For Immediate Release
December 12, 2014
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: (202) 267-3488
The FAA requires airport sponsors to maintain a safe operating environment which includes conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA) and preparing Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMP), when there has been a wildlife strike. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan identifies the specific actions the airport will take to mitigate the risk of wildlife strikes on or near the airport. The FAA’s wildlife hazard management program has been in place for more than 50 years and focuses on mitigating wildlife hazards through habitat modification, harassment technology, and research.
FAA Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Efforts
The FAA addresses wildlife hazards with aircraft through regulatory guidance, data collection, research, partnerships, and outreach. The FAA has a number of initiatives underway, including:
Wildlife Strike Awareness Posters
To encourage and increase wildlife strike reporting in the general aviation (GA) community, the FAA’s Office of Airports has distributed a “Report Wildlife Strikes” awareness poster since 2011. As a result of this outreach effort, the FAA has printed and distributed more than 12,000 posters each year. The FAA sent posters to general aviation airports, aviation schools, other organizations and associations, and Part 139 certificated airports. Part 139 airports receive an operating certificate from the FAA because they operate with an increased level of oversight and safety. The FAA distributed the 2014 strike awareness poster in the spring 2014.
Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports
The Office of Airports encourages GA airports to conduct WHAs to determine what, if any, wildlife mitigation is needed. The FAA will support GA airports by making Airport Improvement Program grants available to conduct an assessment.
Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Reports
The FAA funded and assisted with the development of two new Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) reports to aid airports with the mitigation of wildlife hazards. ACRP Synthesis 39 report Airport Wildlife Population Management (2013) and Synthesis 52 report Habitat Management to Deter Wildlife at Airports (2014) are available from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies at http://www.trb.org/Publications/Publications.aspx. A third project has been completed (ACRP 11-02/Task 21 Innovative Airport Responses to Threatened / Endangered Species) and will be published in early 2015. These reports provide further guidance to augment two earlier ACRP reports, Bird Harassment, Repellent, and Deterrent Techniques for Use on and Near Airports (2011) and Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports (2010). The reports are available on http://wildlife.faa.gov.
National Wildlife Strike Database Goes Public
On April 24, 2009, the FAA made its entire bird strike database available to the public. Over the last five years the FAA has received 51,826 civil aircraft strike reports – 9,540 in 2009; 9,927 in 2010; 10,127 in 2011 and 10,917 in 2012, and 11,315 in 2013. For 2014, the database currently contains 4,704 strike reports from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014. The online database contains a total of 154,985 strike reports between January 1, 1990 and June 30, 2014.
The 1990-2013 Annual Strike Report was issued in July 2014 and is available on http://wildlife.faa.gov.
Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans
The FAA successfully encouraged all Part 139 airports to conduct WHAs followed up with a WHMP. To date, all Part 139 certificated airports have completed or initiated a WHA.
FAA Advisory Circulars
Advisory Circular (AC) 150/ 5200- 32B–Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes, was issued on May 31, 2013.
Draft Advisory Circular 150/ 5200- 33C–Hazardous Wildlife Attractants On or Near Airports, public comment period ended on January 31, 2013. Principal changes include the FAA clarifying that Grant Assurance No. 19 requires subject airports to have a qualified airport wildlife biologist conduct a WHA or Wildlife Hazard Site Visit. The AC also clarifies requirements and expectations concerning site visits, assessments and WHMPs for non-certificated airports.
Draft Advisory Circular 150/ 5200- 38–Protocol for the Conduct and Review of Wildlife Hazard Site Visits, Wildlife Hazard Assessments, and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans. This is a new AC that defines the minimum acceptable standards for the conduct and preparation of site visits, assessments and plans.
Level of Reporting and Mandatory Reporting
Dr. Richard Dolbeer, a wildlife hazard mitigation expert, conducted a study for the FAA and issued a report in December 2009. He estimated that 39 percent of all wildlife strikes at certificated airports from 2004 – 2008 were reported into the National Wildlife Strike Database, an increase from the estimated 20 percent reported from 1990 – 1994. The increased reporting of strikes is due, in part, to professionally-run wildlife hazard programs. These efforts are likely responsible for the concurrent decline in reported strikes with damage within the airport environment (<500 feet above ground level) from 2000-2011 in spite of continued increases in populations of many large bird species. Dolbeer determined the current level of reporting (39 percent) is statistically valid and is sufficient for the FAA to track national trends in wildlife strikes, to determine the hazard level of species struck and to provide a scientific foundation for FAA wildlife mitigation policies and guidance. Therefore, the FAA believes mandating wildlife strike reporting is unnecessary. The FAA will fund an updated study by Dr. Dolbeer to show what the strike reporting rate is based on data from 2010-2013. The study should be completed by the spring 2015.
The FAA redesigned the wildlife hazard web site to make it more user-friendly and to allow more advanced data mining. The site, http://wildlife.faa.gov/, has search fields that enable users to find data on specific airports.
Online Strike Reporting
The FAA developed mobile application software to make strike reporting easier. Now, anyone who needs to report a wildlife strike can do so via the new web site or their mobile devices using the wireless link http://www.faa.gov/mobileThe FAA also placed a Quick Response (QR) code scanner on the bottom of all the “Report Wildlife Strikes” posters for smart phone users who have the QR application.
Continuing Wildlife Hazard Efforts
Avian or Bird Radar Technology
Since 2006, the FAA has worked closely with academia, airport authorities and other federal agencies to assess the performance capabilities of commercially available avian radar systems. As technological advancements continue to improve avian radar systems, the FAA is working to keep existing avian radar standards and guidance up to date. The FAA issued Advisory Circular 150/5220-25, Airport Avian Radar Systems that provides performance standards that airports can use to competitively procure bird radars. The FAA continues to conduct research to integrate radar into an airport’s operational environment with avian radar deployments at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Whidbey Island Naval Station.
FAA-Smithsonian Interagency Agreement
The Smithsonian identifies the bird species from remains after a strike. Bird identification helps airfield personnel implement habitat management programs. Identification also provides information so aircraft manufacturers can better design engines and aircraft to withstand the impact of likely bird collisions. The FAA provides financial support to the Smithsonian to identify bird remains from civil aviation bird strikes as a free-of-charge service to any U.S. registered aircraft, regardless of where the strike occurred, and foreign carriers if the strike occurred at a U.S. airport.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The FAA and the USDA collaborate on research to make airports safer by reducing the risks of aircraft-wildlife collisions.
FAA Partnerships and Outreach
Bird Strike Committee USA
The FAA co-sponsors the Bird Strike Committee-USA as part of its continued public outreach and education effort to increase awareness within the aviation community about wildlife hazards. The FAA and BSC-USA signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2013.
National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)
The FAA works closely with NASAO on wildlife issues and education for thousands of non-certificated airports across the country. The FAA has partnered with NASAO on its Wildlife Committee. The FAA signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding with NASAO and the United States Department of Agriculture on September 20, 2013. The goal of this Memorandum of Understanding is to increase strike reporting and awareness at state- regulated airports.