Bird Strike Risk Assessment for United States Air Force Airfields and Aircraft
Tedrow, Christine Atkins
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Analysis of strike data is critical to determine the true economic costs of bird strikes, determine the magnitude of safety issues, and develop preventive measures. Analysis of USAF bird-strike data identified trends and indicated suggested relationships among factors contributing to damaging strikes. From FY 1988 through FY 1997, the annual mean was 2,668 bird strikes with peaks evident in fall and spring. Daylight and dusk were hazardous for bird strikes. More bird strikes occurred during airfield operations - aircraft are at low altitudes and soaring birds are more numerous. Aircraft speed, phase of flight, taxonomic group, bird mass and aircraft group were the strongest predictors of damaging bird strikes. Bird strike rates were calculated for USAF aircraft and selected USAF airfields. Bomber aircraft had the highest strike rate; these aircraft frequently fly long missions at low altitudes where they are likely to encounter birds. Logistic regression analyses estimated odds of occurrence for damaging bird strikes during airfield operations. General statistics, odds for a damaging airfield strike, and airfield strike rates, were used to identify USAF airfields with higher bird strike risks. Howard AFB, Panama, had a higher number and rate of bird strikes, and greater odds for a damaging bird strike than other airfields analyzed. This study allows recommendations for improving reporting of bird strikes and data management. Results will enable USAF to better estimate bird strike risks aircraft, better focus research on preventing bird strikes, and assess the effectiveness of bird management programs.
- Masters Theses