Bird Strike Committee Proceedings


Date of this Version

May 1999


When birds and aircraft occupy the same airspace at the same time, bad things happen. Annual DoD costs probably exceed $200 Million per year, and dollar losses to world-wide aviation have been estimated at $3 Billion to $4 Billion per year (in US dollars). Much has been done in the past to improve the bird impact resistance of aircraft, and some further improvements would be cost effective on some aircraft. A new manufacturing technology for aircraft transparencies that can increase strength while slashing costs by 80% is one promising approach. However, the “law of diminishing returns” comes into play, and the penalties involved in creating a truly “bird-proof” aircraft would be unacceptably high. Several new approaches and technologies for avoiding birdstrikes could be used to reduce the number of damaging birdstrike collisions. Some of these approaches are being used, and others are mature enough to enter the operational testing stage. Collectively, the more promising concepts could reduce birdstrike losses by 50% to 80% for those aircraft and/or airports that make use of them. Some strategies and points of contact for those wishing to pursue the new concepts will be provided. There are many facts and trends that optimists can focus on to be encouraged, and (for want of a better term) “good luck” has often been a factor in past birdstrike mis haps that kept severe damage from becoming a disaster. There are also many facts and trends that pessimists can focus on to be discouraged. An attempt will be made to provide a “good news” slant on many facts that are worrisome to many, to improve the spirits of those receiving the information and help them focus on key problems and candidate solutions. (Key Words: Transparencies, Engines, Avoidance, Engineering, Next Generation Transparency, Testing, Birds, Control Methods, Microwaves, Infrasound, Radar, Bird Impact, Structures)