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«Jukka-Pekka Nikolajeff Trafin tutkimuksia Trafis undersökningsrapporter Trafi Research Reports 7/2014 Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014 Analysis of the Bird ...»

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Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014 Everyone who has been flying and has seen another aircraft at the same altitude in the horizon can tell that a white aircraft can sometimes be extremely difficult to perceive even with human eyes.

The domain of sensory ecology investigates how the birds visualise their environment. This type of approach is useful when trying to understand why birds collide with aircraft.

One of the key issues is that the human perspective is not useful when trying to understand how birds visualise their environment, because the birds have a totally different visual world (Martin, 2011). To give an example, when birds want to look down they have to turn their heads in both pitch and yaw. This means that certain species are blind in the direction of travel when they are using their lateral vision to detect conspecifics and predators. This visualisation is ecologically more important for birds than looking straight ahead. Additionally, birds have only a limited range of flight speeds to adjust their rate of gain of visual information. In conclusion, this means that preventing bird collisions with aircraft is quite complicated and may be species specific (Martin, 2011).

2.11 How to Prevent Bird Strikes?

If there was an easy answer to this question, this study would never have been done.

Since the International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC) was established in the year 1966, many different tools and practices have been developed for reducing bird strikes. Njå et al. (2012) were discussing the subject in the latest IBSC meeting in Stavanger, Norway. It can be concluded that there are so many variables involved in every single bird strike that the whole problem is extremely difficult, if not impossible to solve. Nevertheless, a significant part of the responsibility should rest with airport operators. They and their employees should be more aware of the local circumstances, since most bird strikes occur at aerodromes or in their vicinity. Wildlife management should be a part of the aerodrome Safety Management Manual (SMM).

Bird strike management at airports is also the subject of an MSc thesis written by Raulot (2009).

Continuous observation of birds and the airport environment helps to gain an idea on what species of birds appear in the local area and on their approximate numbers.

Different seasons and bird migration need to be considered as well. After obtaining this knowledge, it is possible to start eliminating those factors that attract the birds to the airport.

Ideally, airports should be as uncomfortable for birds as possible. Very good results have been reached by simple reactive preventive actions, such as keeping the grass about 15 – 20 cm high. For example gulls and lapwings simply do not see the possible predators and other dangers around, and therefore do not feel safe and comfortable in that height of grass.

Food is another major factor that draws birds to airports. For example worms, insects, food remains or dead animals, water and agriculture can attract birds. When the grass is cut, birds often come looking for worms. For this reason, it is ideal to cut any grass areas at night when the birds are not active.

In addition, any nesting and resting places for birds should be destroyed immediately. Water areas should be filled up or changed so that they no longer attract birds.

Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014 Small water basins can be covered with small plastic balls or nets. During migration, especially geese, cranes, swans and other waterfowl may land on large green areas such as airports for resting. There are a number of different tools and practices available for chasing away birds. The procedures vary from trained hawks, pyrotechnics, recorded bird warning shouts and laser pointers to eliminating some birds by shooting.

Ultimately, good and detailed reporting is an essential basis for any preventive action (Stenman and Joutsen, 2013).

2.11.1 Web-Based Bird Avoidance Systems Knowledge about the density distribution and movement of birds is essential when we are seeking to reduce the number of strikes (Shamoun-Baranes et al., 2008). This data is needed both concerning times and three-dimensional space. Many authorities and volunteers are collecting this kind of data in different countries. Interestingly, Jonzén et al. (2006) have discovered a change in the spring migration of birds to Scandinavia. The authors found that especially long-distance migrants have been affected by the climate change and advanced their arrival to Scandinavia in spring.

The authors call this finding a “climate-driven evolutionary change”. The study was based on long-term observational data from Scandinavia and Italy between 1980 and 2004.

Another study showed links between changes in agricultural practices and bird populations in Scotland (Benton et al., 2002). In this very long term follow-up study, it was found out that bird density was related to the measures of agriculture and climate. The study started about in 1970 and lasted for three decades. It was revealed that birds were more abundant during those years when there was less activity in agriculture. The authors believe that their results are applicable at least throughout the UK.

The above-mentioned studies are examples on how observational data may help to estimate bird density and distribution. However, it is not only observational studies that may help to collect data about bird density and distribution. Also radar ornithology is helpful in this task (Gauthreaux and Belser, 2003). In fact, radar ornithology has provided not only data related to the birds’ daily and seasonal movements, but also helped to understand how birds orient. With the help of these radars it is possible to compare migration patterns quantitatively and make comparisons between different seasons and years. Radars are used by military aviation in several countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Israel and the USA (ShamounBaranes et al., 2008). Radars may also be used to give real-time warnings.





Shamoun-Baranes and her co-workers (2008) used all the data described above, including observational studies and radar data, to create hazard maps and share that information through web services. This data could be used for flight planning and airfield management. The philosophy was to offer free data for all stakeholders using a freely available Internet platform. The authors wish that this type of culture will spread in the future and help to obtain data about the constantly changing bird populations.

Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014

2.12 History of Bird Strike Reporting in Finland The Finnish Civil Aviation Authority started to collect information about bird strikes in the year 1978. One year later, on the 9th of January 1979, the Finnish Bird Strike Committee was established. The committee was composed of different aviation specialists. These specialists included members of airport management, air traffic controllers, fire and rescue workers, airport maintenance staff, experts from the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and experts from the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

Today the Finnish Bird Strike Committee continues its successful work and valuable mission in trying to prevent bird strikes. An important part of this mission is sharing knowledge with different operators, pilots and air traffic controllers in Finland. The committee holds its meetings twice a year, during the spring and autumn bird migrations. The core assembly has remained the same from the beginning. Today, however, all the main Finnish air operators, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Finnish Military Aviation Authority are also represented in the Committee.

2.12.1 Bird Strike Reporting in Finland Today Accident and incident reporting is well organised in Finland. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency receives over 5,000 occurrence reports annually, and the number of reports is increasing every year. The share of bird strike reports is about 4-5% of all reports. Provisions for reporting are contained in eight different laws and regulations, which govern reporting either directly or indirectly.

The basis for occurrence reporting is formed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 (ICAO Annex 13, 2010) and the Finnish Aviation Act 1194/2009 (Finnish Aviation Act, 2009). These provisions are supplemented by European Commission Regulation No 859/2008 (EU-OPS) (European Commission,

2008) and Temporary Guidance Leaflet TGL 44, or for Helicopters, Joint Aviation Regulation JAR-OPS 3 (JAA, 2008). Other essential provisions are contained in Directive 2003/42/EC on occurrence reporting in civil aviation (European Commission, 2003), in Regulation No 996/2010 on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation (European Union, 2010), in the Finnish Safety Investigation Act 525/2011 (Safety Investigation Act, 2011) and in the Aviation Regulations GEN M1-4 (Finnish Aviation Regulation, 2011) and OPS M1-18 (Finnish Aviation Regulation, 2009).

The legislation on bird prevention at airports in Finland has remained the same since 22nd May 1997, when the Aviation Regulation AGA M3-13 (Prevention of birds and other wildlife at airports) entered into force. Aviation Regulation GEN M1-4 (Reporting of accidents, serious incidents and occurrences) that also regulates the reporting of bird strikes has been amended on 24th June 1999, 30th August 2006 and 1st April 2011. A major change was that in the amendment published in 1999, small bird remains (feathers) were instructed to be sent to the Civil Aviation Authority and larger remains (whole birds) directly to the Finnish Natural Museum for identification. The latest amendment of GEN M1-4 was published in 2011, and it does not contain separate provisions on bird strike reporting.

Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014

In Finland, the reporting of bird strikes is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended by the aviation authority. Only if the aircraft sustains some damage or if the flight is affected by the bird strike, it is mandatory to file an incident report. This is required by Directive 2003/42/EC. Finnish airports are required to follow the national Aviation Regulation M3-13 (Finnish Aviation Regulation, 1997) in their wildlife management. This national aviation regulation is based on ICAO Annex 14 (ICAO Annex 14, 2004). All Finnish airports have to report any occurrences caused by wildlife to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency once a year. This annual report should include at least the number and species of animals eliminated and details about how the airport was seeking to prevent wildlife occurrences. In particular, the airport should report what actions were taken and which tools were used. Finnish airports are also required to compile a statistic summary based on occurrence reports filed in accordance with Regulation GEN M1-4 and maintain long-term statistics on bird strikes at the airport and in its vicinity.

2.12.2 What is Known about Bird Strikes in Finland?

The location of Finland and its rich, versatile nature provide an ideal environment for many different bird species. According to the calculations of Birdlife Finland, a total of 468 different species of wild birds had been seen in Finland by 4th of March 2012 (BirdLife Finland, 2012).

Birds are also a familiar issue in the aviation business and they are recognised as a potential flight safety problem. As mentioned earlier, the actual collection of bird strike data started in Finland in year 1978. During the past 36 years, however, many things have obviously changed. Not only that the aircraft are now bigger and faster and the number of operations and flight hours has been multiplied, but the bird population has changed as well. Many new arrival species are now nesting successfully in Finland, including for example the Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) and the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).

Bird strikes are an interesting research subject. A lot of work has been done to prevent them, and the volume of bird strike reports is fairly good. For some reason, despite that, actual research or analysis on the subject has not been carried out earlier in Finland. The data collected is mostly used as material for statistics. Nevertheless, some trends are monitored and the Bird Strike Committee Finland goes through all the bird strike reports received twice a year. Bird strikes and their reporting has never been the subject of any academic research in Finland before.

3 Results

3.1 Introduction This chapter shows the results of the research in written form and in figures. It provides answers to all ten variables that were analysed in the bird strike reports received by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency in the years 2000, 2006 and 2011.

The years between 2001 - 2005 and 2007 - 2010 are also taken into account by reviewing the number of bird strikes reported in each year.

Trafin tutkimuksia 7-2014

3.2 Number of Bird Strike Reports Submitted The data was collected retrospectively from bird strike reports submitted to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency between the years 2000 and 2011. The total number of bird strikes reported was 1,831. For each individual year, the numbers were 172 reports in year 2000, 187 reports in 2001, 102 reports in 2002, 84 reports in 2003, 148 reports in 2004, 168 reports in 2005, 145 reports in 2006, 121 reports in 2007, 117 reports in 2008, 167 reports in 2009, 198 reports in 2010 and 222 reports in 2011. In fact, the total number of reports was much higher because in some cases, not only the pilot but also an air traffic controller and/or airport maintenance staff submitted their own reports about the same bird strike. The number of reported bird strikes per year varies a lot during the period studied. This study makes an in-depth analysis of bird strikes reported in years 2000, 2006 and 2011 to better show the trends and changes that have occurred over the ten-year period. The development of the number of bird strikes reported to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency between the years 2000 and 2011 is also shown in Figure 1. All aircraft movements at Finnish airports between years 2000 and 2011 are shown in Figure 2 and Tables A1.1 and A1.2.

Source: 02.12.2013 / Finnish Transport Safety Agency

–  –  –

Source: 02.12.2013 / Finnish Transport Safety Agency



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