Defense

September 11, 2012

Fighting birds with birds

Tags:
A1C Jose L. Leon
McConnell AFB, Kansas

In this image released by the National Geographic Society, a peregrine falcon is shown similar to one of the falcons that will be used in McConnell Air Force Base’s Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program.

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, is being overhauled with new contractors employing the use of a falcon to keep skies clear from avian adversaries.

The BASH program is in place to reduce bird strikes by introducing a natural predator into the area to ward off smaller animals.

McConnell will be changing the type of predator used from a dog to a pair of falcons.

Elaina, a Barbary falcon, and Jack, a Peregrine-Prairie hybrid, will be McConnell’s new solution, capable of providing smaller birds the motivation to move along.

“One strike, if the bird hits the wrong spot on a plane, could do $50 to $100 thousand worth of damage,” said Maj. Jeremy Fischman, 22nd ARW flight safety chief. “It is really easy for the program to pay for itself by preventing one bad bird strike.”

Preventing bird strikes also maintains safety by not putting Airmen in a situation where they have to maneuver aircraft damaged in flight.

There were 4,471 bird strikes Air Force-wide in 2011. These incidents cost $13,061,140.

While the fields and ponds surrounding McConnell are inviting habitats for birds, the falcons will be introduced as a predatory species. The birds instinctively know that it is too dangerous to seek food and shelter once they note the presence of the falcons.

There are several other ways that bird and wildlife populations are humanely controlled around the airfield including fencing certain areas off, mowing the grass near the flight line to a prescribed height and draining puddles. Cannon blasts and noise makers can also be used to disperse unwanted flocks.

“I’ll be trapping or using depredation to manage problem mammals,” said Elizabeth Hensel, Falcon Environmental Services, Inc. wildlife manager.

For example, if there is a red-tail hawk, Hensel can trap the bird and move it to another location 50 miles away leading to one less bird threatening the fleet.

Having falcons will help disperse the birds and hopefully there will be less of a bird strike concern for the KC-135 Stratotankers, said Hensel.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Navy photograph

USS Roosevelt marks 200,000 trap

Navy photograph An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Capt. Daniel Grieco, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), and Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, complet...
 
 
Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned

USS California returns from maiden deployment

Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned The Virginia-class attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returns from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London. Under the command of Cmdr. Shawn Huey, Ca...
 
 
Army photograph

Army proves new watercraft capabilities

Army photograph Marine Corps assets are loaded onto the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak (T-AK 3005), from an U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility, or LCU, USAV Port Hudson during port operations, at White Beach Naval Base, Jan. 22, 2015. Sold...
 

 
Army photograph by Kashia Simmons

Improved Army system, training to increase vigilance

Army photograph by Kashia Simmons Vigilant Pursuit provides dedicated tactical pursuit vehicle-mounted and dismounted assets that utilize cutting-edge technologies, enabling Signal Intelligence, or SIGINT, and Human Intelligenc...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>