventive actions for safety purposes. It will also seek to understand whether the ICAO regulation is applied in a uniform way in the technical manuals of different countries, or if dissimilar interpretations exist. This is also in consideration of the introduction in several airports of new remote sensing instruments, avian radars, which will also pose additional problems of management and responsibility.