Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

October 1987


The hazards birds pose to aircraft has been of concern to the Air Force for more than 20 years. After losing several aircraft due to bird strikes in the early 1960's, the Air Force formed a team to evaluate bird hazards to Air Force aircraft. The team, from the Air Force Weapons Laboratory (AFWL) at Kirtland AFB NM, handed over this mission to the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Team at HQ Air Force Engineering and Services Center (AFESC) at Tyndall AFB in 1975. In 1986 (October) the BASH team moved to Boiling AFB, Washington DC.

The Air Force sustains significant losses each year to bird strikes. Since 1964 we have had 25 bird strikes that resulted in aircraft losses. In the last 12 months alone we have lost an F-16, two F-4's, a B-l, and six crewmen to birds on low level missions.

All aircraft are susceptible to bird strikes in every flight profile. Smaller, high-speed aircraft are the most likely victims, but even large planes can be knocked down by bird strikes. Birds are not entirely unpredictable, however, and strikes are more likely to occur at particular times of year or times of day and around bird concentration areas. We can reduce losses by controlling or avoiding the predictable bird hazard.