Wildlife Damage Management
Development of Management Strategies to Reduce Wildlife Hazards to Aircraft
Aircraft collisions with birds and other wildlife (wildlife strikes) pose a substantial safety and financial threat to civil and military aviation worldwide. The estimated cost (direct and indirect expenses) to civil aviation worldwide is more than $1.2 billion annually. In the United States alone, 89,727 wildlife strikes (97.4% involving birds) were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA; 1990–2008) and represent a maximum of U.S. $603.7 million annually in direct and indirect losses. Recent estimates indicate that the U.S. military incurs losses of over $100 million each year. Wildlife strikes have claimed more than 219 lives and more than 200 aircraft (civil and military) since 1988. The "forced landing" of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, after Canada geese were ingested in both engines on the Airbus 320 demonstrated to the public at large that bird strikes are a grave concern to aviation safety.
Current approaches to reducing wildlife strikes with aircraft primarily fall under one or more of four research areas: 1) habitat management, 2) wildlife dispersal, removal, and exclusion, 3) detection/prediction of wildlife movements and behaviors so that aircraft can avoid high-risk activities, both temporally and spatially, and 4) manipulating visual stimuli (e.g., aircraft landing lights) to enhance the detection and avoidance of aircraft by birds. A great deal of progress has been made in each of these areas in recent years, although key questions remain.
Project Leader: Dr. Travis L. DeVault, (Travis.L.DeVault@aphis.usda.gov)
More on Project staff:
Travis L. DeVault, Research Wildlife Biologist, Field Station Project Leader
Last Modified: May 25, 2011