One flew over the kite’s nest


We have had several bird strikes on airliners in India. The incidents have cost the airlines a huge dent in their earnings. Airports and the surrounding areas have not been kept free of what generates bird activity. Bird nests right in the middle of operational area mean that airliners literally fly over a “bird’s nest”. All these years, the fear of a fatal crash due to bird strike on airliners was not thought of. The serious and near fatal accidents will generate some heat.
In a recent update released by International Birdstrike Committee (IBSC), their data shows a total number of bird strike accidents as 56 and 262 fatalities. This was based on the reported incidents while many are not reported. Airliners and Executive jets accounted for 41 aircraft, among which 15 were fatal which killed 188 persons. Among the lighter aircraft weighing 5,700 kg or less, 53 aircraft were destroyed with 31 fatal accidents killing 61 persons. There were eight helicopter accidents with six of them fatal, killing 10 persons.
The IBSC has published a standard for Aerodrome Bird/ Wildlife control. With such a large number of incidents involving bird strikes, dogs or animals on the runway or operational area, India should initiate stringent standards to comply with the recommendations which ICAO has adapted. An extract from the paper reads:
Controlling the attractiveness of an airport to birds and other wildlife is fundamental to good bird control. Indeed, it is probably more important than bird dispersal in terms of controlling the overall risk.
The most significant portion of the document is Standard 9:
Airports should conduct an inventory of bird attracting sites within the ICAO defined 13 km bird circle, paying particular attention to sites close to the airfield and the approach and departure corridors. A basic risk assessment should be carried out to determine whether the movement patterns of birds/wildlife attracted to these sites means that they cause, or may cause, a risk to air traffic. If this is the case, options for bird management at the site(s) concerned should be developed and a more detailed risk assessment performed to determine if it is possible and/or cost effective to implement management processes at the site(s) concerned.
Uncontrolled development in areas surrounding the airports have made many of our airports susceptible to bird strike incidents. The will to enforce the requirements in the 13 km radius is evident in all airports.
If the preparedness on ground is lacking, the training quality in the air is also deficient. Are the airline crew proficient in ditching drills?
Many aviation authorities require the crew to demonstrate proficiency in Safety and Emergency Procedures every year. A special SEP licence is provided which has to be validated every year. This feature is unheard of in India.
India is a vast country with people from different areas speaking different languages. A vast majority may not understand either English or Hindi. The safety procedure cards provided in the aircrafts for passengers is confined to these two languages. The safety demonstration on board is also confined to the two languages. Do the passengers understand the instructions? Visual instruction is the only solution in a country like India.


~ by anand213 on March 9, 2009.

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