Daily Mail claim of sharp rise in birdstrikes not borne out by the facts from CAA
Date added: September 2, 2013
The CAA produces data on reported birdstrikes, and on confirmed strikes – the latter being a much lower number than the former. For instance, in 2012 there were 2215 reported birdstrikes, and 1404 confirmed strikes. Some of the increase in reporting may be due to changed reporting requirements of incidents to the CAA. The species hit most often in recent years have been various species of gulls (together the largest group), then swallows, skylarks, swifts and woodpigeons, then pigeons and kestrels. The number of birdstrikes rose significantly after 2008, when the CAA introduced a new system through which all strikes can easily be reported online. It has been mandatory for all strikes to be reported since 2004. . Tweet
CAA data on number of reported birdstrikes (not confirmed strikes) – at link
2004 1481 birdstrikes (2,176,000 Air Transport Movements in UK (CAA data)
2005 1650 birdstrikes (2,301,000 ATMs)
2006 1780 birdstrikes (2,344,000 ATMs)
2007 1299 birdstrikes (2,379,000 ATMs)
2008 1480 birdstrikes (2,327,000 ATMs at UK airports)
which is an increase of 10% in confirmed strikes between 2009 and 2012.
In 2010 the CAA said:
“The CAA believes the apparent increase in the number of strikes reported during Q3 of 2009 to be due to a number of causal factors, such as the increase in awareness of reporting birdstrikes following CAA publicity and improved guidance to stakeholders, and also in part due to localised seasonal meteorological conditions affecting the number of strikes to the Hirundine (Swallows & Martins) and Apodidae (Swifts) family of birds. Further details available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking at the species that are most often involved in birdstrikes:
Please Note: Online reporting is the preferred method for reporting birdstrike occurrences to the CAA. However, form SRG 2004 (formerly CA 1282) will still be available for a further period of time. Reportees are reminded that form SRG 2004 cannot be completed or submitted online, but should be either faxed to the number notified on the form, or posted using the Freepost address.
UK Birdstrike Data
The CAA’s view is that the volume of birdstrikes reported at a particular airport or aerodrome does not imply greater hazard. Due to the limitations of unanalysed raw data, users should exercise extreme caution in forming any conclusion or opinion based on quantitative data alone.
The CAA disclaims all responsibility for any interpretation which might be made by others in receipt of this birdstrike data.
The CAA intends to publish and review relevant data within certain time scales, as listed below.
Birdstrike reporting has become easier since 1 January 2008, when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) introduced a new online reporting system for the aviation community. The preferred method of reporting an event of a bird striking a plane is now by completing a form on the CAA’s website.
To date, aerodromes, aircraft operators and private pilots have filed birdstrike reports by completing the CA1282 Birdstrike Occurrence Form, which is faxed or posted. The online reporting form is now available at: http://www.caa.co.uk/birdstrikereporting
Birdstrike reporting became mandatory in 2004. A birdstrike report must be submitted to the CAA unless the strike has already been reported as an accident or damage occurrence through the CAA’s Mandatory Occurrence Reporting (MOR) scheme. Since reporting was made mandatory, there has been a 67 per cent increase in the number of reports received and 1,780 reports were received in 2006. However the number of birdstrikes classified as ‘serious’ has remained unchanged, averaging 57 per annum. Modern aircraft engines are designed to be resistant to multiple strikes by birds of up to 5.5lbs in weight.
This new online reporting procedure will provide a more efficient way of managing the data received. The maintenance of an accurate and comprehensive birdstrike database enables the CAA to provide information and advice to aerodrome licensees that can assist them in their habitat management and bird dispersal techniques.
The CAA conducted a trial at nine UK airports (see Notes to Editors) between August 2006 and October 2007, when reporters were asked to complete and submit an online version of the CA1282 Birdstrike Occurrence Form. This followed the success of an online reporting scheme used in the USA and Canada.
Nick Yearwood, from the Aerodrome Standards Department at the CAA, believes that the implementation of an automated reporting system will be mutually beneficial to both the CAA and the aviation community. He said: “Prior to birdstrike reporting becoming mandatory, there was a large degree of under reporting. We believe that this automated procedure will make it quicker and easier for pilots and aerodrome officials to file birdstrike reports. This will ensure that we have a more accurate record of birdstrike events that we can share with the industry in order to improve bird control procedures.”
The CAA reports that bird strikes are on the increase throughout the UK, with 1529 reported last year – up from 1278 in 2009. For Scotland the CAA has said bird strikes have risen at Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness airports over the past 2 years, with an increase in wild flocks and air traffic blamed. Bird strikes have been blamed for bringing down huge aircraft in the past, including the incident in 2009 where an Airbus A320 was forced to ditch in the Hudson river in New York. Glasgow Airport reported 8 strikes this year involving large birds, up from the usual annual average of 3. The Herald Scotland (article below) gives information about increases at Scottish airports.