Date of this Version
Strikes of wildlife by aircraft cause thousands of life-threatening incidents, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to aircraft every year. This hazard is largely preventable, but it has not been properly addressed to date for a variety of reasons. ALPA believes that action should be taken now before a catastrophe occurs.
Collisions between aircraft and wildlife are increasing in frequency in North America due to growth in the number of migratory birds and other wildlife and the increased numbers of aircraft operations. This threat to human safety has manifested itself in several fatal strikes between aircraft and wildlife as at least 68 people have died as a result of wildlife-related accidents in the U.S. and Europe since 1995. In addition to these fatal events, approximately 2,300 non-fatal civil aviation wildlife strikes are reported annually in the U.S.; it is estimated that 80% of strikes are not reported. Wildlife strikes cost the U.S. civil aviation industry more than $300 million annually according to Ms. Garvey. Ninety seven (97) percent of these strikes are caused by bird species which are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; birds and other animals often find habitat and refuge at and around airports because of federal protections. The significance of wildlife hazards, and the need for effective measures to mitigate them, are not well recognized by the aviation industry, federal regulators or the traveling public. However, recent television reports on the dangers posed to aviation safety by wildlife may help build consensus on the need for prompt action in this regard (reference videotape).