Analysis of Risk-Based Operational Bird Strike Prevention

I.C. Metz, J. Ellerbroek, Thorsten Mühlhausen, Dirk Kügler, J.M. Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

116 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 paper investigates 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 in case of high bird strike risk. An initial study has shown the strong potential of the concept to prevent bird strikes in case of perfect bird movement prediction. This paper takes the research to the next level by taking into account the limited predictability of bird tracks. As such, the collision avoidance algorithm is extended to a bird strike risk algorithm. The risk of bird strikes is calculated for birds expected to cross the extended runway center line and to cause aircraft damage upon impact. By specifically targeting these birds and excluding birds lingering on the runway which are taken care of by the local wildlife control, capacity reductions should be limited, and the implementation remain feasible. The extrapolation of bird tracks is performed by simple linear regression based on the bird positions known at the intended take-off times. To calculate the probability of collision, uncertainties resulting from variability in bird velocity and track are included. The study demonstrates the necessity to limit alerts to potentially damaging strikes with birds crossing the extended runway center line to keep the imposed delays tolerable for airports operating at their capacity limits. It is shown that predicting bird movements based on simple linear regression without considering individual bird behavior is insufficient to achieve a safety-effect. Hence, in-depth studies of multi-year bird data to develop bird behavior models and reliable predictions are recommended for future research. This is expected to facilitate the implementation of a bird strike advisory system satisfying both safety and capacity aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • airport operations
  • capacity
  • probability
  • bird strike
  • damage collision avoidance
  • safety
  • risk


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of Risk-Based Operational Bird Strike Prevention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this