Bird Strike Committee Proceedings


Date of this Version

August 2003


Land development in the vicinity of airports often leads to land-use that can attract birds that are hazardous to aviation operations. For this reason, certain forms of land-use have traditionally been discouraged within prescribed distances of Canadian airports. However, this often leads to an unrealistic prohibition of land-use in the vicinity of airports located in urban settings. Furthermore, it is often unclear that the desired safety goals have been achieved. This paper describes a model that was created to assist in the development of zoning regulations for a future airport site in Canada. The framework links land-use to bird-related safety-risks and aircraft operations by categorizing the predictable relationships between: (i) different land uses found in urbanized and urbanizing settings near airports; (ii) bird species; and (iii) the different safety-risks to aircraft during various phases of flight. The latter is assessed relative to the runway approach and departure paths. Bird species are ranked to reflect the potential severity of an impact with an aircraft (using bird weight, flocking characteristics, and flight behaviours). These criteria are then employed to chart bird-related safety-risks relative to runway reference points. Each form of land-use is categorized to reflect the degree to which it attracts hazardous bird species. From this information, hazard and risk matrices have been developed and applied to the future airport setting, thereby providing risk-based guidance on appropriate land-uses that range from prohibited to acceptable. The framework has subsequently been applied to an existing Canadian airport, and is currently being adapted for national application. The framework provides a risk-based and science-based approach that offers municipalities and property owner’s flexibility in managing the risks to aviation related to their land use.