Jump to Content

Australian aviation wildlife strike statistics: Bird and animal strikes 2002 to 2009

Summary

A significant proportion of all occurrences reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) involve aircraft striking wildlife, especially birds. This report provides aviation birdstrike and animal strike occurrence data for the period 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2009. It also describes the results of an ATSB survey of aerodromes concerning current wildlife control measures.

Reported birdstrikes have been generally increasing since 2002. In 2009, there were 1,340 birdstrikes reported to the ATSB. For high capacity aircraft operations, reported birdstrikes have doubled from 2002 to 2009. However, taking into account an increase in aircraft movements, this increase is modest and is probably accounted for by a generally improving reporting culture within this time.

Birdstrikes have increased for the period of study in every Australian state and territory. Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia have the highest birdstrike rates. The higher birdstrike numbers for Queensland and the Northern Territory may be related to bird populations within the tropics, while New South Wales has the highest number of major aerodrome aircraft movements in Australia.

Most birdstrikes occur within the confines of aerodromes (less than 5 km). Major and regional towered aerodromes had significantly higher rates of reported birdstrikes than General Aviation Airport Procedures (GAAP) aerodromes, and had considerably increasing rates from 2002 to 2009. GAAP aerodrome birdstrike rates do not appear to have changed.

Engine ingestion makes up 11 per cent of all birdstrike occurrences in high capacity air transport for the 8- year period, and the highest number of damaging birdstrikes occurs in high capacity air transport. Birdstrikes causing multiple parts damaged were not common throughout the period. General aviation had the highest proportion of damaging birdstrikes, with almost 24 per cent of birdstrikes causing damage. Aeroplane wings and helicopter rotor blades are the most commonly damaged aircraft components across all operational types, particularly in general aviation. There have been eight occurrences from the period of 2002-2009 that have resulted in serious aircraft damage, and four that have resulted in injury.

The most common types of birds struck by aircraft were lapwings/plovers, bats/flying foxes, galahs, and kites. Not surprisingly, larger birds were more likely to result in aircraft damage.

Animal strikes were relatively rare. High capacity air transport had the highest average with 11.5 animal strikes per year, with general aviation having the second highest average with 9.3 animal strikes per year. The most common animals involved in strikes were hares/rabbits, kangaroos, wallabies, and foxes/dogs. Damaging strikes mostly involved kangaroos, wallabies and livestock.

Bird hazard control at aerodromes was found to be mostly related to the control of grass height (short or long) and growing specific plants or grass, and the daily or weekly use or auditory deterrents, especially car horns and shotguns.

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Investigation number: AR-2009-064
Publication date: 30 June 2010
ISBN: 978-1-74251-074-3
Publication number: Jun10/ATSB105
Related: Bird Strikes
 
Share this page Comment
Last update 07 April 2014
 
Download complete document - Download complete document
Download complete document
[ Download PDF: 2.08MB]