Air Traffic Control Advisory System for the Prevention of Bird Strikes

I.C. Metz

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

51 Downloads (Pure)


Bird strike prevention in civil aviation has traditionally focused on the airport perimeter. Since the risk of especially damaging bird strikes outside the airport boundaries is rising, this PhD thesis researches the safety potential of operational bird strike prevention involving pilots and controllers. In such a concept, controllers would be equipped with a bird strike advisory system, allowing them to delay departures which are most vulnerable to the consequences of bird strikes. However, the introduction of take-off delays reduces the maximum capacity of a runway. This PhD thesis investigates the feasibility of a bird strike advisory system with regard to safety and capacity by performing fast-time simulations including different air traffic intensities and bird abundance. In a first step, a system assuming perfect predictability of bird movement is developed, demonstrating a strong safety potential. However, when preventing all bird strikes, the induced delays can exceed tolerable limits for high air traffic intensities. In a second step, the system includes the limited predictability of bird movement. Bird tracks are predicted based on a simple linear regression model, considering variability of velocity and heading. To limit the negative effects on runway capacity, delays are only imposed on aircraft, for which strikes are predicted with a high probability and a damaging potential. The number and duration of delays remains reasonable even for airports operating at their capacity limits. However, linear regression proves insufficient to suitably evaluate the risk of collisions. To achieve reliable predictions, in-depth studies of multi-year bird movement data from various sensor types are recommended to develop site- and species-specific bird models. As such, the concept of a bird strike advisory system can be further developed to exploit the entire safety potential demonstrated by the initial study of the thesis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Hoekstra, J.M., Supervisor
  • Ellerbroek, J., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date10 May 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-381-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • airports
  • air traffic control
  • bird strikes
  • capacity
  • Collision detection and avoidance
  • risk
  • safety


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