Archive 2013

Major occurrences of December 2013
  • 2 – Placerville (CA)
    Priv. Beech 35, struck a bird and departed runway on landing;
  • 4 – Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen)
    Pegasus B737, during the initial climb reported a bird strike and returned about 30’ later;
  • 6 – Nashville (TN)
    Delta A319, after take-off struck a couple of birds; precautionary return about 30’ later;
  • 10 – Guayaramerin (Bolivia)
    TAM  Transporte Aereo Militar Fokker 27, during the initial climb  a bird contacted the right hand propeller and impacted damaging the leading edge of the right hand wing; immediate return about 15’ later;

    schianto aereo volatili
    (Photo: Andre Saucedo Rock taken from
  • 21 – Sao Luiz
    GOL B737, on approach an engine ingested a bird; next flight cancelled;
  • 24  – Idaho Falls (ID)
    Allegiant Air MD83, on final struck birds and sustained minor damage;
  • 24 – New York
    La Guardia, American Airlines B737, on departure struck a bird that caused minor damage to the leading edge slat;
  • 25 – Newark (NJ)
    Express Jet AirlInes E145, on landing struck birds and sustained damage to an engine and the nose gear;
  • 27 – Sao Tome
    White A310, during the initial climb a bird was ingested into an engine; flight cancelled due to  engine damage;
  • 27 – Phuket
    Air Asia A320, during the initial climb a number of small bird were ingested into an engine; immediate return and flight delayed by about two hours due to  inspection and cleaning of the engine that apparently did not suffer damages;
  • 29 – Dipolog (Filippine)
    PAL Express A320, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird that caused damage to two fan blades; immediate return; 

New bird scaring system tested
The Dutch company Bird Control Group recently tested a prototype of a new product to disperse birds from airports using laser beams. The new device has been called Aerolaser Groundflex. Next year it will be employed at Amsterdam Schipol airport.

Runway incursion of a vehicle

The news would not regard our field of activity but for the vehicle involved, which was engaged in driving birds from the runway. On 29 August 2013 a Wizzair A320 was about to take off from the airport of Debrecen ( Hungary) when the crew, having noticed during the previous landing a large concentration of birds, required a runway inspection. After a first bird removal performed by the bird control staff, the plane was cleared for takeoff. However, the crew still observed the presence of another flock at about mid of the runway and informed the control tower they would not takeoff until all the birds were gone. During the run however the bird control car crossed the runway , forcing the aircraft to reject takeoff.

As the event is a "normal" runway incursions, we wish to point out however the attention of the crew, their perseverance in demanding the complete bird removal, and unfortunately the tower controller lack of attention, who did not notice by himself the presence of a flock of birds settling on the runway.

Anyway, it is well known the cure that Wizzair dedicates to the bird strike prevention, also proved by this very appreciated presentation at the 2012 WBA conference held in Stavanger.

New sentence in Argentina in a lawsuit for damage compensation due to a bird strike

The “Juzgado Nacional de Primera Istancia en lo Civil y Comercial Federal n. 6” of Buenos Aires released a very important sentence at the end of a lawsuit regarding damage compensation further to a bird strike. The Argentinian airline Austral sued Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 claiming for a compensation of damages suffered by an its own B737 that impacted with a flock of birds (pigeons) at Newbery airport in Buenos Aires. As they were race pigeons, the owner was identified thanks to a bird ring with his code found inside one engine.

Following a thorough explanation of the verdict, the judge concluded it was a fortuitous case and rejected all the plaintiff requests discharging both the airport and the bird farmer.

Major occurrences of November 2013
  • 31 October – Santa Clara (CA)
    American Airlines B737, during the departure roll struck a bird that causes substantial damage;
  • 1 – Sacramento (CA)
    Hawaiian Airlines B767, enroute suffers multiple bird strikes that cause unknown damage;
  • 1 – Sacramento (CA)
    Hawaiian Airlines B767, during the approach a bird struck an engine; minor damage;
  • 1 – Sacramento (CA)
    Skywest Embraer EMB 120, bird strike on final approach; minor damage;
  • 1 – Chicago
    Cathay Pacific B747, on approach a bird struck the nose cone

    schianto aereo
    (Photo from
  • 2- Chittagong
    Air Arabia 320, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate return and flight postponed to the next day;
  • 2- Vancouver
    Air Canada B767, during rotation the aircraft accelerated through a small flock of birds, a number of birds were ingested into the right hand engine causing an increased indication of vibrations; the crew decided to return for landing; the right hand engine and nose cowl needed to be replaced;
  • 2 – Washington (PA)
    Priv. EMB 500, after landing struck a deer on the runway; minor damage;
  • 7 – Aalborg
    SAS A320, rejected take off at high speed after an engine ingested a bird; substantial damage;
  • 12 – Dallas
    American Airlines B757, during the initial climb a bird impacted the aircraft; immediate return in emergency; damage to engine, wing and stabilizer;
  • 14 – Savannah (GA)
    Priv. Gulfstream G IV, bird strike at take off, immediate landing, substantial damage;
  • 15 – San Jose (CA)
    American Airlines MD83, in the initial climb crossing 900 ft.  a bird was ingested in the right engine causing a shut down; immediate return after declaring emergency;
  • 16 – Lynchburg (VA)
    Priv. Beech 35, on landing a wing struck a deer on the runway;
  • 18 – Burwell (NE)
    Priv. PA 28, on landing struck a deer on the runway; substantial damage;
  • 19 – Tampa (FL)
    Gulf Atlantic Airways Cessna 500, on departure struck a bird; damage to an engine and the cargo door;
  • 21 – Windsor Locks (CT)
    Air Georgian Beech 1900D, on landing struck a bird that caused damage to the tail section;
  • 24 – New York (JFK)
    Virgin America A320, on approach at about 2000 ft. struck a bird that caused damage to the right engine, its cowling and the gear door (see photo below);

    schianto aereo
    (Photo taken from business
  • 25 – San Diego (CA)
    Delta A320, during the initial climb a bird was ingested in an engine; immediate landing 20’ after take-off;
  • 25 – Istanbul
    Turkish Airlines B777, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate return about 30’ later;
  • 29 –Manchester (NH)
    Southwest B737, at departure flew through a flock of small birds a number of which were ingested probably in both engines that were operating regularly however; immediate landing;

ENAC release the annual report of the Bird Strike Committee Italy

ENAC published on their official website the 2012 BSCI Annual Report (in Italian).

As usual we present here a brief summary (in English). 

Major occurrences of October 2013

A brief comment on the events of this month; once again a helicopter pilot was injured as a result of an impact of a bird on the windshield and was forced to land. It is not the first case this year and the issue should arouse concern and mainly a reflection over the adequacy and effectiveness of the current certification requirements of these types of aircraft.

Anything new instead regarding the presence of deer on American minor runways; they’re frequent events unfortunately.

  • 4 – Pisa
    Easyjet A319, during the landing roll struck a gull with an engine; no damage;
  • 6 – Chicago
    American Airlines B777, crossing 5000 ft. after take off struck two birds; immediate return about 25’ later;
  • 6 – Ft. Myers (FL)
    AirTran B717, climbing after take-off reported a bird strike; after a radio talk with the company dispatch, and in spite all engines were running normally, the crew decided to make a precautionary landing 25’ later; inspection did not  reveal any damage; flight successfully completed; 
  • 6 – Dallas
    Korean Air B777, after take off the left engine ingested a bird; immediate return; the engine suffered substantial damage;
  • 9 – Oneway (MI)
    Priv. Cessna 310, on landing struck a deer on the runway;
  • 12 – Omaha (NE)
    Priv. Cessna 525, struck a bird with the wingtip; substantial damage;
  • 17 – Istanbul
    Turkish Airlines A340, after take off struck a number of birds one of which hit an engine; precautionary return;
  • 18 – Dallas
    Qantas B747, climbing after take off the outboard left engine ingested a large bird; the crew initially continued the flight but later on diverted to Los Angeles; a number of fan blades needed to be replaced;
  • 19 – Cooperton (OK)
    Priv. Bell 407, forced landing after windshield suffered a bird strike; minor injury to the pilot;
  • 20 – Houston (Wayne Hooks Memorial Apt.)
    Priv. Pa44, on landing struck a deer on the runway; minor damage;
  • 20 – Near Madison (MS)
    Metro Aviation Eurocopter AS350, forced landing in a field after windshield suffered a bird strike; substantial damage;
  • 22 – Puerto Plata (Dominican Rep.)
    Sunwing B737, in the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird that caused severe vibrations; diversion to Punta Cana one hour later due to weather;
  • 23 – Miami
    American Airlines B737, on final flew through a flock of birds that caused  dents to the right engine inlet and  to the right slats and flaps that needed to be replaced;
  • 24 – Albert Lea (MN)
    Priv. Be200, struck a flock of geese on approach;
  • 24 – Bermuda
    Delta B737, during the final approach flew through a flock of small birds that caused dents on both engines, wing roots and wing leading edges; return flight cancelled;
  • 24 – Hong Kong
    Finnair A330, bird strike during the initial climb; immediate return for other kind of technical problems;
  • 27 – Kansas City
    Republic Airlines ERJ 170, descending through 12.300 ft suffered a bird strike that caused damage to the left wing leading edge;
  • 28 – Nashville (TN)
    Southwest B737, during the initial climb at 2000 ft  at least one bird was ingested in the left engine that produced vibrations and unusual noises however still running; immediate landing in emergency 12’ later; minor damage;
  • 28 – Kodiak (AK)
    Aero Air Lear 35, on departure struck a bird, returned  immediately with damage to the wing leading edge; 
  • 31 – Sacramento
    Hawaiian Airlines B767, during the approach, downwind at 4000 ft, one of the engines ingested multiple birds that caused damage;
  • 31 – S.Jose (CA)
    American Airlines B737, rejected take off at high speed after a bird strike; substantial damage;

Birds at Milan Linate

schianto aereo

This photo has been taken on the 28th of October at about  08.00 AM at Milan Linate airport. A flock of starlings is taking off for crossing the runway extension while a little airplane is on short final. We think  there are some considerations that we may draw from this, and that you may read here.

German Court: airlines are not responsible for delays caused by bird strikes

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe stated that bird strikes qualified as “extraordinary circumstances” which meant airlines do not have to pay compensation to passengers.

The Court was deciding on the cases of two tourists who were stuck in Gambia in Africa and in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands because birds got into the jet engines of the planes that had to take them  home. In both cases passengers managed to arrive home one day later the scheduled day.

The Court said airlines could not be expected to hold spare planes at every airport in case of a bird strike and added they could not be held responsible for delays.

We consider this decision correct and coherent; it would not be the same if a general discharge of liability had been sentenced in favour of the airport, in this case not sued by the passengers. In our opinion the matter of the airport liability in case of bird strike should be examined individually, as a bird strike to an aircraft at an airport cannot always be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

So far in Italy the few civil lawsuits regarding damage compensation following a bird strike always ended with a recognition of liability (also) of the airport operator.

India is seeking 45 avian radars

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has issued a tender for 45 bird detection systems to be installed at their air bases, where often abattoirs and rubbish dumps proliferate on their outskirts.  The IAF calculates  that bird strikes are responsible for about 10% of accidents to military airplanes, especially when they are engaged in low-altitude missions. Most avian radars have a range of about 10 km. and  may give pilots vital notice of flock of birds on the aircraft path before landing and take off; radars may also cooperate with ground staff in dispersing birds.  

At the present time, given the low cost of local manpower, the bird scaring and dispersal service is only into the hands of human resources: New Delhi airport, for example, employs about 80 bird scarers using fireworks to scare birds away from the runways.

The employment in a military environment (where the same subject manages flight operations,  airport and air traffic control) solves one of the most crucial problems arising from avian radars, i.e. who should be the user of the system. As is common knowledge, ATC agencies don’t look favorably on further duties to their personnel, as well as “alien presences” in TWRs.

No initiative concerning avian radars is currently reported underway in Italy.

Major occurrences of September 2013

Some considerations on September occurrences.  Deer strikes on small airports in the USA are increasing: three events in this month (2,8,10) plus another one in the last month. According to some estimates, deer in the USA  reach the awesome number of 25 millions, one out of 12 inhabitants. Confronted to this, the number of airports clearly lacking in a suitable fence is still very high. Particularly remarkable is the event occurred on the 10th  to a small aircraft on scheduled commercial service.

Bird strikes that cause injures to pilots or passengers are fortunately rare; however it happened twice this month, on the 12th and on 28th.  In both cases small aircraft were involved, for which the rigorous certification requirements provided for airliners do not apply. These occurrences however, in our opinion, should lead to reconsider this matter. Another remarkable event (7) is the loss of an helicopter due to a   abrupt turn to avoid a large flock of birds  while enroute.

Finally let’s go back once again to the crew behaviour following a bird strike, especially in case of bird ingestion into an engine after take-off. Seven times out of nine cases reported on this month flight crew elected to land immediately. Two decided instead to continue the flight in the absence of abnormal parameters: in both these circumstances the aircraft received damages and in one case indeed (28th) the airplane was  forced to land on an alternate airport. One of the problems connected with these different choices is the lack of clear indications in the airline flight manuals on ‘what to do’ in case of bird strike/ingestion.

Fortunately most pilots opt for cautious choices.

  • 10 August -  Donetsk
    UTAir Ukraine ATR 42, on rotation struck a dog on the runway with the right main landing gear; 
  • 29 August - Napa (CA)
    Priv. Cessna 750, on landing struck a deer;
  • 30 August -  enroute over U.S.
    Dornier 328, during the flight birds struck an engine causing substantial damage; immediate diversion and landing at Cincinnati (OH);
  • 2 – Winifred (MT)
    Priv. Cessna 310, on take off struck a deer;
  • 2 – Raleigh-Durham
    Southwest B737, during the initial climb the crew reported they lost one engine due to a bird strike; several delays for other traffic due to debris on the runway until the landing of 737;
  • 2 – Flint (MI)
    Southwest B737, during the take off roll went through a flock of birds and suffered multiple impacts; the crew reported control problems but landed few minutes later; two birds of prey found near the runway; substantial damage
  • 7 – Amistad (NM)
    IDOT Bell 206, made an abrupt turn to avoid a massive bird strike while enroute, but was unable to recover complete control before it struck terrain; no injured;
    schianto aereo
  • 8 – Woodstock (CO)
    Priv. Pa24, struck a bird on departure and force landed in a corn field;
  • 8 –Sherman Bluff (GA)
    Priv. Cessna 172, on landing struck a deer on the runway;
  • 10 – Rockland (ME)
    Cape Air Cessna 402, on departure struck a deer on the runway; taxied back to the ramp with unknown damage;
  • 11 – Newcastle B737, after takeoff during the initial climb flew through a flock of gulls and suffered multiple impacts; immediate return; on final there was a fire indication for the left engine that later proved to be unfounded;
  • 12 – Lihue (HI)
    Priv. Eurocopter AS355, struck a bird shattering the windshield and injury a passenger;
  • 13 – Fort Myers (FL)
    Southwest B737, during the initial climb struck a bird that caused strong vibrations but not abnormal parameters; not knowing how and where the impact occurred, the crew returned for landing 15’ later;
  • 13 – Vienna
    Austrian Airlines A321, bird strike prompted the crew to reject  the take off at high speed; flight cancelled;
  • 14 – Pisa
    Easyjet A 319, during the initial climb the crew reported a bird strike into one engine; immediate return 35’ later; airport closed for one hour and replacement aircraft;
  • 14 – Salt Lake City
    Skywest CRJ600,  after take off  flew through a large flock of birds at about 5000 feet and suffered a number of bird impacts; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination where an inspection revealed damages;
  • 18 – Dallas
    Jetblue ERJ190, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike that affected the left engine; precautionary landing 90’ later due to burning off fuel;
  • 18 – Miami
    American Eagle ERJ145, on final at 1000 ft. struck a large bird, probably a vulture; the next aircraft on approach was advised by the TWR about birds and chose to go around;
  • 20 – Medellin
    Avianca A318, during the initial climb the left engine was struck by a large bird, probably a vulture; immediate return;
  • 21 - Orlando/Toronto
    Canjet B737, a post-flight inspection revealed substantial damage to the leading edge of the left  wing whose n. 2 slat had to be replaced;  it was not possible to determine where  the bird strike occurred;
  • 22 – Djerba
    Tunis Air B737, on final  two large birds impacted the nose gear causing a hydraulic leak; the crew stopped the aircraft on the runway fearing some gear damage;
  • 28 – Near Somerset (KY)
    Priv. VANS RV10, in flight, windshield sustained damage from a bird strike; minor injuries to the pilot;
  • 28 – Multan (Pakistan)
    Flydubai B737, during the take off run the right engine ingested a number of birds; in absence of abnormal parameters the crew decided to continue the flight to destination; already enroute some time later the crew received abnormal indications for the engine however and decided to divert to Karachi; 

Major occurrences of August 2013

Once in a while the wildlife species struck on the runways change; this time they are cows in Indonesia (6th): airports should never lack for an adequate fence.

One of the recurrent problems is the perception of the bird strikes by the flight crew: in case of ingestion into engines it is always recommended to immediately land in order to ascertain the possible damage. But sometimes ingestions do not give any signal to flight crew that, in absence of abnormal parameters, continue their flight to destination, where eventually the damages are revealed. This is probably the event occurred at Richmond on the 21st.

  • 28 July - Lviv
    Ukraine International Airline B737, immediately after the rotation a pigeon was ingested into the right engine; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination; a post flight inspection revealed four damaged fan blades as well as bird remains inside the engine;
  • 3 – Amsterdam
    Corendon Dutch B737, bird strike on the runway at take off; immediate return 30’ later; flight delayed of 2,5 hours;
  • 3 – Houston
    United Airlines B737, bird strike on the runway at take off; immediate return 9’ later; minor damage;
  • 6 – Gorontalo (Indonesia)
    Lionair B737, after a normal night landing struck a number of cows that were standing on the runway, which resulted in a brake failure, and came to a stop 10 mt. after the paved surface; minor damage; 

      (Photo taken from
  • 12 – Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Skywest Airlines CRJ 900, on final struck a bird; minor damage;
  • 17 – Lahore
    PIA A310, on final an engine ingested a bird; this  required a number of spare parts to be flown there; the airline complained the passivity of Pakistan authorities in containing the threat posed by birds at airports;
  • 21 – Richmond (VA)
    US Airways A319, during accelerating for takeoff the right hand engine ingested birds; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination; a post flight inspection revealed damage to the engine;
  • 22 – Dallas
    American Airlines MD82, during the initial climb the crew reported the loss of the left engine; immediate return 20’ later; substantial damage to the engine;
  • 26 – Atlanta
    Delta A319, on approach a bird impacted the nose of the aircraft; damage to radome;
  • 29 – Sibiu
    Lufthansa CRJ900, during the take off run went through a flock of gulls with two of the birds damaging the left wing; takeoff and immediate return;
  • 29 – Dammam
    Saudia Arabian Airlines A321, on approach flew through a flock of birds that caused damage to the radome, windscreen and the leading edge of the wings;

    (Photos taken from

  • 30 – Bodrum
    Atlasjet A320, during take off the left engine ingested birds; the crew shut the engine down and diverted to another airport;

Burros, goats, sheep and even llamas to manage grass at O’Hare airport

According to some newspapers, the Chicago Aviation Department is employing several species of mammals to manage the natural vegetation in remote and fenced airfield areas. The second purpose the airport is aiming for is to keep away other species potentially hazardous to air navigation, such as the coyote.,0,6445395.story

In wildlife strike expert circles the news has been taken with some skepticism, reminding that the introduction of these animals in a problematic environment like an airport should always be preceded by naturalistic studies and that the cure might even be worse than the disease; actually, according to the experts, these animals may  alter the ecosystem in a way that will attract  other wildlife species, like birds, not previously present in the area.

SITA Do228 – 28.09.2012 -Nepal's Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission (NAAIC) released their final report

The Nepal's Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission released their final report on the accident occurred on 28.9.2012 to a SITA Do228 that, while taking off from Kathmandu airport, struck a bird and crashed on the ground killing all its occupants.,%20DO228Accident_Investigation_FinalReport.pdf

The investigation results substantially contradict the first information provided by the Nepali authorities, starting by the bird species (Black kite, Milvus migrans), that we reported at the time (cfr. Archives 2012)

If I can’t manage the problem of pigeons on my balcony, how can I hope to solve it at airports?
That’s what I was thinking some days ago, disappointed by the continuous failures in the struggle against the winged invaders. Lines of sharp points, images of birds of prey and other doodads were not sufficient: after few days of abandonment of property the implacable birds take possession of your space. And I am supposed to be the expert!

Then I reflected: the problem, on the balconies as well as at airports, is mainly a matter of will and resources deployed. If I really needed to keep my balcony clear, if the problem was not only a bunch of guano at the end of the holidays, it would be sufficient some Euros to a person who daily comes to my house, opens the windows and lets understand that there’s people inside. As usual it’s a cost-benefit matter.

The problem of birds at airports it’s not a matter of guano; it’s a matter that involves the safety of people and airplanes. It’s a matter of ethics too, because somehow the safeguard of human life is connected with the deployment of financial resources. It should be well kept in mind while planning investments for safety.

Major occurrences of July 2013
  • 5 -  Istanbul
    Turkish Airlines B737, on take off flew through a flock of birds and suffered a number of impacts that caused damage to one engine; immediate return about 25’ later;
  • 6 – Beloyarsky
    UTAir AN24, on take off the right engine ingested a bird; the crew stopped the climb at 200 meters, performed a procedure turn, feathered the right hand propeller, shut the engine down and landed in opposite direction about 4 minutes later;
  • 26 – Atlanta
    Delta Airlines B757, bird strike just after take-off; precautionary landing 70’ later;

Tokyo will host the next WBA conference
The next World Birdstrike Association conference will be held in Tokyo from 24 to 26 September 2014, organized by the Japanese Bird Strike Committee. The WBA was established by decision of the participants in the 30th conference of the International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC), held in Stavanger in 2012, and took over the aforementioned organization. The next will therefore be also the 31th edition of the world meeting, which is normally held every two years, and the first of the new organization.

Major occurrences of June 2013
  • 2 – Philadelphia
    USAirways A321, on landing flew through a flock of birds and one was ingested in the right engine; the next arrival also reported flying through a flock of birds;
  • 6 – Barranquilla
    Avianca A320, rejected take off when the left hand engine  ingested  a heron; the airport complained the presence of  large garbage dumps around the aerodrome that attract migratory wildlife despite the use of falconry;
  • 6 – Westchester
    Jetblue ERJ 190, flew through a flock of birds just during rotation and  hit a number of them; diversion in emergency to New York JFK;
  • 14 – Regina
    Kelowna Flightcraft B727, on short final struck a bird that caused substantial damage to the radome and the leading edge of the right wing; the carcass of a duck recovered on the runway;  
  • 21 – Campo Grande
    TAM A320, during the initial climb one of the engines  ingested a bird and showed abnormal parameters; immediate return and flight cancelled;
  • 23 (?) – Unknown locality
    American Airlines B777, departure from Dallas halted after a hole in the leading edge of the right  wing was discovered as result of a bird strike on a previous flight; flight cancelled;
    (Photo taken from
  • 25 – Cardiff, Thomson B787
    on take off the right engine ingested a bird; in absence of abnormal parameters the crew continued the training  flight to  destination; a post flight inspection revealed damage to the right  engine requiring repairs;
  • 25 – Reus
    Thomas Cook B757, on take off  the right  engine  ingested a bird and showed abnormal vibrations that prompted the crew to return  about 30 minutes later; found damages to the fan blades;
      (Photo taken from

A first consideration regards once again the presence of  landfills in the vicinity of airports (in this case Barranquilla in Colombia – see June 6 -). We remind that  ICAO requires a minimum distance of 13 km between these plants and an airport. It is clear that any means of bird dispersal (in this case the falconry) does not produce the desired effects if it is not integrated in a habitat restored and controlled.

A second observation concerns the event of the  25 in Cardiff:  a bird ingestion into an engine on takeoff that apparently did not cause any effect, only to discover later some damages to the fan blades; if only a small piece of metal had broken away, the entire engine could have been destroyed.

Finally the surprising event of the 23 in Dallas  when, with the passengers already on board and the aircraft ready for departure, someone from the ground eventually noticed a conspicuous hole in a wing caused by the impact with a bird. Given the hole size, it is unlikely that the damage occurred at  low altitude and speed, and it’s pretty odd that it had not been noticed by the crew itself either in flight or on the ground.

FAA released a new circular on wildlife strike reporting

On 31 May 2013 the American FAA issued the Circular  150/5200-32B regarding the reporting  of collisions between  aircraft and wildlife. The FAA focuses on the differences and non-homogeneity of the reports across the different stakeholders of the aviation system, and reaffirms  the importance of  proper data collection and transmission. On the other hand FAA do not make  wildlife reporting mandatory, like many other countries - including Italy -  do, and thus it remains voluntary in the USA.

The first Falco Robot GBRS (Gregarious Birds Removal System) model maker has passed away.
Scompare il primo realizzatore del Falco Robot GBRS - Alberto Paparo

Alberto Paparo, 46, the aircraft model enthusiast from Bologna who in 1997 modeled the prototype of the Falco Robot, specifically designed to remove  birds from airports,  died after a short illness on June 21st.

Brainchild of Paolo Iori, a dentist with a passion for ornithology, the Falco Robot GBRS initially showed some aerodynamic flaws that caused problems to the flight; Paparo progressively eliminated all the structural defects, used the most suitable materials and, thanks also his extraordinary skill of "remote pilot" made it a formidable deterrent tool.

After several tests, the device was officially presented in 2006 at the landfill of Novellara to the Chairman of the BSCI, who was favorably impressed and pointed  it out to the Italian CAA. A further exhibition at Genoa airport  soon followed, as well as  a longer period of field tests at Rome Fiumicino , whose results were then presented at the 2008 Brasilia IBSC conference (the full paper may be found in the "Documents" page of this website  under the title "Beyond  falconry between tradition and modernity").

Although not being an entirely original idea, prototypes had already been built in the 70s and 80s, the Falco Robot GBRS showed significant innovations in terms of  incredible resemblance to the birds of prey, a Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) in this case, engines, materials used and remote control. These were  aspects  which Alberto Paparo  devoted himself with patience and dedication, as well as with extraordinary technical ability, along with the designer Paolo Iori.

Over the years  a small series production was started with further technical improvements. 

Despite the undoubted tactical effectiveness (no other means can disperse birds and clear the area in a matter of seconds steering their escape towards a predetermined safe direction), the device did not meet with much success in Italy however, while it aroused great interest  in several other countries such as Spain,  Latin America, Israel and Canada.

Possible reasons of the project slow down at home were mainly  mistrust of novelties and constant demands for more and more data and experimentations on the part of the potential users, who instead slavishly accept devices less effective but perhaps supported by more convincing sponsors.

BC&T’s  deepest sympathy goes to Alberto Paparo’s family,  his colleagues  and all his friends.
Massive reduction of the geese number around Schipol airport

Dutch authorities recently announced  drastic measures to reduce the number of geese around Amsterdam airport (Schiphol). According to this decision about 10,000 geese belonging to several species and living within a radius of 20 km. should be gassed.  This weighty decision probably originated from an incident involving a Royal Air Maroc B737 that in 2010  during takeoff flew through a large flock of Canada geese that were settling on the edge of the runway and suffered multiple bird strikes.

The investigation board ascertained that the flight crew  made several errors during the following landing procedure that led to fly over  intensely populated urban areas at very low altitude (even lower than some buildings). The event however ended  without any injury. To be frank, the report omitted to explain how it was possible that a so large  flock of big birds  could settle  on the edge of an active runway without being observed, and dispersed, but the news raised concern anyway. The Board concluded their report urging the Government to take drastic measures for a significant decrease in the number of birds. The Dutch animal rights groups  fought to avoid this conclusion, even in Courts, but apparently they lost their battle.

Canada geese are not Europe native,  however; they were introduced in Britain in the XIX century to adorn  parks and gardens and spread rapidly across the northern part of the continent finding favorable conditions and few predators. This should lead to reflect  before  artificially creating disturbances to the ecological balance of a region. Furthermore such a massive culling  did not prove so far to cause positive long-term  effects, as demonstrated in the nineties by the example of New York JFK airport, where about 10,000 gulls  were shot down: they returned after a few months more or less in the same number. However, when the situation becomes unbearable, and the risks to people are actual, this measure appears to be unavoidable at least to get an immediate relief. In our humble opinion it would be desirable also an increase in the preventative measures  and bird removal procedures inside the airport in order to avoid as much as possible the settling of large flocks of birds around the active runways.

Major occurrences of May 2013
  • 1 – Buenos Aires
    Aerolineas Argentinas A340, bird strike during the initial climb; the aircraft returned about two hours after the take off;
  • 1 – Kisangani
    Compagnie Africaine Aviation A320, during the take-off run an engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to reject take off at high speed; as result all the four tyres of the main gear deflated;
  • 8 – Mosca Sheremetyevo
    Aeroflot A320, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird that caused severe vibrations; immediate return 15’ later; damage to the fan blades;
  • 11 – Dublin
    Aer Lingus A320, during the initial climb the crew reported multiple bird strikes and the aircraft returned 15’ later;
  • 12 – Verona
    Air Dolomiti ERJ195, rejected take off at high speed after the ingestion of seagulls into one engine;
  • 12 – Zurigo
    Swiss Airlines A319 upon rotation an engine ingested a bird that caused the engine spooling down but not the shut down; the aircraft returned 40’ later;
  • 12 – Charlotte (NC)
    USAirways A320, on landing one of the engines ingested a bird; the damage to the engine is being determined;
  • 13 – Parintins (Brazil)
    Trip Linhas Aereas ATR-72, rejected take-off due to a bird sucked into the right engine and subsequent engine failure;
  • 13 – Clayton (AL)
    Priv. Cessna 525, on landing struck a deer;
  • 16 – Dusseldorf
    Lufthansa A321, rejected take-off at high speed due to a bird strike;
  • 16 – Halifax
    Sunwing B737, during the initial climb suffered a multiple bird strike at 500 ft. with bird ingestion into the left engine; returned 30’ later in emergency with one engine only;
  • 17 – Porto Alegre
    TAM A 320, during the initial climb the left engine ingested a bird; immediate return with only one engine;
  • 19 – Moscow (Sheremetyevo)
    Aeroflot A320, during the  takeoff the left hand engine ingested a bird; the crew continued the takeoff, but due to increased vibrations they decided to return  after having burnt  off fuel for about one hour;
  • 22 – Washington
    United Airlines B777, during the initial climb the right engine suffered two bird strikes; returned in emergency after having dumped fuel;
  • 23 – Cairns
    Jetstar A321, during the initial climb the left engine ingested a bird; immediate return about 30’ later complicated by a go around due to strong cross wind;
  • 27 – Georgetown (SC)
    Priv. Cirrus SR22, struck a deer on take off roll;
  • 31 – Porto
    Portugalia F100,  rejected takeoff at high speed after a bird impacted the aircraft and damaged the left hand pitot tube; flight delayed due to maintenance; 

The wildlife strikes in the ENAC 2012 report

After the ANSV (Agency for Flight Safety and Accident Investigations), also ENAC (Italian CAA) dedicated a short paragraph to wildlife strikes in their annual report 2012. In the chapter “Safety”

   pag. 82 – in Italian -), and still waiting for the definitive data to be released by the national Bird Strike Committee, we can read that the total number of 2012 impacts was 906, whose 801 below 300 ft. and 105 above. With regard to 2011 (881, 802 and 79) there is now an increase of 2,8% in total impacts, but in the same time the air traffic decreased of  4,5%.

ENAC attribute this objective growth in the number of impacts “probably” to the increase of wildlife in the airport environments.

This statement is remarkable since ENAC instead for many years emphasized the increase of bird strike reports just as the result of a greater awareness of the airport operators.

Immediately after however the report points out  that the problem is not only ours, quoting a FAA study according to which wildlife strikes quintupled in the last decades in the United States, despite the evolution of bird dispersing techniques.

The paragraph ends citing the tasks and the activities carried out by BSCI over the year.

Putting aside the comparisons with well different situations (here the impacts triplicated in only one decade, anyway), the Americans, among many criticisms, are reacting however, and their main problem regards big sized migratory birds. Here the problem is mainly an airport issue.

Hence the question we ask is the following: if the wildlife presence at airports is in constant increase, as well as the impacts, which aspect of prevention, from general strategy, to stakeholders roles, to practical measures, must be improved, if not changed?

We wait to read in depth analysis and concrete proposals in the BSCI annual report that will be released soon. 

The bird strike issue in the ANSV annual report

The ANSV (Italian Agency for Flight Safety) released their 2012 annual report on the state of safety of civil aviation in Italy. Inside the paper there is room for a brief commented presentation of the significant events based on the 95 bird strike reports received by the Agency. Anyway in the year 2012 ANSV did not recognize in any of these occurrences  the conditions for opening a formal investigation. This led the Agency to consider confirmed the general perception of the phenomenon as currently “under control”,   much more than in the recent past.  We remind however that the 2012 BSCI annual report has not been released yet.

To be frank, it is difficult to understand the underestimation at least of one event occurred at Genoa airport on 24.9.2012, when a British Airways B737 flew through a flock of gulls on take-off. Some birds were ingested into both engines which however behaved differently. The left engine began to heavily vibrate and had to be shut down in flight forcing the crew to return to Genoa with only one engine. The right engine, which never stopped running, was instead shut down after the emergency landing due to abnormal parameters. The aircraft then had to be towed to the parking stand. Dual ingestions already occurred in the past at Genoa:  this is the third (known) case of multiple ingestion but the first one involving a twin engine. The first two are far enough in the past and involved two cargo aircraft, a Bae 146  (1989) and an An124 (1997). Instead the incident analysis and mainly the Agency recommendations would be rather useful especially with regard to particular local situations like, for example, the management of the landfill nearby and  the airport breakwater. 

Major occurrences of April 2013
  • 3 – Papeete
    Air France B777, on short final flew through a flock of small birds, probably Lorikeets (Vini australis), and ingested a number into an engine; return flight cancelled;
  • 4 – Newark
    Jazz CRJ200, during the climb crossing 9000 ft. struck a bird that caused minor damages; the aircraft continued to destination;
  • 6 – Ponta Delgada (Portugal)
    SATA A320, on landing struck a bird; the aircraft had sustained damage requiring repairs;
  • 6 – Mosca Sheremetyevo
    Aeroflot Superjet 100-95, after landing an inspection revealed damage to the first section of right hand slats and the right hand engine pylon; it is unclear where the event occurred;
  • 9 – Kahului
    Hawaiian Airlines B717, at touch down struck a bird that caused minor damage to the fuselage;
  • 13 – Kinmen
    Far Eastern Air Transport MD82, during the initial climb the right engine ingested a bird causing a loud bang and prompting the crew to shut the engine down; immediate return;
  • 16 – Dallas
    American Airlines MD82, on take off both the  engines ingested birds; immediate return;
  • 21 – Dallas
    American Eagle ERJ145, bird strike on take off; immediate return; 

Major occurrences of March 2013
The problem of geese at Amsterdam airport is getting pretty serious; moreover the number reduction programs based on selective culling are meeting strong difficulties due to the resistances from animal rights groups. We remind that an incident more serious than this (04 March) occurred on 6 June 2010 to a Royal Air Maroc B737.
  • 4 – Amsterdam
    EasyJet A319, during the initial climb flew through a flock of Greater White-Fronted Geese (Anser albifrons, weight up to 3.3kg/7.3lbs), ingesting a number of birds in the left engine; the crew reported vibrations at the engine and returned immediately;
  • 7 – Charlotte (NC)
    Delta Airlines A320, hit birds on take off; engine parts found on the runway; take off rejected;
  • 8 – Manaus
    TAM A320, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate return;
  • 10 – Geneva
    Air Canada B767, on final hit a bird that caused a large dent in the radome; return flight cancelled;

    (Photo taken from
  • 11- Little Rock (AR)
    Priv. Lear 35, struck a bird on landing, damaging the tip tank;
  • 10 - Makhachkala (Russia)
    Tupolev 154M, on landing collided with a bird; a post flight inspection revealed punctures of the inboard right hand flaps as result of the bird strike;
  • 17 – Vancouver
    Japan Air Lines B767, rejected take off at high sped due to a probable bird ingestion into the right engine; all 8 main tyres deflated;
  • 20 – Agartala
    Indigo A320, during the initial climb an engine ingested a bird; immediate return;
  • 24 – Calgary
    Skywest CRJ 700, in the initial climb o the right hand engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to shut the engine down and immediately return;
  • 27 – Kuwait
    Gulf Air A320, during the initial climb a bird impacted the right hand windshield causing it to crack; immediate return about 15 minutes after departure;
  • 31 – Omaha (NE)
    Skywest CRJ700, on approach descending through 2500 feet flew through a flock of 6 to 8 white birds with one bird impacting the left hand wing and causing a large dent at the leading edge;

South Korean Accident Investigation Board released two final reports regarding bird strike events

The South Korean Accident Investigation Board (ARAIB) released two final reports regarding serious incidents occurred at Gimpo airport (South Korea) on December 2011 and unreported until now.  The most serious occurred on the 4th of December to a Jeju Air Boeing 737. After take-off, climbing through about 190 ft. the aircraft flew through a flock of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) with both engines  ingesting birds and receiving serious damage resulting in severe vibrations of both engines as well as partial loss of thrust.  The crew attempted to gradually reduce engine thrust slightly, which helped to stabilise the engines and reduce the vibrations, then climbed the aircraft  reaching a maximum of 3200 feet with the thrust available and managed  to safely return to Gimpo. 

The Investigation Board reported that Gimpo airport  has a wildlife control program, which includes the use of bird scare devices and bird patrols responsible to detect movements of birds and scare them away. The bird patrols however only rely on naked eye observations to detect birds moving in the area, then report those bird movements to the tower prompting the controllers, who could then delay departures or arrivals as necessary. Scaring devices are mainly gas cannons and firearms; however these measures prove to be not effective also because of the environmental situation of the airport surrounded by 13km of agricultural land including rivers and streams.

The flight crew was aware prior to departure of the ATIS  broadcast reporting bird activity.  The Board concluded stating that the probable causes of the serious incident were the missed detection of the flock of birds, so that takeoff was not delayed, and an ineffective system to detect movements of migratory birds.
The second report regards an Asiana Airlines Airbus A330 that on the 25th of December took-off to Tokyo. When climbing through 623 ft.  the crew sighted six geese (Anser albifrons) but could not avoid the right hand engine ingesting at least one of them. The right hand engine lost power while vibration indications increased. The crew continued a normal climb schedule up to 4000 ft. but, after a further vibration increase, contacted the airline dispatcher while ATC, in the absence of an emergency declaration but informed about the bird strike, cleared the aircraft to climb to FL230. Following the contact with dispatch the crew decided to stop the climb at 8000 feet and return to Gimpo Airport.

The Board also in this case concluded that the probable causes of the incident were
the takeoff not delayed despite the presence of birds in the departure path and
the lack of an  effective system to detect movements of migratory birds. Therefore they re-iterated the safety recommendations issued in the report above.

This website deals extensively with the investigation board conclusions (see page Investigations and Legal) for two reasons: as first because in their reports the pre-conditions, the probable causes and  the contributing factors of each event are generally deeply and thoroughly analyzed, and mainly because the boards release “recommendations” to the various entities  involved  that sometimes are real orders. In a context still quite vague and neglected as bird strikes, they therefore represent a fundamental tool for prevention and safety purposes. 

It cannot be said that Gimpo airport failed to consider the bird hazard: the following is the text currently published on the AIP (although we do not know that in force on December 2011) that also shows a Bird Concentration Chart.

Bird concentrations in the vicinity of the airport

Intense activities of sedentary birds (pigeons and magpies) and seasonal activity of various migrants (wild geese, ducks, white heron and etc..) take place around the runways and the airport boundary during landing and take-off procedures. Between October and March of the coming year, migrant birds (mainly wild geese and ducks) build nests on Han river downstream (24 KM north from Runway 14). The flock's main activity apt to occur around the Gul-po stream close to the runway 14R and 14L area. Some part of the flock enter into the aerodrome for resting and feeding about an hour before sunrise till sunset. Sometimes the flock flies across the middle of the runways for their group movement in the daytime. The flying height varies from 200 FT to 1 000 FT. Also, White Heron appears from July to October, which is migrant. They build nests randomly on any field around the airport. Due to the resting and feeding activity, the flock activity in the aerodrome occurs from sunrise to sunset. Careful attention is needed during landing approach and take-off.

Aerodrome operator estimates the bird activities and hazard to inform control tower of the possible hazard. Then the tower directly warns the aircraft pilots of the hazard. Dispersal activities for the birdstrike prevention performed by the aerodrome control team include random playback of distress noise (AV-alarm and Gas canon), elimination of the wildlife hazard using firearms and environmental control such as prohibiting wide farming activity.


In brief, and not abstaining from commenting, two important considerations seem to arise from the two reports: a) the traditional sequence based on:  ground bird detection – warning to the TWR – delay in take off and/or landing is getting  outdated because it’s too slow and unfit for the current air traffic and b) also  naked-eye observations are outdated, especially on airports with multiple and/or distant runways. As for a) we think that ATC personnel has to be more involved in the direct observation from the TWR, or even bird control personnel could be placed there, that is really quite a privileged observation point, working together with the ground staff.

As for b) new bird detection technologies (read: avian radars) have become urgent and undelayable; they should be placed in the TWRs and managed by ATC personnel (overcoming their old resistances) or even by bird control units. In any case whoever works in a TWR must be properly trained on bird strike and  bird ingestion  risks, also in order to impose (not just suggest) to delay takeoffs and landings in case of presence of birds on the flight path. Finally we do not know the bird hazard policies of the two airlines involved but we suspect they are just like everything else, i.e. practically zero. In the face of this and of the consequential aspects in terms of training requirements, pre-flight briefing, emergency management,  the wide selection of information provided to the pilots (when provided) risks to appear useless.

Major occurrences of February 2013
  • 1 – Sao Tome
    SATA Airbus A300, rejected take off at high speed after a large bird was sucked into one engine; a number of tyres deflated;
  • 3 – Wellington
    Jetstar A320, on short final descending through about 150 feet the aircraft flew through a flock of black-tipped gulls with a number of birds impacting the aircraft; a runway inspection revealed two dead gulls on the runway, another gull was found entangled in one of the main gear struts;
  • 4 – Bessemer (AL)
    Priv. C172, on landing struck a deer on the runway;
  • 14 – Opa Locka (FL)
    Nustar Lear Jet, while on approach struck birds causing damages to the wing;
  • 21 – Sao Luiz
    TAM A319, during the initial climb, about 30 seconds after take off, an engine ingested a bird prompting the crew to return about 15’ later;
  • 22 – Columbus (GA)
    Priv. Lear 60, struck a deer on a night landing;
  • 27 – Orlando
    Southwest B737. Struck a large bird during the landing roll; minor damages;

Deer strike on the runway. Preliminary report released
The Indonesian NTSC released its preliminary report on the serious incident occurred at Pontianak airport in Indonesia on 22 November 2012 when a Batavia Boeing 737 struck a deer upon rotation.

Information to pilots and  scientific tests in a “do it yourself” style

Since the very beginning of bird strike prevention in Italy, that started in a scientific and systematic way in the late ‘80s, a great importance has been given to the risk awareness both of airport staff and flight crew. Despite this aspect appears to be quite neglected in the professional pilot training, knowing that birds may be present in a certain airport allows them at least to adopt some basic prevention measures.

The  ENAC Circular APT 01 issued in 1999 stated: “…Then the information must be addressed also to flight crew; therefore also  ATS awareness  is needed, as well as  the prevision and the organization for a proper informative action to pilots through BIRDTAM, AIC, pre-flight briefings or even with radio communications.”

The last version of the Circular (2011) is even more specific: “In case of continuous and significant bird/wildlife  presence at the airport or in its vicinity, this circumstance must be reported in the AIP, pointing out also the possible presence seasonality, the problematic species, the altitude, the times of presence and all other useful information. In case of discontinuous presences or for particular occurrences a NOTAM must be issued, with clear temporal indications. A permanent NOTAM is not recommended since it does not provide any help.

If the information is provided through the AIP, airports should list the existing  harassment devices, exhorting the flight crew to ask the airport operator for their activation before take-off and landing in case of need. The same exhortation should be directed from ATS to pilots whenever it is needed or even only useful.


Therefore we analyzed the information provided by  AIP Italia to pilots in order to verify if and how our airports comply with ENAC requirements and suggestions. We also reported for each of them the number of wildlife strikes occurred in 2011 (latest available data) and the BRIindex, which measures the impact risk, reminding that the limit of the “attention threshold”  is established by ENAC at 0.5 on a 0 - 2 scale (for a more detailed explanation of the BRIplease see “Observations on BRI2” in Archives 2012).

Therefore everybody can immediately realize if the need of information to pilots is real or not, compared with the risk index , and also assess the quality of the information provided.





In order to verify the effectiveness of electromagnetic waves regarding birds evacuation from maneuvering area, pilots are requested to activate meteo radar equipment before take off and landing.

Landing and take off with caution due to presence of birds on the movement area


(There’s a telephone number for “wild-strike” problems, A/N)


In order to verify the effectiveness of electromagnetic waves regarding birds evacuation from maneuvering area, pilots are requested to activate meteo radar equipment before take off and landing.

(There’s also a telephone number for bird strike problems, A/N)


Caution due to high concentration of sea gulls; pilots shall set on radar meteo equipment before take off and landing in order to test electromagnetic waves efficiency in expelling birds from the manoeuvring area


Caution due to presence of seagulls, lapwings and starlings. In the afternoon, on final RWY 31 (outer harbour zone)  great concentration of seagulls.


Presence of stray dogs may occur on the runway.

Birds flow on runway, taxiways and apron during the whole year.


Presence of birds on manoeuvring area and surroundings: birds monitoring/evacuations activities in force (ENAC Circular APT series n. 01A)

(The 01A expired, substituted by 01B in 2011, A/N)

Landing and take-off to be performed with caution due to the presence of birds on the manoeuvring area


Control and keep off birds service, HR H24, carried out by 1 dedicated person, 3 fixed systems and 3 mobile systems. Birds flow on runway, taxiways and parking areas during the whole year.


Bird concentration on manoeuvring area


Presence of seagulls on RWY 08/26


Presence of birds on the manoeuvring area and surroundings; birds monitoring/evacuation activities in force (Circolare ENAC APT 01B)


Presence of birds on the manoeuvring area and surroundings.

Control and keep out birds service, HR H24, carried out by 1 dedicated person, with dissuasion and eviction devices:

a)       Distress call and electronic systems (DBDS) portable and fixed;

b)       Blank firing guns
c)       Gas cannons
d)       Alarm calls.

There’s a detailed list of most present species together with the indication of period of presence, hours of presence, average height of bird concentration, movement directions of the birds, flock size and localities with the greatest hazard.  There’s also a Bird Concentration Chart (A/N)




Presence of birds on the manoeuvring area and surroundings: deterring action system available


Landing and take off with caution due to presence of birds on movement area

Birds concentration on  aerodrome

Bird concentration on manoeuvring area


Bird Control Unit (BCU) service carried out HJ by Staff BCU and systems for dissuasion:

a)       2 Digital Bird Dispersal System on BCU cars;

b)       2 Digital Bird Dispersal System on towable truks positioned on manoeuvring area, ICAO night signal provided;

c)       Blank firing guns;

Caution: presence of Hooded Crows, all over the field, during the whole year.

There’s a detailed list of the most present species together with the indication of period of presence, hours of presence, average height of bird concentration, movement directions of the birds, flock size and localities with the greatest hazard (A/N).


Presence of birds all over the aircraft manoeuvring area, during the whole year. Seasonal presence of various species as: European starling, lapwing, yellow-legged gull, black-headed gull, hooded crow, common swift, mallard, feral pigeon.

Devices/procedures regularly run by BCU (Bird

a)       Runway patrolling 5/7 times per day

b)       N. 2 Digital Bird Dispersal System (distress call devices) operating on the vehicles of the BCU

c)       N. 1 static Digital Bird Dispersal System present along runways 16/R 34/L and 07/25

d)       N.2 static “High Frequencies Sound System” devices along runways 07/25 and 16/R 34/L

e)       N. 90 remote-controlled propane gas cannons along runways 07/25, 16/L 34/R and 16/R 34/L 

f)        Remote-controlled video cameras’ system operating on all the runways

There’s a detailed list of the most present species together with the indication of period of presence, hours of presence, average height of bird concentration, movement directions of the birds, flock size and localities with the greatest hazard (A/N).


Landing and take off with caution due to presence of birds on the manoeuvring area. Bird Control Unit available. In case of necessity, the pilot before landing and take off operations, shall contact TWR to activate Bird Control Unit.

Birds concentration on aerodrome

Aerodrome available with caution due to seagulls concentration. To verify the effectiveness of electromagnetic waves regarding birds evacuation from the maneuvering area, pilots must activate meteo radar equipment before take off and landing.


(There’s a telephone number for bird strike reports, A/N)


Considering the effectiveness of electromagnetic waves regarding birds’ evacuation from manoeuvring area, pilots are requested to activate meteo radar equipment before take off and landing.


We observe as first that 11 airports out of 34 do not provide any information. Among these we should point out Alghero, that shows a risk index equal to the “attention threshold”, and Milan Malpensa with a slight lower datum.

As for the quality and completeness of the information provided, Palermo stands out, being the only one to issue a Bird Concentration Chart, i.e. a map that with immediacy supplies indications to the pilots about the points with  greater concentrations of birds inside and outside the airport.

Also Rome Ciampino and Rome Fiumicino are “virtuous” airports in this sense.

All the others provide more or less detailed information, using not univocal criteria, and utilizing various expressions, some of which of ancient and  strengthened uselessness: statements like “landing and take-off with caution”, for example,do not help in any way the pilots, as though they had the habit to fly “imprudently” without such a warning.


During the survey however we chanced upon an odd circumstance:  a field test must be underway in four airports (Ancona, Bologna, Brescia and Treviso) on the effectiveness of electromagnetic waves emitted by onboard weather radars in order to disperse birds. And that’s not all: at Venice airport the experimentation must be finished, evidently with satisfactory results, since they take for granted that the weather radar is an effective harassment device. 

Granted that the Bird Strike Committed Italy, that we questioned, does not know anything about these tests, underway or completed, we would like to remind the state of the art on the use of weather radars as a bird dispersal device.

In Italy this topic was raised in the July of 1994 by a CAA letter that suggested to extend to the whole country a test on the effectiveness of radars on swallows and swifts (so, not on all bird species) that reportedly proved to be somehow useful at Venice airport (it can’t be a coincidence). Over the years however no further significant evidences were acquired in order to include this tool among the effective devices and therefore this practice was abandoned, even though in the following years it became a sort of urban legend founded on a hearsay rather than on a scientific base.

Similar tests were conducted abroad, starting from some studies in the ‘50s, but with the same negative results.

Therefore we collected a brief review of opinions coming from eminent and prestigious international sources regarding the use of onboard radars for dispersing birds.


Air Line Pilot Association, 2000  - Do not expect birds to respond to your efforts to hasten their departure. When loafing on the ground, birds face into the wind and, therefore, will probably not see your aircraft or its lights as the airplane enters the runway. Airborne weather radar has no demonstrated effect on birds because they do not hear in the X-band frequency.


Civil Aviation Authority UK - 2002 There are other risk mitigations that could potentially reduce the risk of a bird strike, such as more lengthy use of landing lights, the use of weather radar or ultra-violet paint. All are postulated as increasing the ability of birds detecting and thus avoiding aircraft. There is no scientific evidence for their effectiveness however. Collectively these measures are not expected to have a major impact on the risk.


Minister of Transport, Canada,  2004   - Aircraft weather radar are not effective as a means of warning birds, they do not sense the low power emissions and frequencies of these units.


A number of widespread misconceptions about bird strikes may give pilots a false sense of security and prevent them from reacting appropriately to the threat of a bird strike or an actual event. These misconceptions include:


Birds can detect airplane landing lights and weather radar and avoid the airplane.


In fact, none of these statements is scientifically proven.

Pilots should not rely on onboard weather radar, landing lights, airplane markings, time of day, or visibility to prevent bird strikes.


We think there’s nothing to add. We would be happy, probably together with the international ornithological community, to know on which scientific studies and experimental tests the information provided by Venice airport are founded, as well as we’re keen to know the results of the tests underway in the other four airports.


Until then we believe this is an information not only erroneous but even misguiding, capable of leading pilots to take off or land in presence of flocks of birds, relying on a device universally recognized unfit to protect the aircraft and the people inside.

The list of investigation reports has been updated
The list of investigation reports, in the page “Investigations and Legal”, has been updated, revisited and corrected.

Major occurrences of January 2013
The event we wish to highlight is that of the 19th: once again a twin-engine airplane undergoes ingestion of birds in both the engines, thus increasing the long list of similar events. We will come back to this issue in the near future, but we immediately note that this is the ninth case in the last three years of bird ingestion in multiple motors of the same aircraft.
  • 2 - Isle of Man
    Easyjet A319, bird strike on take-off with engine vibrations; immediate return 15’ later and aircraft replacement;
  • 2 – Durban
    Comair B737, at take off was struck by a yellow-billed kite (Milvus aegyptius) beyond V1; the crew continued takeoff and in absence of abnormal indications continued the flight to destination; a postflight inspection revealed a large dent at the aircraft nose;

  • 3 – Sacramento
    Southwest B737, impacted with a flock of birds on downwind at 1500 ft.; minor damages;
  • 7 – Berlin Schoenefeld
    Aeroflot A320, ingested a bird into the left hand engine on departure; in the absence of abnormal indications the crew continued the flight to destination;
    a postflight inspection revealed bent fan blades as result of the bird strike;
  • 9 – London Heathrow
    Brussels Airlines A319, during the initial climb suffered a bird strike prompting the crew to return about 18 minutes after departure; flight cancelled;
  • 10 – Cairns
    Quantas Dash 8, a 3 mt. long Scrub Pyton (Morelia amethistina) slided in a external compartment between the flap and the left engine of a parked aircraft and got stuck inside for the entire flight;

    Photo from Corriere della Sera
  • 12 – New York JFK
    Jetblue A 320, a bird struck the aircraft nose on takeoff at about 300 ft.; immediate return to assess damages and new departure after two hours;
  • 12 – Orlando
    Allegiant Air MD88, on approach struck a bird at the nose cone;
  • 12 – Cayo Largo del Sur
    Blue Panorama B767, after takeoff forced to shut down the left engin and to divert to Havana due to a suspect bird ingestion;
  • 15 – Tampa (FL)
    Delta Airlines MD88, on final crossing 1000 ft. flew through a flock of birds receiving damages to the radome;
  • 19 – Orlando
    Virgin Atlantic A330, in the initial climb some birds were ingested in both engines one of which needed to be shut down; overweight landing with only one engine about 30’ later; damages to both engines, leading edges of both wings and radome;
  • 21 – Eugene (OR)
    Horizon Airlines DHC-8, on landing struck a bird that causes damage under the front window;
  • 24 – Vancouver
    Westjet B737, climbing through about 1100 feet a bird impacted the aircraft, the crew noticed abnormal indications for the left hand engine and decided to return about 30 minutes after departure;
  • 25 – Fort Pierce (FL)
    Priv. Be 76, on short final a bird broke the windscreen;
  • 29 – Cary (NC)
    Priv. Be300 Super King Air, bird strike on landing;

NEW – Legal proceedings following a bird strike
The negative effects of a bird/wildlife strike do not consist only in the loss of human lives (as sometimes happened) or in financial damages; in the most serious cases but, as we’ll see, also in minor ones, the damaged parties start a legal action in order to obtain a damage compensation.

These legal actions are in part the result of a change in the common mentality that for a long time considered bird/wildlife strikes like inevitable events, Acts of God. Actually studies and researches showed that, even though a percentage of inevitability is always present, these impacts can be avoided or radically reduced with the adoption of proper prevention measures.

Hence the need to ascertain, on a case-by-case basis, whether there are elements of negligence, omission, lack of vigilance etc. In most cases it is the aircraft insurer who will start a litigation for the recovery of the sums paid to the damaged party, but it’s not unusual the intervention in court also of the aircraft’s owner or operator.

Airports, the main subjects involved, but not the only ones, should carefully consider this possibility as the sums at stake even for a single damaging strike can be really high, and likely to seriously affect their financial condition, especially for small airfields; at best the insurance renewal could not be granted at the previous conditions.

We therefore prepared, after a careful research, a list of bird/wildlife events that resulted in legal controversies around the world, together with links to the original sentences (when available) or at least to descriptions and/or comments on them. This list is far to be complete and every further information and update will be highly appreciated. The aim is not to open a discussion over legal issues (almost impossible given the diversities of legal systems involved), but to lead to reflect upon the opportunity to devote resources to prevention rather than face expensive litigations with potentially catastrophic outcomes. The list is shown below that of investigation reports; the pertaining page is now called “Investigations and Legal”.

In the near future we will provide a short summary of the longest and most complex sentences for an easier reference. We obviously are on hand to offer advice in this area that represents our core business.

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