Bird strikes at airports are not uncommon and can end in tragedy. The Telegraph recently reported a plane crash in Napal that took the lives of 19 people when a vulture flew into one of the engines as the plane was taking off. Tragedies like these underscore the importance of effective bird control.
Civil Aviation Authority officials noted that the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after the plane’s front engine had been hit by a bird and ceased to function. After trying to start a second engine, the damaged engine burst into flames. When the pilot attempted to land in the nearby Monahara River (to snuff out the flames), the plane crashed into a soccer fi eld on the riverbank and was engulfed in thick, black flames. The plane crashed just 500 meters from the airport. Luckily no one was on the ground in the plane’s path. It took firefighters over 40 minutes to extinguish the flames.
It was later determined that the bird was not sucked into the engine, but hit the right side propeller. A local engineer noted that 90 percent of bird strikes occur during ta keoff. Bird collisions can result in aircraft damage, especially if the bird is large and is ingested into a jet engine. In this case, a bird will damage a fan blade in the engine, which causes adjacent blades to displace and impact all the blades in the engine. Without effective bird control measures, airports are literally at the mercy of pest birds.
Keeping Aircraft Hangars Bird Free With Bird Netting
Since most aircraft hangars are wide open during operating hours, birds can easily flock around door openings, overhangs, eaves, canopies, support beams and other lofty areas. Birds attracted to hangars include European starlings, house sparrows and pigeons. Once they begin to nest inside, their droppings and nesting materials can easily fall onto aircraft engines, maintenance and testing areas, and parts storage bays. Parts contaminated with bird debris can fail during testing and even cause mishaps during flight. Workers can also slip and fall on bird droppings.
One popular bird deterrent currently used to keep birds out of aircraft hangars is Heavy Duty Bird Netting. Correctly installed by Authorized Bird Control Installers, bird netting effectively prevents birds from accessing sensitive areas. Heavy duty bird netting comes in a variety of mesh sizes. To block out pigeons or seagulls, consider using 1-1/8- to 2-inch mesh size netting. To seal out smaller birds like sparrows, a 3/4-inch mesh netting is recommended.
Bird control experts will tell you that it’s important to specify high quality netting. The best heavy duty netting is made of high-strength polyethylene. One manufacturer offers netting that has a burst strength of up to 40 pounds. It meets ISO 1806 and 9001 protocols, is UV stabilized, flame resistant and rot- and water-proof. The best netting will have a 250-degree Fahrenheit melting point and will also remain intact in “sub-zero” temperatures. This netting is black, comes with a 10-year guarantee and is virtually invisible when properly installed.
Installing heavy duty netting in aircraft hangars should be done properly by Authorized Bird Control Installers. Such installations typically require thousands of square feet of netting. For example, to properly install the netting horizontally across an entire hangar ceiling, special boom lifts and power gear are required. Improperly installed netting can droop and sag, allowing birds to enter through spaces.
Heavy Duty Pond Netting for Wetland Areas
Properly installed, Heavy Duty Pond Netting creates a physical barrier that prevents migratory birds from landing in ponds or other water areas around aviation facilities. The netting is made from a durable, UV-stabilized Dupont® knotted mesh nylon and designed for prolonged use in harsh environments. The netting comes in large stock sizes and custom cuts. Mesh sizes vary from 3/4” to 4” to exclude a variety of large and medium sized migrating birds.
Avian Control™ Bird Repellent
Ideal for repelling birds from large expansive areas like airports, Avian Control™ Bird Repellent is a non-toxic solution that discourages geese, gulls ducks starlings and other birds from gathering and grazing. Avian Control’s unique patent pending formula irritates the mucous membranes of birds, yet it’s harmless to birds, pets and people (all ingredients are considered “Generally Regarded As Safe” by the FDA). It lasts up to three times longer than other goose deterrents. The repellent can be sprayed and is highly economical when fogged (fogging uses just 12 to 16 ounces per acre). Avian Control™ should be applied by a licensed pest control operator.
For additional advice on how to prevent bird strikes at your airport, consult an expert like the folks at Bird-B-Gone.