Operators Checklist for Bird Strike Hazard Management

Operators Checklist for Bird Strike Hazard Management


  1. Make it your business to have access to up to date bird strike rates for each airport used - your own data if movements are sufficient, or that for all airport movements if not. Where high relative rates are identified, ensure that further investigation of the circumstances is carried out with the assistance of the airport operator [Operators need to be aware of abnormal risks in order to manage their exposure to them down to a lower level.]
  2. Ensure that flight crew are properly informed about known bird hazards which may affect them before commencing their flights, whether such information is published in AIPsNOTAMs or BIRDTAMs (where available), or has been directly determined by the Operator. [Unless a specific effort is made to facilitate this, the pressures of time during pre-flight briefings has often resulted in such awareness not being gained.]
  3. Ensure that flight crew are provided with appropriate guidance on response to the hazard. Particular attention should be given to engine ingestion for both the short final case (do not attempt a go around) and the take off roll case (do not attempt a rejected take off at high speed unless it is positively assessed that it is unlikely that it will be possible to get safely airborne.) [Tactical mitigation of unexpected bird hazard is an important element of risk management - many accidents and serious incidents have resulted from inappropriate flight crew responses to bird encounters]. See related article:Bird Strike on Final Approach: Guidance for Flight Crews.
  4. Ensure that flight crew make reports on all actual or suspected bird strikes and any instances of observed bird activity which they consider could have been hazardous. It is important that flight crew have sufficient familiarity with bird species to recognise and record at least species groups and that, when reporting actual or suspected engine ingestion of birds, they record any observed engine thrust or torque fluctuations which might have been associated with an ingestion event. [An appropriate level of detail in all safety-related reports is the only way to maximise their value]
  5. Have unequivocal guidelines in place for appropriate levels of maintenance inspection after any flight during which actual or suspected bird strike has occurred, especially if engine ingestion is or may be involved. These should be founded upon an operating culture which achieves a flight crew entry in the aircraft Technical Log after any such occurrence and clear procedures on the necessary authority to clear or defer such an entry. [Aircraft have been hazarded by the operation of further flights after engine ingestion events where inspection has failed to identify damage]
  6. Even if there are no applicable ATC speed restrictions, apply a Company Maximum Speed below FL100 / 10000 feet of 250 KIAS for both climb and descent. [This will ensure that damage from any impact with the larger birds that increasingly predominate at higher altitudes is minimised]
  7. If a particular airport, used by pure jet engined aircraft, is identified as having an above average risk of bird strike during initial climb then consideration should be given to introducing an SOP for that airport to fly the ICAO Noise Abatement Departure Procedure 1 (NADP 1) [This will minimise the probability of strikes at low level where bird density is highest because of the high climb rate and will also minimise the extent of any damage if birds are ingested due to the minimum climb speed]

Further Reading


SKYbrary Partners:

Safety knowledge contributed by: