Bird Strike Committee Proceedings



Alistair Pinos

Date of this Version

May 1999


Bird strikes to aircraft are a threat the safety of aviation and as air traffic continues to grow, their numbers appear to be increasing,. In 1965 ICAO began to monitor bird strikes through the collection of bird strike reports as it became clear that the turbine engined aircraft coming into wider use were more susceptible to bird strike damage than their predecessors. This data collection became automated in 1980 with the creation of the ICAO Bird Strike Information System (IBIS), which now contains information on more than 80 000 bird strikes. When IBIS was created, it was thought that approximately 10 000 bird strikes occurred worldwide each year. However, since 1980, increases in bird strike reporting C which have come about through a greater awareness of the problem and the efforts of those in the field of airport wildlife control C have given us a better perspective of the present bird strike situation. While estimates vary, it is now believed that as many as 40 000 bird strikes occur to civil aviation aircraft each year. Bird strikes are truly a worldwide phenomenon, as shown by the fact that more than 190 States and Territories, from every ICAO Region, have reported bird strikes to ICAO.

IBIS data reveals that ninety percent of bird strikes, with known locations, occur on or near airports. Birds are attracted to airports and to the airport vicinity for a variety of reasons, all basic and tied directly to their survival. However, their basic needs put birds in direct conflict with aircraft using airports, and it is inevitable that collisions between aircraft and birds occur. While the vast majority of bird strikes have no effect on the flight, eleven per cent of all bird strikes do effect the flight in some tangible way. From the point of view of airport operations, aborted take-offs and emergency or precautionary landings are the most serious. Six percent C or roughly 2 400 bird strikes per year C result in either an aborted take-off or a precautionary landing. These disruptions in airport operations are not only an inconvenience to passengers; they are costly to all concerned and represent a danger to the travelling public.