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.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox

Tyndall AFB takes F-22 pilot training to next level

Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox Two F-22 Raptors and a T-38 Talon from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, fly together during a 43rd Fighter Squadron Basic Course training mission Oct. 7, 2013 over Florida. A sortie begin...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OĆ­Shea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 
 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 




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>