Date of this Version
The history, efforts, and accomplishments of everyone involved in understanding and mitigating the threat of birds to aircraft came under intense public scrutiny when US Airway’s Flight 1549 splashed down in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.
Largely absent from the recent public discussion about bird threats is the time, labor, and resources that industry invests in continuously learning, developing, and incorporating features into aircraft designs to mitigate the consequences of bird strikes. Pratt & Whitney, as a designer and manufacturer of jet engines for a variety of aircraft, including large commercial transport aircraft, is an integral part of many of these efforts.
This paper will present a synopsis of recent bird regulatory improvements which govern all jet engine designs presented for certification within the United States. This is followed by a high level description of some of the processes employed by Pratt & Whitney to balance bird strike damage tolerance with other critical engine design criteria, and the importance of bird strike reports in assisting with design improvements.