Archive 2012

Citation from ERAU
The Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (, a private American university, in their 2013 first newsletter cited a study of Valter Battistoni (page 6), owner and manager of this website, regarding bird ingestions into more engines of the same aircraft.

The article (download here) takes in consideration a note published in this website on last December following the in-depth analysis of the latest case of multiple ingestion occurred in the Russian airport of Nalchik.

The same article also reports another topic often discussed in this website concerning the pilot behaviours after a bird ingestion (or suspected ingestion); while the majority of pilots prudentially lands as soon as possible, others, in absence of abnormal parameters, continue their flight finding out on arrival they had suffered engine damages, or even being forced to divert in emergency hours later. ERAU points out the lack of rules or guidelines for flight crews regarding the threat of bird strikes, and the need of an airline policy guidance. This lack explains why the crews sometimes engage in random.

Major occurrences of December 2012
In this month almost only routine cases are reported. The day 8 event in India deserves to be highlighted, showing that not only birds, but all wildlife may pose risks to aviation. Two cases occurred to helicopters (17 and 18), just to remind us that not only airplanes are affected by bird strikes. Finally once again a deer strike on an US runway (24).
  • 8 – Kozhikode
    Air India A321, in the initial climb the right hand engine needed to be shut down due to severe vibrations; immediate landing about 15’ later; a first engine inspection revealed fan blade damage, fur of an animal were recovered from the engine core, identified as a Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphrodites) from the remains recovered from the runway; Asian Palm Civets or Common Palm Civets weigh up to 5kg/11lbs;
  • 9 – Oakland
    Southwest Airlines B737, on departure sustained multiple bird strikes; immediate return; minor damages;
  • 9 – Sacramento
    Fed Ex MD11, a post flight inspection revealed an unknown bird strike damage to the right wing panel;
  • 13 – Curitiba
    TAM A320, bird strike at take off; immediate return and flight cancelled;
  • 13 – Bakersfield
    Skywest CRJ200, bird strike at rotation while flying through a flock of about 10 small birds; some vibrations started some time after the bird strike; immediate landing; minor damages;
  • 15 – Albany
    Southwest B737, on final struck a bird; during the landing roll smoke is seen coming from the nose wheel; substantial damages;
  • 15 – Albuquerque
    Skywest CL600, on final struck a bird with the right wing that sustained damages;
  • 17 – Kissimmee (Fl)
    Eurocopter BK117, during an ambulance flight struck a bird that shattered the windshield;
  • 18 – Tamiami (Fl)
    Eurocopter AS350, the canopy struck a bird; immediate landing;
  • 19 – Philadelphia
    Air Wisconsin CRJ200, bird strike at take-off with emergency landing 25’ later; minor damages to the radome;
  • 24 – Winchester (Va)
    Priv. Beech 300 Super King Air, on landing struck a deer;
  • 26 – Dhaka
    PIA B777, bird strike on approach with suspected engine bird ingestion; a post flight inspection revealed no damage to the aircraft;
  • 29 – Teterboro (NJ)
    Jet Aviation G1159 Gulfstream 4, on landing struck a bird damaging the windshield;
  • 30 – Krasnodar
    Aeroflot A320, on takeoff, past V1, the crew observed birds; after takeoff crossing about 500 feet a burning smell developed inside the cockpit and cabin and engine vibration indications rose; immediate return without shutting an engine down; a postflight inspection found 3 damaged blades in the left hand engine;

Dual ingestion at Nalchik – More details
On last October we released the news of a dual bird ingestion into two engines of a Russian Yak 42, that fortunately is a tri-motor. We commented that event miscalculating and saying it was the fifth case of dual bird ingestion in the last two years. Modern resistant engines, their certification requirements and, in this case their number, make these occurrences somehow easier to handle, but we must not forget that they are always potentially catastrophic. Thanks to our Russian colleagues from AOG (Aviation Ornithology Group) we can now provide more details about that incident.

On 12 October 2012 at 10:30 (local time) a Grozny Avia Yak 42 (RA- 42379) took off from Nalchik airport with destination Moscow-Vnukovo. Nalchik is the capital town of Kabardino-Balkar Republic, in the Caucasus. Its airport has a 2200 mt. long runway.

The Yak 42 is a tri-motor passenger jet with a maximum take-off weight of 54 tonne; it has a standard arrangement for 120 passengers with a maximum range of 3.800 km. It made its first flight in 1975. 38 passengers and 7 crew member were actually on board.

Immediately after the rotation, at a height of 5-10 meters, the aircraft flew through a flock of birds, identified as pigeons since five carcasses were found on the runway. At 10:32, at an altitude of 50 mt., there was a signal of "dangerous vibrations in the left engine" on the instrument panel. The crew reduced the thrust and the signal stopped. At 700 mt. the same signal started again prompting the crew to immediately return to the departure airport, where they land at 10:48. The flight was consequently cancelled.

A post-flight inspection revealed impact signs on the nose cone, on the inboard left flap and on the nbr. 1 and 3 (left and right) engines. The right nose gear landing light was smashed and three fan blades of the left engine and two of the right resulted damaged.

The crew wasn't warned about birds movements and didn't observe them flying.

We wrote above that the number of dual ingestions in the last two years was wrong; more accurate researches allowed us to update the datum, which is seven so far, as shown in the list below.
  • 19 June 2010
    Dalaman (Turkey), Thomas Cook B757 (twin), at the rotation flew through a flock of gulls; despite the crew was aware of the multiple bird strike, they continued into the flight till destination (Manchester); post flight inspection revealed that a number of birds had been sucked into both engines and the aircraft sustained damages;
  • 16 August 2010
    Malaga, Easyjet Switzerland A319 (twin), during the initial climb flew through a flock of gulls a number of which was ingested into both engines; immediate return; 11 fan blades damaged and replaced;
  • 20 June 2011
    Funchal, SATA International A320 (twin), at take off struck a flock of gulls that were standing on the runway and ingested a number of them into both engines causing vibrations but not loss of power; many other impacts on the fuselage and the wings;
  • 30 June 2011
    Charlotte, USAir B 737 (twin); after the landing both engines ingested birds during the roll out;
  • 4 September 2011
    Palermo, AirOne A320 (twin), during the initial climb flew through a flock of gulls and ingested a number of them into the engines; immediate return; 11 fan blades damaged in both engines;
  • 24 September 2012
    Genoa, British Airways B737 (twin), during the initial climb flew through a flock of gulls and ingested a number of them into both engines; one engine had to be shut down in flight, the second immediately after the landing;
  • 12 October 2012
    Nalchik, Grozny Avia Yak 42 (tri-motor), after take off the aircraft flew through a flock of pigeons and sustained multiple damages; some fan blades of left and right engines resulted damaged; the right nose gear landing light was smashed.

Major occurrences of November 2012
The event occurred on the 5th at Zurich shows once again the need of a policy from the airlines with regard to the behaviours to be adopted by flight crew in case of bird strikes at take-off followed by apparently normal parameters. It’s not the first time that the crew decide to continue into the flight and then divert declaring emergency, and sometimes, after an uneventful flight, inspections find out serious damages to the aircraft. The issue is clearly much more important in case of transoceanic flights operated by twin engines aircraft. We believe that stricter procedures must be adopted including an immediate landing in order to assess the possible damages, even though we are aware of the loss of fuel related costs for landing at the reduced allowed weight.

Two more occurrences in the USA due to impacts with deer: this time (17) a Cessna 550 footed the bill, resulting totally destroyed by the fire; in another case (14) a small aircraft struck two deer in one shot. Here the prevention seems easy: a good fence would be enough.

Finally a geese ingestion into an engine in Berlin (24); these large birds have become a serious problem also in Europe.
  • 02 – Reading (PA)
    Priv. Cessna 560 5/5 Ultra, struck a bird that caused damage to the right wing;
  • 03 – Monterrey
    Aeromexico B737, after take off a bird impacted and damaged the leading edge and slat of the left hand wing; immediate return and flight cancelled; it seems that a passenger firstly noticed the damage and notified the cabin crew;
  • 05 – Karachi
    Pakistan International Airlines B747, bird strike during the initial climb; immediate return;
  • 05 – Zurich
    American Airlines B767, bird strike at take-off; without any abnormal indications the crew decided to continue the flight; 12 minutes later, they decided to divert to London Heathrow; when north of Paris the crew began to squawk emergency, and finally landed in London;
  • 06 – Boston
    Shuttle America ERJ175, bird strike at take off resulting in a nose gear door remaining open; immediate return; minor damages;
  • 08 – Portland (OR)
    United Airlines B757, on landing struck a flock of birds; damage to nose wheel and wing flap;
  • 10 – Cork
    Jet2 B757 in the flare to land a number of birds impacted the aircraft; a number of carcasses reported on the right hand side of the runway;
  • 11 – Denver
    Skywest CRJ 200, on approach the aircraft flew through a flock of geese at about 600 feet AGL; damage to the flaps;
  • 14 – Mount Holly (NJ)
    Priv. Mooney 20, on landing struck two deer on the runway;
  • 17 – Greenwood (SC)
    Priv. Cessna 550, a deer ran into the path of the aircraft that was landing, causing it to crash and burn; no fatalities or injured;
  • 20 – Amsterdam
    KLM Fokker 70, probable bird strike at take off that causes strange noises and smell; return to departure airport and flight cancelled;
  • 23 – Key West
    Republic Airlines ERJ 175, in the initial climb struck a bird at the right wing; further to abnormal parameters diverted to another close airport after 75’;
  • 24 – Berlin
    Lufthansa A321, in the initial climb an engine emitted a number of bangs and streaks of flames prompting the crew to shut the engine down and return about 15 minutes later; post flight inspections revealed multiple bird strikes to the engine, wing and flaps, the birds were identified as geese;

    Photo taken by
  • 24 – Cleveland
    United Airlines A320, during the approach struck a bird at the right side; the aircraft received damage to the #2 engine, right hand wing and flaps;
  • 26 – Ft.Lauderdale
    Jetblue A320, after take off struck birds at about 1000 ft and one was ingested into an engine; declared emergency and returned immediately;

South Korea develops bird strike defense robot
The Korean Atomic Energy Group and LIG Nex1 (an aerospace and defense subsidiary of LG Corp) have jointly developed what they are calling the world's first bird strike defense robot. The robot is a six-wheeled unmanned ground vehicle that uses a combination of directional acoustics and laser patterns to scare birds away. It is semi-autonomous, meaning a human operator manages its operations from a control station. It weighs about one tonne and uses a combination of directional acoustic transmission and detection, green laser transmission, day and night colour cameras, thermal imaging and laser scanners, and can perform day and night in any weather conditions.

Major occurrences in October 2012
In this month we firstly would like to highlight four cases (1,17,22,27) of bird ingestion, or suspected ingestion, into an engine with the crew decision to continue into the flight in absence of abnormal parameters; in all four cases the flight had to be interrupted because of subsequent problems. We remind that a bird ingestion can lead to negative consequences even hours after the event. Situations like these should be better described in airline flight manuals, together with a more thorough crew training on wildlife problems.

One more case of dual ingestion (12), this time in Russia and fortunately occurred to a tri-motor, that brings the total of these events to five since 2010.

Finally another case again of a large mammal impact in the USA (24), this time a coyote at Nashville, certainly not a minor airport.
  • 01 – Madrid
    Iberia A340, during the initial climb of an intercontinental flight an engine ingested a small bird; the crew initially decided to continue the flight, then however decided to return about 2 hours after departure;
  • 02 – Tallinn
    Ryanair B737, rejected take off at low speed after the right hand engine ingested a bird; 4 fan blades needed to be replaced;
  • 04 – Windsor Locks
    Southwest B737, on approach and still at FL 200 (about 6,000 mt.) struck birds that cause damages to the radome and the engine cowling;
  • 04 – Newcastle
    Easyjet A319, after take off flew through a flock of birds and ingested a number of them into an engine; immediate return 15 ‘ after take off;
  • 05 – Columbia
    Expressjet CRJ200, on final a bird hit the left flap and engine causing minor damages;
  • 11 – Miami
    American Airlines B737, on downwind after a go around an engine ingested a bird;
  • 12 – Nalchik
    Grozny Avia Yak 42, after take-off the tri-motor flew through a flock of birds and suffered multiple bird strikes; the fan blades of left and right hand engines received damage, the right nose gear landing light was smashed;
  • 14 – Omsk
    Aeroflot A319, a post flight inspection revealed a bird ingestion into the right engine;
  • 14 – Kerkyra
    Air Berlin B737, bird strike at take off and immediate return;
  • 14 – Orlando
    USAir A319, on approach struck a bird that caused damages to the nose cone;

    Photo LunCarver taken from
  • 17 – Vancouver
    Air Canada B777, was just rotating for takeoff when the crew observed a heron and believed it had struck the aircraft; in absence of abnormal indications, the crew decided to continue the flight; after about one hour the crew however reported intermittent burning odour in the cabin; immediate return after having dumped fuel; a post flight inspection revealed significant damage to the right hand engine's acoustic tiles and feathers inside the engine;
  • 22 – New York (La Guardia)
    American Eagle E135, on final approach struck a bird that caused damage to an engine cowling;
  • 22 – near Nanking
    China Eastern Airlines A320, during the initial climb flew through a flock of birds; in absence of abnormal parameters the crew decided to continue the flight; after the aircraft had reached cruise altitude the right engine began to run rough prompting the crew to return about 75 minutes after departure;
  • 24 – Nashville
    Priv. Raytheon Hawker 800 XP, on departure struck a coyote (Canis latrans) on the runway; immediate landing;
  • 26 – Cologne
    Germanwings A319, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate landing with only one engine about 20 minutes after departure;
  • 26 – Cologne
    Germanwings A319, on final a number of birds impacted the right hand wing and the right main gear causing damages to the wing's leading edge and the gear strut;
  • 27 – Zaragoza
    Air Bridge Cargo B747, when climbing after take off the outboard left engine ingested birds and developed vibrations; the crew continued the flight but subsequently decided to shut the engine down due to then severe vibrations and two hours later diverted to a near airport; a post flight inspection found feathers and damage to fan blades and acoustic panels;
  • 27 – New York (La Guardia)
    Delta A320, on final a bird impacted the left hand engine causing minor damage to the cowl;
  • 29 – Lahore
    Pakistan International Airlines A310, on approach the right engine ingested a bird;
  • 31 – Caracas
    Aserca Airlines MD82, bird strike at rotation; immediate return;

The new Brasilian law on wildlife control now available in English
Click here for downloading the English translation of the new Brazilian law on wildlife control near airports.

New bird detection system in use at Tokyo Haneda airport
A new remote detection system capable to identify birds around airports has been recently adopted at Tokyo Haneda International Airport. The system, called “Bird Position Detection Solution”, has been provided by NEC Corporation.
The new solution helps to alleviate and support the work of the bird patrols on the ground, mainly during the night-time, to disperse birds and to collect data on their identification and classification. This solution consists of radar apparatus, that determine the position and distance of birds in and around airport grounds, video monitoring equipment, both fixed and mobile to be used during daylight, data processing devices and large sound-producing apparatus.

Brazil release a new law on control of wildlife around airports
Brazil follow the Italian path in the field of the legal approach to the fauna control around airports and releases a new law (here in Portuguese) on this topic. It seems to be the second case of a law (in strict legal terms) which regulates this matter, due to the need of overcoming the constitutional principles regarding the rights of property and the freedom of enterprise.

An ASA (Airport Safety Area) is established in an area of 20 km of radius around the airport (more than the ICAO indication of 13 km.), where the land use and the human activities which may attract wildlife are subjected to limits and restrictions. These limits will be posed by a Wildlife Hazard Management National Programme. The restrictions will involve also existing activities that may be regulated, reduced and even closed.

Inside the same area a wildlife management programme is established that may include the relocation of some species, the removal of eggs and nest and even the culling of animals if and when any other control method proved to be unsatisfactory.

Infringements of this law may lead to fines varying from 1.000 to 1.250.000 Real (€ 370 to € 460.000).

2011 BSCI report – Observations and comments (a brief abstract in English)
As usual, and as announced here below, here are our comments and observations on the BSCI 2011 annual report in shape of a brief resumé of a longer document. The full paper is of course available in the Italian pages of this website.

BSCI relesead the 2011 report
The 2011 BSCI annual report has been published in the ENAC website:
We will return soon as usual to this topic with our comments and observations.

Bird strike causes 19 victims in Nepal
On 28 September 2012 at 06:18L a SITA Air Dornier Do228 crashed after take-off from Kathmandu airport following an impact with a large bird, identified as a Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis), weight up to 1,8 kg., and causing the death of 16 passengers and three crew members. According to the most reliable versions, confirmed by Nepali CAA and local Airline Operators Association, the bird collided with the aircraft right engine at about 50 feet above ground (about 4440 feet MSL) causing some parts to separate from the engine and to impact the vertical tail so disabling the rudder. This made the aircraft uncontrollable.

In spite of this the crew tried unsuccessfully to return to the airport and then attempted a landing in the river Manohara bank, immediately outside the airport boundaries. The plane however burst into flames after coming to rest.

Fortunately there have not been many cases of persons who lost their lives following bird strike events, if compared with the total number of victims in the aviation history. However the 19 victims of this accident increase the total amount to 295 out of 56 fatal accidents (source: John Thorpe).

The Kathmandu airport , which is fundamental for the tourism in the region, was deeply investigated in the past because of the high number of bird strikes. In the period August-October 2000 a recrudescence of events was recorded which led the local CAA and ICAO office to carry out further studies and analysis. Finally on January 2001, following the threat to cease operations by several airlines unless action was taken to reduce the threat, the Chair of Bird Strike Committee USA was invited to draft a report after long inspections at the airports of Kathmandu and Pokhara.

The Dolbeer report highlights the main cause of the phenomenon, identified in the lack of a proper garbage and food waste management. The airport lies in a highly urbanized area with massive waste production often dumped in open areas even inside the airport boundaries or in the rivers nearby, as well as slaughterhouse waste even in areas under the landing and take-off paths. The combination of food wastes, abundant water, and the nearby jungle areas creates an ideal environment (food, water, and shelter) near the airport for birds hazardous to aviation.

The report goes on listing the classic strategies for fighting the phenomenon, starting from the developing of a bird strike database, with the accurate identification of the species struck, the elimination of internal attractive factors, a nest removal policy, the deployment of Bird Control Units, fence and gates management and control, up to the establishment of a national Bird Strike Committee. But the key remains the waste control which implies huge efforts in environmental education for local people and the eradication of atavistic habits.

Four years after on 2005, at the IBSC meeting in Athens, the Nepal delegate Ram Mani Thapaliya presented a paper reporting the initiatives adopted further to the Dolbeer report.

Dual ingestion at Genoa
On 24 September a British Airways Boeing 737 taking off from Genoa at 15:40 LT flew through a flock of gulls that suddenly appeared before it. The impact occurred on the runway after V1 but before Vr (rotation speed). Some birds were ingested by both engines which however behaved differently. The left engine began to vibrate heavily and had to be shut down in flight forcing the crew to return to Genoa with only one engine. The right engine, that never stopped running, was instead shut down after the emergency landing due to abnormal parameters. The aircraft had to be towed to the parking stand. Remains of four birds were found but it may be assumed that the flock was bigger. This event is the 21th case of multiple engine ingestion since 1988 outside the US, where instead the events of this type are roughly about 30 since 1990 (source: FAA). However this case is the 10th in the last four years, plus other five in the US. The worst of it for us is that 6 of these cases occurred in Italy (3 over the last four years).

With regard to the Genoa airport, this is the third case (known) of multiple ingestion but the first involving a twin engine. The first two are far enough in the past and involved a TNT Bae 146 cargo (1989) and a An124 (1997) also cargo, which then started two court cases (see the “Documents” section in this website).

In 2010 (latest figures) the relationship between impacts and 10K movements was equal to 7.72 (2009 = 26.8 and 2008 = 4.4 with a rising trend), well above the ratio of 5, considered as a ‘threshold of attention’. The Genoa airport suffers from its location, two-thirds of it are surrounded by the sea with a breakwater that protects it from the waves but offers a comfortable shelter to gulls and other large birds; also it suffers from the effects of the landfill of Scarpino, well within the radius of 13 Km. suggested as a limit by ICAO and IBSC. Finally a large marina has recently developed around the airport with the presence of commercial activities and restaurants with possible release of food waste.

Therefore the airport preventative action must cope with these structural elements, hardly compatible with the air activity. At the end of the 90s, after the incidents mentioned above, Genoa deployed the most impressive array of preventative/scaring means ever seen in the Italian airports, together with very strict internal regulations, which managed to keep the number of impacts within reasonable limits .

Given the official data, we should conclude that some of those procedures and devices lost their effectiveness and produced a habituation effect or, in any case, no longer the desired effect.

As the event occurred on the runway, at first glance this would show that the gulls were settling on it or in the immediate vicinity. However it cannot be ruled out a sudden and unpredictable crossing hedgehopping by gulls, which already occurred in the past, as the team of bird control on the ground, as well as the control tower, should have detected the presence of birds if they were on the ground.

In conclusion, we think that things cannot go on in this way, Genoa should probably improve its system of prevention (by the way, the declared 12/15 inspections a day might not be enough), and quickly find the proper countermeasures. We also believe that a great part of the problem regards the management of the breakwater that no longer can be considered "no man's land", apart from gulls, of course (nobody, airport and port, claims authority over it).

We'll then see if another court case will emerge from this incident.

Major occurrences of August 2012
The list of events of this month is again and unfortunately pretty copious.
First of all, we wish to express our grief for the 19 victims of the Kathmandu accident, probably caused by a bird strike and a very difficult environmental situation, that clearly shows us how much work has still to be done in the field of prevention. We will return in the coming days to this event as soon as more information becomes available.

Worthy of mention and welcome is the presence of three reports from Russia. Only three months ago at the IBSC (now WBA) meeting at Stavanger, Dr. S. Rhyzov complained "the concealment of the real state of the problem of birds” in Russia. Evidently something is changing there. What does not seem to change instead is the problem of impacts of aircraft with large mammals in North America: if two more deer have been struck by small airplanes on minor airport runways in the U.S., it’s a real surprise reading about a coyote struck by an A320 at the intercontinental airport in Calgary, the same city that hosted in 2001 a conference of the North American bird strike committees. Hitting at 150 kts a 12 kg. animal is a potentially very dangerous event; fortunately no damage has been reported, but the decision to continue the flight to its destination raises some concerns.

Finally, two cases reported in Italy: the Fiumicino event will fire up the controversy about the Malagrotta landfill and its planned relocation even closer to that airport, which we hope won’t be implemented. For the Genoa event please see the comment above.
  • 01 – Birmingham (Al)
    Delta DC9/50, on approach at about 500 ft. AGL a bird, possibly a bird of prey, struck the right side of the aircraft causing the loss of the thrust reversers and damaging one landing light;
  • 13 – Detroit
    Delta B757, the aircraft suffered a bird strike on take off; continued in the general direction of the destination initially; then the crew decided to divert to another airport about 90 minutes after departure due to a rough running engine, sign of possible bird ingestion;
  • 13 – Moscow (Sheremetyevo)
    Aeroflot A320, at take off the left hand engine ingested a bird resulting in engine vibrations; the crew returned to the departure airport about 40 minutes later; six fan blades were found bent, remains of poultry found further downstream of the engine and a fuel leak was identified;
  • 16 – Calgary
    Air Canada A320, during the rotation struck a 28 lbs. (12 kg.) coyote (Canis latrans) at about 150 kts; the crew did not find any abnormal indication or abnormal handling and continued the flight to destination; no damage found after landing;
  • 19 – Roma Fiumicino
    Alitalia A319, after take off when crossing the coast line the left engine ingested a bird which caused damage to five fan blades; immediate return;
  • 20 – Chelyabinsk
    Ifly Airlines B757, rejected takeoff when the crew noticed a flock of birds on the runway and observed unusual noise and vibrations and an uncommanded yaw to the right;
  • 20 – Khabarovsk
    Vladivostock Airlines A320, after takeoff a bird impacted the aircraft; the crew decided to return and burned off fuel landing about 3.5 hours after departure; damages under assessment;
  • 20 – Tulsa
    Ameriflight Beech 1900, during the take off run struck a bird; immediate return;
  • 20 – New Haven
    Priv. Learjet 36, ambulance flight during the take off run struck a deer;
  • 20 – Eastsound (WA)
    Priv. Be36, during the take off run struck a deer with the gear door;
  • 21 – Osnabruck
    Air Berlin A320, after take off the left engine ingested a small bird of prey (possibly a hawk) which caused vibrations; immediate diversion to a close airport; damages to the engine;
  • 22 – Zamboanga
    Philippine Airlines A319, a post flight inspection revealed evidence of a bird strike to one of the engines; the return flight had to be cancelled;
  • 22 – Barcelona
    Vueling A320, in the initial climb the aircraft experienced a bird strike resulting in abnormal vibrations of an engine; immediate return;
  • 24 – Genoa
    British Airways B737, in the initial climb the aircraft flew through a flock of gulls and ingested a number of birds into both engines; immediate return about 20 minutes after departure; flight cancelled;

  • 24 – Karachi
    PIA B777, on final the left engine ingested a bird; engine damaged;
  • 27 – New York (La Guardia)
    United B737, on approach the right engine ingested a bird and was damaged;
  • 28 – Kathmandu
    SITA Air Do 228, bird strike at take off with an engine failure; the crew attempted to make an emergency landing but the aircraft burst into flames after coming to rest; all the 19 occupants perished, the aircraft was destroyed in the crash;
  • 29 – Baltimore
    AirTran B717, on final a bird struck an engine that sustained damage;
  • 30 – Chicago
    Aer Lingus A330, on final an engine ingested a bird and needed to be inspected; next flight cancelled;
New Technology = Old Problem
By Cpt. Paul Eschenfelder

Cpt. Paul Eschenfelder served in the US Navy Reserve for several years, then flew for Delta Airlines and reached the rank of A330 Captain. He also participated on the FAA/JAA Engine Certification Task Group for Bird Ingestion. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at Embry Riddle Aeronautic University. He was also member of Bird Strike Committee USA and wrote many articles on bird strike prevention.
The advent of new jet engine technology will exacerbate an old problem. Engine manufacturers are designing, and delivering starting in 2014, a new type of engine. GE calls their new engine ‘LEAP’. Pratt & Whitney is more prosaic in terming their engine ‘geared turbofan’. They will power new B-737 models, the A-320 family and new aircraft from Mitsubishi, Bombardier and Irkut which will enter the single aisle, narrow body fleets of the future. But there is a problem. An old problem.

While the new engines will be much more fuel efficient, quieter and made of stronger materials, they also will have much larger engine inlets: anywhere from 20-27% larger than current engine inlets on the same aircraft. What had been a 63.5 inch inlet now will likely be an 81 inch inlet. The follow-on engines of the future will be even larger.

Obviously this is a much greater opportunity for large birds, and large flocking birds, to enter the engine. Engine design rules for bird ingestion have not changed. This size of engine needs only to demonstrate that if it ingests one four pound bird that it will not blow up and can be shut down. It does not need to survive the ingestion. The photos below demonstrate this peril.

These photos are from the BFU investigation of the Air Berlin B-737 accident at Hamburg in April, 2010. Note on ‘Foto 1’ the red and blue circles on the B-737’s CFM-56 engine, these designate bird impact points on the engine. The birds in question here were a flock of white-fronted geese, a bird larger than four pounds. Obviously, from the number of impacts, the engine had no chance of survival.

‘Foto 2’ shows the same inlet, but with a yellow circle imposed. The yellow circle will be the size of the new engine inlets. And ‘Foto 3’ shows the same but with a white circle imposed. The white circle will be the size of the inlet on the follow-on engines under development. The impact on future engines with a flock encounter is clear and sinister. This B-737 had bird hits all over its front. Such large inlets with large flocks of large birds may very well jeopardize the aircraft’s chance of survival.

Foto 1

Foto 2

Foto 3

Report criticizes FAA's oversight of bird-strike threats
The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't keep good track of how many birds strike planes and its inspectors often aren't familiar with wildlife, according to an inspector general's report. Jeffrey Guzzetti, assistant inspector general for aviation at the Transportation Department, found that FAA can't be sure airports have good plans for coping with wildlife or that FAA inspectors who review the plans have expertise with wildlife.

Meanwhile, reported bird strikes have quintupled in the last two decades. But the inspector general found at eight airports visited that 108 strikes in internal logs – more than one in five – weren't reported to FAA in 2010. "Airport officials stated that they did not report all known strikes to the database because it was not a requirement," the inspector general said.

FAA provided $458 million to airports from 1997 to 2011 to reduce wildlife hazards. The agency estimates it will spend another $366 million on the projects over the next 20 years. But in randomly reviewing airport records, the inspector general found that 21 out of 40 didn't know whether their plans for reducing wildlife hazards had been reviewed by FAA. In response to the report, FAA agreed to provide wildlife training to all its airport inspectors. Since the 2009 accident on the Hudson, the agency said it has circulated suggestions for reducing wildlife risks, boosted training and worked to improve strike reporting.

FAA added that the agency has taken a comprehensive approach to reduce wildlife strikes since 1960 with better research, technology, training and online reporting. "The FAA has already adopted and completed a majority of the IG's recommendations, and will continue to make improvements to the wildlife hazard mitigation program," the agency said. Part of the challenge in coping with bird strikes is that 90% of bird strikes involve federally protected species. Canada geese, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, have quadrupled in population during the last two decades, according to FAA.
(from an article of Bart Jansen, USA Today)

Major occurrences of August 2012
The most relevant event of this month is undoubtedly that occurred at Tacloban, in the Philippines on the 29th: a multiple impact with engine ingestion fortunately to an aircraft on the landing phase and almost on the runway. Also significant is the occurrence at Durham (UK) on the 9th when a Falcon 20 had to reject the take off following a bird strike and overshot the runway. At least five confirmed cases of strikes with a flock of birds have been reported this month, but we think they may be considerably more. Flying through a flock is a very serious event that could even lead to the loss of power in both engines. Finally the umpteenth deer struck on an American minor airport (28) and a less frequent bird strike suffered by a helicopter (29).
  • 01 – Riga
    Air Baltic B737, on take off the left engine ingested a bird, and needed to be shut down; immediate return about 20’ later;
  • 02 – Biratnagar
    Buddha Air ATR72, struck an eagle during the roll out; minor damage to one of the right hand propeller blades and the right hand wing;
  • 04 – Bogota
    JetBlue A 320, struck a bird at take off and returned immediately; minor damages;
  • 06 – Bogota
    Avianca A319, ingested a vulture into one of its engines on departure ; immediate return;
  • 09 – Durham
    Tees Valley, Cobham Falcon 20, rejected take off due to a bird strike and overshoots the runway; aircraft damaged;
  • 10 – Perth
    Qantas A330, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird, a loud bang was heard and the engine emitted streaks of flame; immediate return and flight cancelled;
  • 10 – Orlando
    American Airlines B767, on short final the right engine ingested a bird; damages to be determined;
  • 13 – Amsterdam
    KLM F70, rejected take off at high speed following a bird strike;
  • 14 – Charleston
    Shuttle America ERJ170, climbing after take-off flew through a flock of birds and the right engine ingested at least one; immediate return;
  • 15 – Manchester
    Aer Arann ATR72, on approach struck a bird; next flight cancelled;
  • 17 – London Luton
    Easyjet A319, during the initial climb the aircraft flew through a flock of birds and ingested a number of birds into an engine; immediate return;
  • 18 – Billund
    KLM Cityhopper ERJ190, bird strike during the initial climb; immediate return;
  • 18 – Shanghai
    Spring Airlines A320, during the initial climb after take-off an engine ingested a bird; immediate return and flight cancelled;
  • 18 –Trieste
    Alitalia A320, was accelerating for takeoff when an engine ingested a large bird, possibly a pheasant, prompting the crew to rejected takeoff;
  • 19 – Faro
    TAP A320, bird strike during the initial climb; immediate return and no damage;
  • 21 – Dusseldorf
    Lufthansa B737, during the climb an engine ingested birds that caused smoke and odour in the cockpit; emergency landing in opposite direction of the takeoff runway;
  • 21 – btn LAX and JFK
    United B757, received a bird strike at an unknown phase of the flight which caused minor damage to the radome of the aircraft;
  • 21 – Shanghai
    United B747, rejected takeoff at low speed after an engine ingested a bird and received fan blade damage; flight cancelled;
  • 26 – St. Petersburg (Fl)
    Allegiant Airlines MD83, when climbing out the aircraft flew through a flock of birds and the right hand engine ingested a number of them; immediate return;
  • 28 – Detroit
    Pinnacle Airlines CRJ200, bird strike on final; minor damage to the right wing;
  • 28 – Sandpoint (ID)
    Priv. C172, on landing struck a deer, substantial damages;
  • 29 – Tacloban
    Philippine Airlines A320; at the touch down a flock of wild ducks did not manage to escape from the engines and several birds were ingested by one of the engines; several carcasses removed from the runway; fan blades damaged and next flight cancelled;
  • 29 – Gdansk
    Wizz Air A320, struck a bird while climbing and returned immediately for inspection;
  • 29 –Olbia
    Air Italy B737, climbing out a bird hit the aircraft causing abnormal engine indications and prompting the crew to shut the left hand engine down and to return about 30’ later;
  • 29 – Islip (NY)
    Sikorsky S 92 A, while inflight thre helicopter sustained a bird strike to the windshield;

Major occurrencies of July 2012
The list of major events of July 2012 appears pretty remarkable. We highlight three cases of continuation of the flight (5, 19 and 30 July) further to a bird strike in absence of “abnormal parameters”. In one of these the crew went on flying for eight hours, realizing only after the post flight ground inspection they suffered damages to the slats. In general we remind that damages caused by birds, especially in case of ingestion into engines, may appear after hours, and even days, after the event and that the initial absence of “abnormal parameters” is not a guarantee of safety. An inspection for assessing possible damages is still the best option, fortunately chosen by most pilots. New impacts with flock of birds settling on the runway are reported again (5, 17 and two events on 23 July); these cases show some evident faults in the bird controller team action.

Very impressive is the strike of 31 at Denver, not only for the large damages to the nose cone but mainly for the lack or unreliability of air speed indications that forced the crew to ask the support of a ground based radar (fortunately available).

The steady trickle of deer strikes is still going on in the secondary runways of the U.S.: three more cases on this month.
  • 03 – Odenton (MD)
    Priv. PA 28, on landing struck a deer;
  • 05 – Taipei
    Cathay A340, climbing after take off an engine ingested a bird; in absence of abnormal parameters the crew decided to continue the flight to destination where the crew requested emergency services on stand-by for the landing;
  • 05 – Lahore
    PIA B747, on approach the n. 2 engine (inboard left hand) ingested a bird; next flight cancelled;
  • 05 – Dresden
    Lufthansa B737, rejected takeoff at low speed after the right hand engine ingested a flock of sea gulls; the runway was closed for about 30 minutes for an inspection and removal of bird remains; the flight was cancelled, the aircraft sent to maintenance.
  • 07 – Rome
    Aerolineas Argentinas A340, climbing after take off struck one or more birds and stopped the climb due to developing problems at engine #4 (outboard right); dumped fuel and returned to the departure airport about 130’ later; flight cancelled and damage to the engine;
  • 07 – Ray (MI)
    Priv. Grumman American AA-5A, on landing struck a deer;
  • 09 – Fort Meyers
    Jet Blue A320, after take-off crossing 2000 ft. suffered a bird ingestion that caused the compressor stall of the right engine; immediate return and flight cancelled;
  • 10 – Taipei
    China Eastern A330, during the initial climb the left engine ingested a Black Winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus); immediate return and substantial damages to the engine;
  • 13 – Caldwell (NJ)
    Priv. Cessna 525, on landing struck a deer;
  • 14 – Norwich
    bmi ERJ 135, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird (believed to be a swallow); immediate return;
  • 15 – Ajaccio
    Air France A320, bird strike during the initial climb and immediate precautionary return;
  • 15 – near Frankfurt
    Kuwait Airways B777, enroute at FL360 the crew initiated a diversion due to engine problems; the airline reported that the aircraft was forced to divert due to a bird strike making a borescopic inspection of the engine necessary; the place of the impact is uncertain;
  • 16 – Bruxelles
    United B767, initial climb stopped due to an engine that needed to be shut down probably following a bird ingestion (not confirmed);
  • 16 – Shangai
    China Eastern A321, bird ingestion at landing; engine damaged;
  • 16 – Tyumen
    Yamal Airlines B737, immediately after take-off at about 15 ft. above the runway the left engine ingested a large bird that caused an increase in engine vibrations and abnormal sounds; the aircraft burned off fuel and landed back after about one hour; found and removed bird debris from the runway; the left engine received damage to 8 fan blades;
  • 17 – Aalesund
    Norwegian Air B737, rejected takeoff after the crew observed a number of birds on the runway, one or two of which impacted the aircraft;
  • 18 – Lahore
    Pakistan International B747, struck a bird on landing; substantial damages to the fuselage;
  • 19 – Petropavlosk
    Aeroflot A330, struck a number of birds on departure; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination about 8 hours later; the aircraft received damage to its slats as result of the bird strike;
  • 23 – Stockholm (Bromma)
    Nextjet BA ATP, on landing hit a flock of seagulls resting on the runway; a runway inspection recovered several carcasses from the runway; no damages;
  • 23 – London (Heathrow)
    Air Lingus A320, climbing after take off hit a bird; immediate return for aircraft inspection;
  • 23 – Minneapolis
    Southwest B737, on approach imparte a bird that caused a minor damage to the leading edge of the right wing;
  • 23 – Novj Urengoy
    Globus Airlines B737, immediately after touch-down impacted with a number of birds that caused a large, deep dent in the nose;
  • 23 – Orlando
    AirTran B717, climbing after take-off hit a bird and returns after 25’; minor damages;
  • 24 – Lahore
    Pakistan International B777, on landing the right engine ingested a bird; return flight delayed;
  • 28 – Bremen
    Ryanair B737, after take off the crew reported a bird strike and decided to divert to another airport where the aircraft landed about 100 minutes after departure.
  • 30 – Tokyo (Narita)
    Jetstar Japan A320, immediately after take off the crew heard a strange sound and assumed they may have been hit by a bird, but decided to continue the climb in absence of any abnormal indication; about one hour after the crew received information confirming a bird strike and decided to return to have the aircraft inspected for possible damage; no damage found;
  • 31 – Denver
    United Airlines B737, on approach at 12,000 feet a bird impacted the nose cone of the aircraft causing a large dent and hole underneath the captain's windshield; the captain had no airspeed indication at all, the first officer's air speed indication was unreliable; requested emergency services at the runway and radar based ground speed readings for cross checks;

    (Photo from

Bird strike and the Courts
Finding timely Court sentences about bird strike damage compensation throughout the world is not easy. We deem however useful to present the decisions we manage to know even though they date back to several years ago.

On May 2004 the Court of Arbitrate of Moscow dropped as ungrounded the appeal presented by Moscow Sheremetievo International Airport against a first degree sentence that condemned the airport to compensate the damages (about $ 180.000) caused to an Aeroflot aircraft further to a bird strike occurred on 23.8.2000, when a Il-96 on landing struck a flock of seagulls settling on the runway. All four engines ingested birds while the aircraft was fortunately already on the ground. Aeroflot had sued the airport because of the unsatisfactory bird strike state of prevention. On 2003 the first degree Court decided in favour of the plaintiff and the airport filed an appeal. The Court of Arbitrate deemed the facts as described undisputable and actually even undisputed by the defendant. Then stated that the responsibility to secure ornithological safety, which is the protection from birds and other wildlife in and around Airport Sheremetyevo, must be assigned to the defendant itself. Inappropriate fulfillment of this obligation caused the flight incident.

On February 2012 the Malta International Airport (MIA) has been ordered to pay more than € 250,000 in damages to Air Malta and to an insurance company for the damages an Air Malta plane sustained in a bird strike. The Civil Court concluded that MIA was responsible for the damages due to the lack of an adequate bird strike reduction system. On December 2, 2004 an Air Malta Airbus A320 at take off flew through a sizeable flock of starlings suddenly crossing the plane's flight path and had to return immediately to Malta. The plaintiff companies (Air Malta and the Insurer) sued the airport basing their claims on the fact that MIA, as the operator of the Malta International Airport, had failed to observe the Convention on International Civil Aviation and had not installed adequate bird control measures. On its part MIA said that the Convention offered guidelines and recommendations and did not impose legal obligations.

The court stated that when MIA was entrusted with the running of the airport, it had been bound by the government to maintain and provide at all times, facilities and operations in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Regulations from time to time. MIA is currently evaluating the contents of the judgement with its legal advisers and will be considering whether it should file an appeal.
7 July 2012 – Multiple bird strike at Rome Fiumicino
An Airbus A340-300 of Aerolineas Argentinas from Rome to Buenos Aires with 250 people on board suffered a multiple bird strike with a flock of birds during the initial climb from Rome-Fiumicino runway 16R (parallel to sea). Witnesses on the ground reported there were loud noises during the initial climb of the aircraft. Due to developing engine #4 problems, the crew stopped the climb at 25.000 ft., dumped fuel and returned to Rome landing on runway 16L about 130 minutes after departure. The flight was consequently cancelled. Passengers were reprotected the following day thanks to another aircraft which took off empty from Buenos Aires. The runway 16R is the same where another very similar bird strike occurred to a Delta B767 on the same day of 2007.

30th Meeting of International Bird Strike Committee – Stavanger 25-29 June 2012
The 30th IBSC Meeting will also probably be the last under this denomination. Several innovations will be adopted soon, made necessary also because of the substantial Committee inactivity in recent years. With questionable procedures, even disputed by some members, without any prior discussion nor election, the organization will be called henceforth World Birdstrike Association. The new Chair will be a KLM pilot, the Dutch Cpt. Rob Van Eekeren, and the new Board will consist of Mr. Nick Carter (USA), Mr. Luit Buurma (Netherlands), Mr. Ante Matijaca (Croatia) and Mr.Nick Yearwood (UK). Secretary has been designated, with the same questionable procedures, Mr. Albert De Hoon (The Netherlands). Organizational innovations are also expected, including a membership fee to secure economic self-sufficiency.

It 's impossible here to comment on all the presentations and the several papers; the link below allows those interested to access almost all the presentations, including that of the new Chair, where the vision, the mission and the goals of the new WBA are shown, including the program to be implemented over the next two years.

Beyond criticism on the method, it was clear that something had to be done to revitalize a lifeless body without further stimuli in its leadership. Nobody wants to make a battle over principles, this is not the point; the point is rather to make the organization a “worldwide catalyst for an increase of flight safety by reducing the wild life strike risk for aviation on a cost effective way” and to represent for this purpose a “worldwide coordination centre for expertise of all aspects awareness of the reduction of the wild life strike risk to aviation” The only thing we pragmatically may say now is : let’s wait and see.

Italy was present at the meeting at an official level with a delegation of ENAC / BSCI (Ing. Claudio Eminente and the contractor biologist Dr. Alessandro Montemaggiori), and with a private participation with our B.C. & T. (Dr. Valter Battistoni). We remember that Mr. Eminente, in addition to being President of BSCI is also the Chief of the Environment, Airports and Air Transport Department of ENAC.

L’ing. Eminente

Dr. Montemaggiori
Ing. Eminente (top) from ENAC and Dr. Montemaggiori during their speech at the conference on the ENAC circular APT01B and the new method of airport risk assessment called BRI2

In general we can safely say that this was a good level meeting. Contrary to some critics who argue that these meetings are just opportunities for biologists "to talk to other biologists", so forgetting that the problem of bird strikes is mainly an aeronautical issue, there have been several and important presentations involving directly the aviation world.

In particular, there have been presentations by airport operators and bird controllers, but also by aircraft operators, ATC representatives, pilots. Many interesting ideas have emerged about the need for a specific training of ATC controllers and pilots on the problems of wildlife, while an entire parallel session was devoted to the minimum training necessary to carry out bird control operations on the field, and the thorny problem of trainer qualification.

Another parallel session was devoted to the complex field of radar remote sensing, in constant development throughout the world, but still far behind in Italy (actually we are still at zero point). In this specific field an innovative contribution came from the Japanese representative.

AIRBUS was represented by a young researcher who described the efforts and researches in progress in order to achieve an embedded bird scaring system on aircraft.

Also EASA and ESA (European Space Agency) showed presentations on the possible roles of respective agencies in preventing the wildlife risks at airports.

The world of helicopter pilots flying to off-shore oil rigs, and the risks associated with the concentration of birds on them, was a discovery for many of the participants.

Another interesting aspect of the meeting was the significant presence of women in virtually all technical and scientific areas covered by the conference, with some really high level presentations.

During the meeting it was also announced that the next meeting of the (new) WBA will be held in Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) from 15 to 18 September 2014.

30° Meeting dell’International Bird Strike Committee – Stavanger 25-29 Giugno 2012

To access all the meeting presentations click on the link below:

For an overview on the meeting:

Main occurrences of June 2012
Among the “normal” events, supposing that striking a deer on a runway or flying through a flock of gulls may be considered normal, the injuring of a pilot, further to the breaking of the windshield due to a bird strike, stands out. It happened in Nepal on 13 June and this event claims for more stringent certification requirements for light aircraft which may protect them from such occurrences.
  • 01 - San Jose
    Southwest B737, on landing struck a flock of gulls and one was ingested by the left engine causing damages; several carcasses found on the runway;
  • 03 – Madrid
    Iberia A321, in the initial climb a fter take-off struck a bird; landing after 90’ holding for burning off fuel and flight cancelled;
  • 05 – Amsterdam
    Transavia B737, after take-off the crew suspected a bird strike but decided to continue to destination in lack of abnormal parameters; a runway inspection found a dead buzzard on the runway prompting the crew, further to consultations with dispatch, to return after 35’ for a damage assessment;
  • 13 – Jumla
    Tara Air DHC6, during the initial climb a bird struck the windshield causing injuries to the first officer; the captain decided to divert to a more suitable airport in less difficult terrain; the first officer received minor injuries, the aircraft received minor damage;

  • 14 – Ozark
    Priv. Cessna 560, on landing struck a deer on the runway;
  • 19 – Nizhny Novgorod
    Smartlynx A320, at take off a bird was ingested into one engine; immediate return;
  • 20 – Auckland
    Air New Zealand A320, on final approach descending through about 1200 feet AGL the right hand engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to reduce the engine to idle thrust; after landing the aircraft has been grounded for inspection;
  • 24 – West Palm Beach
    Jetblue ERJ190, after take off at a distance of about 1600 mt. from the runway threshold suffered a bird strike; immediate return for controls;
  • 25 – Peshawar
    Etihad A320, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird that caused damages to some fan blades; return after 30 min. and flight cancelled;
  • 28 – New York
    Delta Md80, a ramp inspection revealed a bird ingestion into one engine occurred in an undetermined place;

Relevant events of May 2012
  • 01 – Three Rivers (Mi)
    Priv. C 172, hit a deer on departure and made an emergency landing at Kalamazoo;
  • 3 – Houston, United B757
    struck a bird on landing; damage to nose cone;
  • 5 – Wuhan, Sichuan Airlines A319
    bird strike during the approach; the bird had struck through a slat on the left hand wing and penetrated a wing rib;
  • 6 – Madrid, Easyjet A319
    during the landing a bird impacted the nose of the aircraft;
  • 10 – Istanbul, Onur Air A321
    rejected take off at high speed after the right engine ingested a bird;
  • 11 – Madrid, Avianca A330
    bird strike on approach; next flight cancelled;
  • 11 – Between Oakland e Los Angeles
    Fed Ex A300, a post flight inspection of the aircraft revealed a bird had impacted and caused damage to a wing;
  • 11 – Orlando, US Airways B757
    on final at about 700 ft. a bird impacted the nose and nose gear causing a dent at the radome;
  • 12 – Dublin, Aer Lingus A320
    at take-off hit at least two birds at about 30 feet above ground; one bird was sucked into an engine; immediate return;
  • 13 – Madrid, Iberia A340
    after take-off during the initial climb struck a large bird, presumably a vulture, that caused relevant damages to the radome; landing after 70 minutes;


    Photo made by Paco Rodriguez taken from the website
  • 13 – Cairo
    Saudia B747, during the initial climb a large bird impacted the windshield; immediate return;
  • 13 – Chicago
    Lufthansa A340, an ispection after landing revealed a bird ingestion into one engine which caused 4 fan blades damaged;
  • 15 – Ribeirao Preto
    TAM A319, in the initial climb a vulture was ingested into the left hand engine; engine shut off and immediate return;
  • 15 – Tromso
    SAS B737, the right engine ingested a bird at take-off; immediate return;
  • 18 – Trabzon
    Anadolujet B737, on final approach a bird hit the landing gear causing damages to hydraulic pipes;
  • 20 – Cairo
    Saudi Arabian Airlines A320, on approach a bird impacted the leading edge of the left hand wing causing damages;
  • 21 – Kingston (NY)
    Priv. Pa28, during the cruise at 3000 ft. struck a flock of birds that caused the rupture of the fuel tank and damages to the left wing;
  • 22 – Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
    American Airlines B757, climbing through 1000 ft after take off the left engine ingested a bird that caused vibrations; engine to idle and immediate landing;
  • 23 - Phoenix
    USAirways A319, at take off multiple impact that caused damages to the left engine; immediate return;
  • 25 – Dublin
    Orbest Orizonia A320, at lift-off a bird (probably a corvidae) was ingested into one engine; immediate return with the engine on idle;
  • 26 – Moscow
    Aeroflot A320, on approach struck a bird that caused a dent in the leading edge of a wing;
  • 30 – Cagliari
    Ryanair B737, on takeoff an engine ingested a bird; immediate return;

Sheremetyevo airport appeals a sentence over birds
Sheremetyevo Airport appealed a decision awarding Aeroflot $ 9,100 after the airline sued for failing to clear birds from the runways. Aeroflot said the airport was responsible after a bird strike damaged its plane, but the airport denied responsibility for the damage. The case stems from an August 2009 incident in which an Aeroflot Airbus A-320 struck a flock of birds during takeoff.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing. The airport disagreed with the decision stating they had 12 stationary and one mobile bio-acoustic apparatuses, as well as 80 “mechanical bird-scaring devices”. No details are provided on these devices however.

Avian radars
The NTSB recently recommended to FAA to study the technical feasibility of presenting real-time total lightning data on controller displays at both air route traffic control centres and terminal radar approach control facilities, and incorporate real-time total lightning data on controller displays and in associated weather products for current and future display systems. Lightning are always associated with thunderstorms, and thunderstorms always present severe weather conditions to be avoided.

Also the flocks of birds should be always avoided, but almost always this is unfeasible due to the lack of detection devices and real-time communication procedures.

This recommendation therefore leads us to two considerations: from one side we think that the same attention should be dedicated to the avian radars capable to detect birds on the take-off and landing flight paths; on the other side it is inevitable that these devices will be installed in ATC control centres, despite the presumable opposition of the party concerned.

Pictures of MD11 Fed Ex after bird strike of 01.03.2012
Among the events of March 2012 we reported the bird strike occurred to a Fed Ex MD11 cargo flight that while climbing and crossing 9000 ft. encountered a flock of about 20 birds. Now we can show some photos of the aircraft after the multiple impact.


A new warning system at Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt-Airport has got a brand new real time warning system to avoid bird strikes to aircraft descending to the new runway 07L. The system observes a special and limited area where aircraft have to pass the river Main at about 400 ft GND. The river is followed by a lot of water birds so that bird strikes are quite likely by crossing. This real time warning system is called “Mivotherm” and has been developed by Zeiss/Germany. Mivotherm bases on infrared techniques because only a short range has to be observed in Frankfurt.
On the other hand infrared makes it possible to get information about the bird species and number flying along the river Main. Of course the system effectiveness will depend on how it will be used and mainly on who and how will provide these information to flight crew. If it seems obvious that data collector will be the ATC, it is still unclear if this will intervene directly on the flight management or simply will pass the information to pilots for their autonomous decisions.

Relevant events of April 2012
The occurrence of the 8th at Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) reminds us how important can be also the legal approach to the bird strike problem, that is how an effective rule system really counts in controlling the land use around airports. But mainly it is important that the State may have the real power to enforce these rules. Italy fortunately made this choice long time ago.
  • 1 – San Francisco
    United Airlines B767, at rotation suffered a multiple bird strike that caused damages; returned after a five min. holding;
  • 6 – Port of Spain
    United B737, during the climb after take-off the right engine struck a bird; immediate return after a short holding;
  • 8 – Port of Spain
    Caribbean B737, during the climb after take off the aircraft had a bird strike into the left hand engine; immediate return; local authorities reported farmers had planted crop attracting birds near the runway although they had been told not to plant such attractive crop; in addition a waste dump near the aerodrome also attracts birds;
  • 9 – Changsha
    Shangai Airlines B737, bird strike during the approach at about 6900 ft; damages reported; next flight cancelled;
  • 15 – Orlando
    Allegiant MD83, during the initial climb struck a bird and made a precautionary return;
  • 15 – Foz de Iguassu
    Webjet B737, during the initial climb a bird was ingested into an engine; return after a holding in order to burn off fuel;
  • 18 – Oakland
    Southwest B737, rejected takeoff at high speed after an engine ingested a bird; the crew reported they had the bird strike at about 1300 meters/4300 feet down the runway;
  • 19 – New York
    Delta Airlines B757, just after take-off a little flock of birds struck the right engine and one or more birds were ingested; immediate return with one engine only;
  • 20 – near Salt Lake City
    Delta A 319, during the approach a bird struck the aircraft radome; unknown damage received;
  • 24 – Westchester
    Jetblue ERJ 190, in the initial climb the aircraft struck two large geese that caused damages to both windshields; immediate return in emergency in the runway still contaminated by the birds remains;
  • 25 – St. Petersburg
    Aeroflot A320, climbing through 3000 feet a bird hit an engine; in absence of abnormal indications the crew decided to continue the flight to destination; after the landing the aircraft has been grounded;
  • 27 – Near Chongqing
    Sichuan Airlines A319, climbing through about 6900 ft. a bird impacted the right hand windshield causing the outer pane to crack; the crew decided to burn off fuel and return immediately;
  • 28 – Juba
    Ethiopian Airlines B737, during the climb an engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to shut the engine down; immediate return;
  • 30 – Kozhikode
    Air India A321, during the climb the right engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to immediately return; a post flight inspection revealed several bent fan blades on the right hand engine;
  • 30 – Tromso
    SAS B737, during the initial climb the aircraft flew through a flock of birds that caused several bird strikes; immediate return;

Relevant events of March 2012
At least four are the events that deserve a comment in this month. Two cases pretty impressive, occurred on 7 and 16, regard collisions with large mammals; we therefore focus again on the topic “fences”, pointing out once again that the first kind of prevention is not to allow non-flying wildlife to enter the airports. What can be tolerated in little general aviation airports, it is unacceptable in airports open to commercial traffic and to large jet airplanes.
The occurrence of 9 at Orlando remind us that a bird ingestion not always causes immediate engine abnormal parameters: often it shows its effects after hours and even days. In these cases it is always a good practice to land as soon as possible and check the engine. Finally, in the event of the day 31 once again a pilot warning did not provoke proper preventative measure, like the bird dispersal and –in any case – an immediate suspension of take off clearances by ATC.
  • 1 – Memphis
    Fedex MD11, after take-off crossing 9000 ft. the crew reports a major bird strike with about 20 birds that causes the immediate return; damages to the horizontal stabilizer reported;
  • 3 – Portland
    Hawaiian Airlines B767, on landing rollout an engine ingested a bird; damage to engine fan blades;
  • 3 – Olive Branch (USA)
    priv. Beech 76, struck a bird and left windscreen was damaged; immediate landing;
  • 5 – Houston, United B767
    after take off the airplane was struck by a bird and returned for landing; flight cancelled;
  • 7 – Santo Domingo (Venezuela)
    ASERCA MD82, during the landing struck two cows on the runway;
  • 9 – Orlando
    Southwest B737, after take off the right engine ingested a bird; immediate return with normal parameters but damages found following the engine inspection;
  • 9 – Idaho Falls
    Western Air Express C402, at take off struck a bird; immediate return with damage to a windshield;
  • 12 – New Smyrna Beach (FL)
    Priv. DA 42, on approach struck a bird;
  • 13 – Minneapolis
    Delta B757, after take off struck two geese that caused minor damages to the windshield; emergency landing;
  • 15 – Holly Hill (FL)
    Priv. Pa34, struck a large bird during landing;
  • 16 – Portland
    Hawaiian Airlines B767, at the touch down struck a bird on the runway receiving damage;
  • 16 – Hattiesburg (MS)
    Rico Aviation Cessna 525, struck a deer during landing;
  • 18 – Beauvais
    Ryanair B737, flew through a flock of birds while on approach and received damages; next flight cancelled;
  • 21 – Huntington
    Allegiant Airlines MD83, after touch down three large birds, probably Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura), flew into the path of the aircraft and impacted it;
  • 22 – Baltimora
    Southwest B 737, the left engine ingested a bird that caused vibrations and prompted the crew to return immediately;
  • 23 – Valencia
    ASERCA DC930, after take off the left engine ingested a bird; immediate return;
  • 24 – Denver
    United Airlines B757, on landing an engine ingested a bird; a number of fan blades resulted damaged;
  • 24 – Palm Springs
    Westjet B737, during the initial climb a loud bang was heard during gear retraction; a post flight inspection determined there had been a bird strike;
  • 27 – Johannesburg
    Cathay Pacific A340, during the initial climb the outboard left hand engine ingested a bird that caused substantial damage to fan blades and the engine cowling; immediate return;
  • 29 – Lynchburg
    Piedmont DH8C, during the approach a large bird impacted the aircraft; minor damages;
  • 29 – Minneapolis
    USAirways A321, during the climb a bird struck the aircraft's nose cone just below 4000 feet while they were doing about 220 KIAS; the aircraft burnt off fuel for about 20 minutes before landing; the aircraft received substantial damages;
  • 30 – Istanbul
    Turkish Airlines B737, during the initial climb a bird struck an engine; returned after 50 min.
  • 31 – Goiania
    TAM A319, rejected takeoff at high speed after an engine ingested a large bird; the engine received damage to several fan blades; the crew of an earlier departing aircraft had reported vultures sitting on the runway;

Denver 26.9.2011 – NTSB releases the report
NTSB relesead the final report regarding the incident occurred to an United B757 that during the landing struck a couple of Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) on the runway of Denver airport. The report can be downloaded from
Dubious incident during a go-around
According to the Indian online newspaper Times of India, on 12 March 2012 the crew of an Air India A319 landing at Mumbai decided a go-around suspecting a bird strike. After having selected flaps in up position they did not get the desired thrust and the aircraft tail heavily scraped on the runway causing serious damages but fortunately no injures to the passengers.

Prior to comment this event, we would like to wait for a confirmation or a denial as, according to other sources, oddly the incident has not been reported by any other Indian or international newspaper.
A bird strike in Turin causes a flight cancellation
Only an online passenger complaint for problems related to his flight connection allowed us to know the event occurred on 30 Jan 2012 at Turin.

An Air Nostrum CRJ900, on behalf of Iberia, after take-off struck a bird at about 1800 ft.; the crew duly returned immediately for assessing the damages received.

The flight was cancelled and the aircraft was able to depart the following day.

Relevant events of February 2012
Several impacts with flock of birds have been reported this month; in all cases the flight crew duly decided to return immediately for a safe landing. In one case (25) the flight through the flock occurred at about 200 ft., that means the birds (starlings) were on or near the runways without being detected.

Big mammal strike reports are increasing, in particular with deer and even hogs. Managing an effective fence should be less problematic than keeping under control the whole airport habitat; however events like these go on occurring.
  • 1 - Atlanta
    Airtran B717, on landing a bird struck the nose of the aircraft; damage to the radome;
  • 1 – Bartow
    Priv. Mooney 20, on landing struck a hog;
  • 2 – Chicago
    United Airlines A320, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird.; the crew declared emergency and returned immediately;
  • 2 – Sao Paulo
    Aerolineas Argentinas B737, at take off a bird was sucked into an engine; immediate return with one engine only;
  • 2 – Alcoa
    Priv. Falcon 50, in the initial climb struck a bird and returned without incident;
  • 3 – Abu Dhabi
    Midwest Airlines Egypt B737, a post-flight inspection revealed that the left hand engine had ingested a bird and had been damaged; the aircraft was grounded for repairs;
  • 3 - Toulouse
    Air France A320, at take off the aircraft flew through a flock of birds and suffered several dozens of bird strikes on the nose, both wings, both engines and tail plane; immediate return;

    Photo taken from

    See the blood spots on the nose cone

  • 13 – Mount Pleasant MI (USA)
    Priv. Pa31, during take-off struck a deer on the runway;
  • 14 – Eufaula, AL (USA)
    Priv. C172, struck a deer on landing rollout;
  • 17 – Madrid
    Air France A319, on final approach struck a bird and received damage; next flight cancelled;
  • 25 – Toronto
    Air Canada A319, after take off at about 200 ft. flew through a flock of starlings; a number of birds was ingested into the left hand engine that began to vibrate, another number of birds impacted the outer left hand flaps; the aircraft returned after 65’; 25 dead starlings found on the runway; 5 fan blades needed to be replaced;
  • 26 – St.Louis
    Frontier Airlines A320, after take-off at about 5000 ft. flew through a flock of geese; although there was no abnormal indication, the crew wanted to come back to have the aircraft checked; 4bcf6878.html
  • 27 – Madrid
    Iberia A321, after take-off flew through a flock of birds ingesting at least one bird into the left hand engine and suffering impacts of birds on the fuselage; the engine needed to be shut down; immediate return; 27 – Tampa, Southwest B737, on final approach the aircraft was struck by a bird; reported substantial damage at the leading edge;

Los Angeles 8.10.2010: factual report released
8 November

Los Angeles, Horizon Air DH Dash 8, on approach at about 6600 ft. a bird struck the leading edge of the right wing; substantial damages;

With the remark above we reported the event occurred on 8.10.2010 at Los Angeles. NTSB now released their factual report on the occurrence:

The species impacted is a Common loom (Gavia immer); the average weight for this species is about five kilograms.

The recent ENAC circular APT 01B finally introduced a new criterion for measuring the airport wildlife strike hazard, called BRI2 (i.e. Birdstrike Risk Index, version 2.0). We remind that previously the index was calculated by the number of yearly strikes out of 10.000 aircraft movements.
A brief description of the BRI2 formula and how to calculate it more easily may be found here.

It is quite clear that the BRI2 is a much more sophisticated index not comparable with the raw simplicity of a mere numeric value. The latter did not allow a full assessment of the wildlife hazard severity, given that an airport with 100 collisions with sparrows resulted more “dangerous” than another with 10 multiple impacts with flocks of seagulls.

However we also remind that the numeric index was in use all over the world until the nineties, and that there was no other indication yet of wildlife hazard measurement in Italy. It had had its day but somehow gave a first strong contribution in revealing the state of affairs. However while the rest of the world turned its way towards an index based on single species risk matrix, Italy chose another way. The BRI2 considers only airport data, differently from classic risk matrix that needs a national database. The result is a numeric value (from 0 to 2, with the “attention threshold” at 0.5) that measures the general airport hazard; to identify the most problematic species, as well as the species oriented preventative measures, it is needed to stop at one of the calculation intermediate steps. Then the BRI2 values can be compared only with airports using the same methodology, and therefore not usable with foreign countries airports.

The index weak point, in our opinion, is the method needed for collecting data and the data quality itself. The BRI2 requires a high quality continuous monitoring conducted by specialized personnel, for example capable to calculate the number of individuals in a flock of birds or to use sophisticated mathematical tools. It also needs a remarkable quantity of data, so assuming that such a complete and satisfactory monitoring has been actually adopted from a relatively long time in every airport, and this still is, to put it mildly, under discussion.
We therefore doubt this index can lead to correct and reliable airport risk assessments in the short term, even if we hope – of course - to be immediately contradicted.
Then, while the old system was hard to circumvent, as the impact rough data and the number of movements may come from several sources, this is mostly developed inside the airport and allows to reach the comfortable result to stay below the 0.5 value…. going backwards from a satisfactory result and “arranging” the other values at one’s own convenience.

Apart from pessimism, we will be waiting confidently the BSCI next year report (the circular has been properly issued within 2011 just to eliminate some easy alibi). However, in our humble opinion, ENAC should increase with immediate effect their controls over the airport data collection methodology.

Auditing Airlines?
It is familiar to everyone from a long time to see airports audited in order to assess their compliance with safety standards and procedures as for the wildlife strike issue is involved. The national Bird Strike Committees usually do that, as well as the CAAs , sometime insurance companies, and judges when an accident occurs. Finally even airlines that regularly fly, or are planning to fly, to a certain airport began to do so. In Australia some airports decided in their turn to audit airlines, generally always ready to require preventative measures against wildlife hazard, but less in adopting them. Therefore we suggest to airports, as well as to Aviation Authorities, to submit the following questionnaire to airlines just to assess their problem awareness.

  1. What is the aircrew training syllabus for wildlife hazard recognition, assessment and avoidance?
  2. What are the procedures used by aircrew for assessing site-specific wildlife hazards at ports to which they have not previously flown?
  3. What are the general currency and simulator check protocols for aircrew wildlife knowledge, skills and decision making?
  4. What is the company policy for aircrew to assess imminent wildlife hazards before APP, LNDG and TKOF?
  5. How are potential enroute wildlife hazards assessed before each flight?
  6. Under what circumstances do company pilots request active dispersal of the flight strip before commencing an APP or DEP?
  7. Under what circumstances do company pilots request guidance from a ground observer with respect to current wildlife hazards?
  8. What is the company format for providing wildlife hazard forecasts used in flight planning?
  9. What are the company policies and protocols for the investigation, analysis and reporting of strike incidents?
  10. Over the last year what is the frequency of missed approach, delayed departure, track diversion, change in speed or altitude in response to ATC, AIREP or ground advice of a wildlife hazard?
  11. Over the last year what is the frequency of RTB (Return to Base), delay, diversion or cancellation due to actual strike?
  12. Over the last year what is the total cost to the company as a result of actual strike?
  13. How often does the company’s safety unit review wildlife operational hazards to the fleet and how are the resulting recommendations actioned?
  14. What actions is the company taking to expedite the introduction of bird radar services?
  15. What is the annual company contribution to research & development for wildlife hazard mitigation.

Relevant events of January 2012
The presence of Canada geese in the vicinity of airports begins to be of concern also in Europe, as the event of the 10th at Amsterdam shows. The next day in the same airport another more serious case of multiple impact occurred but there is no evidence yet that it was related to Canada geese.

The event of the 21st in Athens leads us to some considerations: through the occurrence report, with first-hand information, we could know that there is a procedure arranged between the airport Wildlife control team and the Olympic Air Safety Department in case of bird strikes at takeoff. If some doubt arises regarding possible damages, a decision of an immediate return is transmitted to the flight crew after a quick consultation. Then the plane is in any case grounded for thorough investigations. We strongly agree with this practice and we hope it will soon find other followers.
  • 3 – Yakima
    Horizon Air DH Dash 8, was struck by a number of birds while on approach; damages to the spinner of a propeller;
  • 8 – Ft.Lauderdale
    Priv. Beech 1900, on landing a propeller struck some birds;
  • 10 – Amsterdam
    Arkefly B767, on final struck some Canada geese that caused problems to the right hand air conditioning system;
  • 11 – Amsterdam
    Malaysia B747, when climbing after take off at about 700 ft. struck a number of birds that cause erroneous left hand airspeed reading (captain side); immediate return after fuel dumping; a postflight inspection revealed a number of bird strikes, a bird had penetrated the left hand side of the nose cone, the right hand angle of attack sensor had been taken out; departure delayed of 24 hrs;
    (Photo taken from
  • 12 – Louisville
    Chautauqua E 145, on approach the left hand engine was struck by a bird;
  • 13 – Amsterdam
    Pegasus B737, on take off struck a bird; immediate return;
  • 21 – Sacramento
    United Airlines B737, during the initial climb a bird impacted the aircraft and damaged an engine; immediate return, flight cancelled and engine under repair;
  • 21, Athens
    Olympic Air Dash 8, during the initial climb an engine was struck by a bird; immediate return and aircraft grounded for repairs;
  • 22 – Chittagong
    Biman Bangladesh Fokker 28, rejected takeoff after a bird hit and damaged the left hand engine; minor damages;
  • 22 – Indore
    Indigo A320, during the acceleration for takeoff the crew spotted a large bird approaching the aircraft from the right and rejected takeoff at high speed, but could not prevent the bird to hit the engine;
  • an engine received damage to the fan blades and a tyre deflated due to brakes overheating;
  • 30 – Vancouver
    Westjet B737, on take off hit some sea gulls but the crew did not realize it; later on an unusual smell and vibrations from the left engine prompted the crew to immediately return with one engine only; remains of gulls found in the airport; engine damaged;

ENAC releases the circular APT 01B
On 23 December 2011 ENAC released the third version of the Circular APT 01 (downloadable – in Italian -from the page “Normative” of this website). This is a very important paper as it contains significant updates of the current regulation, that we longed several times also in this website.

Let’s analyze the most relevant novelties.

The circular confirms that reporting all wildlife events to the airport operator is an obligation burdening on every airport staff or organization: therefore it is a rule and not a recommendation or a suggestion. There is also a particular focus on the importance of continuously reporting wildlife presence in the movement area by all those who work in an airport and especially by those who directly control the airport areas. This statement appears to be directed, in our opinion, just towards the ATC, so chasing any possible doubt regarding their role.

Another important novelty regards the ecological study that now must be presented by the airport operator regardless of the occurrence of particular events (multiple strikes, ingestions, damaging collisions etc…). The operator must also present a summarized yearly report on wildlife strikes, but mainly must report to ENAC and other local entities the wildlife attractive sources that has identified outside the airport boundaries, in order to allow the adoption of the proper measures for hazard mitigation.

The biggest novelty however is the replacement of the old method for the risk assessment, based only on a numeric criterion (strikes/10k movements), with a new index called BRI2 (Birdstrike Risk Index ver. 2.0) developed jointly with the Università Cà Foscari of Venice; we already presented this new method in this website on February 2010. This new index considers either the frequency or the severity of the impacts: the first is associated with the airport traffic, the number of birds or other wildlife and their behaviour; the second is associated with the number of impacts recorded, the species involved (mainly in terms of body mass) and the event severity. We will talk at length about this index in the future.

A relevant innovation is the obligation not to employ the BCU (Bird Control Unit) personnel in different duties than bird monitoring and harassment on every airport with more than 50.000 movements per year. As for the monitoring of external areas and the identification of attractive sources, ENAC suggest to adopt some measures like technical meetings with local government units whenever new works or activities are planned, the analysis of thematic maps on surrounding land use, the establishment of direct relationships with other stakeholders who have interests and competences in those areas. We remind that they are not talking about the exercise of a sort of moral suasion towards the neighbours, as it often happens in other countries, but about a real administrative power, through the ENAC’s role, that can even bring to demolitions or activity eliminations if deemed not compatible with the flight safety. In the same way new works or activities must be previously authorized by ENAC.

In one of the circular attachments it’s possible to find a (minimum) training program for the staff who will be employed as BCU; a similar program was already adopted either in ours or in other international consulting companies, but now it is formally suggested to all Italian airports as a general guideline. In this way the ICAO Annex 14 requirement (chapt. 9.4), that demands “competent” personnel to control the airport wildlife hazard, also finds its contents, since ICAO did not provide any guidance to define this competence.

The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) makes its appearance among the harassment devices, that is a sonic non-lethal weapon, based on high power concentrated sounds, usable as a tool for controlling flocks of birds and for scaring small groups of them.

Many times on this website we criticized the excessive “mashing” of the entire prevention system on the airport operator and on the naturalistic issues, often forgetting that the bird strike problem is basically an aviation problem; therefore also the other actors on the scene have to be more involved. In another circular attachment we finally find a first answer to our considerations. In fact for the first time some “operational guidelines for aircraft operators” are now presented, showing suggestions for a better airlines (and pilots) involvement that go well beyond the traditional (and generic) duty of impact reporting. It is recommended that the aircraft operators control and even solicit the airport operators to carry out their duties in those airports where their airplanes fly regularly. Then the training of flight crew is mostly emphasized, either in flight planning or in wildlife inducted emergency management. There is also a strong call for clear and unequivocal indications to flight crew about the kind of maintenance to ask for after a bird ingestion, and about the decision whether to make a next flight. We hope that aircraft operators would extend this philosophy even to include the opportunity of an immediate landing after a bird ingestion. At last, other novelty, the identification of a “maximum company speed” that allows to minimize damages in case of impact with large bird species, that are predominant at high altitudes. Also in this case we hope that ENAC, ATC and airlines have soon technical meetings in order to discuss about the opportunity to reduce approach speeds at low altitudes, where the probability to hit a bird is higher.
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