Simulation Model to Calculate Bird-Aircraft Collisions and Near Misses in the Airport Vicinity

Isabel Metz, Thorsten Muhlhausen, Joost Ellerbroek, Dirk Kügler, Hans van Gasteren, Jan Kraemer, Jacco Hoekstra

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Annually, thousands of birds collide with aircraft. The impact usually has lethal
consequences for the bird, the involved aircraft can experience severe damage. The highest bird strike risk occurs at low altitudes. Therefore, aircraft within the airport area as well as the adjacent approach and departure corridors are especially vulnerable to collisions with birds. To analyse risk-reducing measures in these areas, a fast-time bird strike simulation environment was developed. An open-source Air Traffic Management simulator was enhanced with a model to represent bird movements and to recognize bird strikes. To confirm the reproducibility of the outcome, Monte Carlo simulations were performed. They included bird movement data from one year and air traffic flight plans for various air traffic volumes. The number of strikes and near misses showed an expected variance within the individual replications. The results indicate that the predictability of the number of strikes and near misses increases with rising number of birds, and rising air traffic intensity. Thus, by considering simulation scenarios including bird movement information from all seasons and a sufficient air traffic volume, the described set-up leads to stable results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112
Number of pages16
JournalAerospace — Open Access Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • aviation safety
  • bird movement model
  • bird strike
  • fast-time simulation
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • near miss
  • risk calculation
  • runway capacity


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