Case Analysis of Wildlife Strike

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Birds and other native species are increasingly concerned with aircraft in the aviation industry worldwide. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has since launched a number of research and services to help reduce the issue of wildlife strikes (Cleary, Dolbeer, & Wright, 2006). The annual reports were subsequently produced by a risk review of the data provided by the FAA during the testing and management programmes. The Horizon DHC-8 was the strike in their finds among the wildlife. In summary of the Horizon DHC-8 strike, the aircraft, which was in the direction of the wind blowing was unable to visualize due to the poor night illumination approach, hence collided with a flock of diving ducks. This deformed the nose structure of the aircraft and the windshield proportionally in front of the captain. The aircraft windshield got broken as result of a head on collision. Pieces of glasses were ejected from the innermost plate of the windshield. Unfortunately, uncountable small pieces were implanted in the face, forehead, and the scalp of the captain. One the officer came to an aid of the aircraft, by engaging backup flight instruments and landed it safely. Through the investigation, Federal Aviation Regulation did not consider the impact of the several bird strikes on the windshield as the main cause.

Subsequently, prior to the accident two probable factors were considered as the cause of the accident. These included the dark night and the flock of ducks flying in the direction of the visual traffic light (Muller, Mosher, Herbster, & Brickhouse, 2015). About seven to eight birds instantly appeared in front of the aircraft on a vivid dark night. Prior to the time of the event, the aircraft was descending through at about thirty-nine thousand feet, on the extended runway with right illumination in the direction of the wind. The aircraft’s approach flare lights visualized the birds suddenly, and before the flight official took any action the birds impacted the nose and windshield aircraft.

The management program at the time of the event was, “Smithsonian National Museum’s Department Of Natural History, And United State Department of The Interior’s Fish, and Wildlife Service.” Which identified the type bird by examination of the remains or feathers on the body aircraft impacted (DeVault, Belant, Blackwell, & Seamans, 2011). In addition, they realize the diving ducks are regular visitors of the lake and pond within which Medford airport exist. Additionally, they monitored their time of migration. Another management program was the National Transportation Safety Board, which determined the main causes of the accident through inspection.

The investigation revealed that one or more ducks collided with the airframe in four separate locations. The most affected point was at the centerline of the aircraft Close to the forward nose compartment. Impacts on the circuit breaker caused the aircraft to be flown on standby instrument pack. Moreover, the Audio and Radio Control Display (ARCD) showed that several red lights were not working and no fire warning tone from the engine. The crew also discovered the inability of the working of the nose wheel steering when the aircraft touched down.

The first impact point was on the line proportional to the captain at the riveted seam between the forward nose compartment (Zone 212) and the flight crew cabin (Zone 211).

This resulted in the separation of the rivet and partial penetration of the forward nose. The second impact occurred at the windscreen in front of the officers, immediately after the aforementioned (212/211) rivet seams. However, the aircraft skin was deformed but there was no penetration. The third was the impact on the windscreen in front of the captain. The panes from the innermost panes got fractured and the pieces ejected in the left side and center of the flight deck (Dalton, & Nicholson, 2013). Further, the investigation revealed that the blood fluid from the birds was passed between the windscreen and the rubber seal that holds it in place on the airframe.

Birds and other wildlife pose a flexible risk problem to airports and therefore a relevant management method should be introduced to help mitigate the risk (Muller, Mosher, Herbster, & Brickhouse, 2015). So, as in the case of horizon DHC-8 strike used the management program known the “Smithsonian National Museum’s Department Of Natural History, And United State Department Of The Interior’s Fish And Wildlife Service. Furthermore, provided wildlife summary and risk analysis reports based on the data from the national wildlife database. This can be done by encouraging airports to give feedback on the utility of the report and suggested improvement. The basic key to improving the quality of data is through reporting of the incidences to FAA for submission on the national database and identification of birds involved in the strike by the “Smithsonian National Museum’s Department Of Natural History.”


Dalton, J. C., & Nicholson, R. (2013). Soaring with Eagles: Bird strike Analysis in the Design and Operation of New Airplanes. SAE International Journal of Aerospace, 6(2013-01-2234), 591-597.

Muller, B. M., Mosher, F. R., Herbster, C. G., & Brickhouse, A. T. (2015). Aviation Bird Hazard in NEXRAD Dual Polarization Weather Radar Confirmed by Visual Observations. International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace, 2(3), 6.

Cleary, E. C., Dolbeer, R. A., & Wright, S. E. (2006). Wildlife strikes to civil aircraft in the United States 1990-2005.

DeVault, T. L., Belant, J. L., Blackwell, B. F., & Seamans, T. W. (2011). Interspecific variation in wildlife hazards to aircraft: implications for airport wildlife management. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 35(4), 394-402.

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