The ATSB has launched a new interactive tool allowing pilots, aerodrome and aircraft operators and members of the public to review figures on wildlife strikes with aircraft across Australia.

The National Aviation Wildlife Strike Dashboard, published today, details all wildlife strikes reported to the ATSB over the last ten years.

“Wildlife strikes – particularly birdstrikes – represent around a third of the 5,500 aviation occurrences reported to the ATSB each year,” Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell noted.

“While the vast majority of these do not result in any injury to flight crew or passengers, they are a potential safety risk, and present a significant economic cost for aerodrome and aircraft operators.

“This dashboard aims to provide information back to pilots, aerodrome and aircraft operators, regulators, and other industry participants, to assist with understanding and managing the hazards associated with wildlife strikes.”

In the past, the ATSB has published periodical data reports detailing wildlife strike data. The new dashboard will instead make the data available for analysis on a more regular basis.

The dashboard includes a number of different filtering methods, for stakeholders to better understand the data relevant to their operation.

Mr Mitchell noted a pair of recent birdstrikes involving Australian-registered passenger aircraft – one which returned to Sydney shortly after a birdstrike on take-off, and another which diverted to Invercargill after a birdstrike on take-off from Queenstown.

Mr Mitchell also noted another incident earlier this month, where a Royal Flying Doctor Service PC-12 collided with a cow during landing at a remote airstrip in WA’s Pilbara region.

“While these incidents were safely managed by crews, and fortunately did not result in any injuries to those on board the aircraft, they serve as recent demonstrations of the hazards wildlife strikes pose to the aviation industry.”

The ATSB investigated a pair of fatal wildlife strikes in 2022 – a Bell 206 LongRanger which collided with terrain after being impacted by a wedgetail eagle during flight in the NSW Hunter Region, and an agricultural spraying aircraft which collided with terrain after striking an Australian bustard near Chinchilla, Queensland.

“These two accidents demonstrate the risk wildlife strikes can pose to light aircraft during private and commercial operations,” Mr Mitchell concluded.

Find out more about the dashboard, and try it out, here.

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