The FAA’s wildlife hazardmanagement program has been in place for more than 50 years and focuses on mitigating wildlife hazards on or near airports through habitat modification, harassment technology, and research.
FAA Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Efforts
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 developed a “Report Wildlife Strikes” awareness poster in 2011 and 2012. As part of the outreach effort, the FAA printed and distributed over 12,000 posters each year. The posters went 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 2013 strike awareness poster will be printed and distributed by the end of this calendar year.
Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports
The Office of Airports encourages GA airports to conduct Wildlife Hazard Assessments 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 provided funding and expertise for two Airport Cooperative Research Program 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 four years the FAA has received 40,198 civil aircraft strike reports – 9,539 in 2009; 9,919 in 2010; 10,090 in 2011 and 10, 650 in 2012. The FAA has received 5,364 civil aircraft strike reports for the period January through July 2013.
The 1990-2012 Annual Strike Report was issued in September 2013 and is available on http://wildlife.faa.gov.
Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans
The FAA initiated rulemaking to make WHAs and WHMPs mandatory whether or not an airport has had a triggering event. The rulemaking project was placed on hold September 28, 2012.
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 Wildlife Hazard Assessment (Assessment) or Wildlife Hazard Site Visit (Site Visit). The AC also clarifies requirements and expectations concerning Site Visits, Assessments and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (Plan) 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 is a new AC and the public comment period ended January 31, 2013. This AC 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 end of fiscal year 2014.
Redesigned Web Site
The FAA redesigned the wildlife hazard web site to make it more user-friendly and to allow more advanced data mining. The site, http://faa.gov/go/wildlife, 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 the 2012 “Report Wildlife Strikes” posters for smart phone users who have the QR application.
Continuing Wildlife Hazard Efforts
Avian or Bird Radar Technology
In 2006, the FAA tasked the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) at the University of Illinois to develop and execute a performance assessment for commercially available avian radar. The FAA deployed the initial avian radar systems at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and Whidbey Island Naval Station in 2007; Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2009; and John F. Kennedy Airport; and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 2010. The FAA continues to evaluate the performance of bird radar systems through its multi-year agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Wildlife Research Center, the National Center of Atmospheric Research, and Indiana State University.
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.
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.