Risk assessment of bird–aircraft strikes at commercial airports submodel development

Jinfeng Wang, Edwin E. Herricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bird strikes are a continuing problem in aviation. Despite the number and severity of reported bird strikes, quantification of the effect of contributory factors has been limited because of the absence of data, especially data on bird activity around airfields. The purpose of this study is to provide initial insight into this important problem by combining a number of databases and information resources available at the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport in Washington, including airplane operations, bird strike reports, and the avian radar data on bird movements. Logistic regression and multinomial regression models were used to analyze, respectively, bird strike occurrence and severity. The results indicate that bird track density and airplane movement frequency significantly correlate with bird strike occurrence. High altitude and cloudy weather increase the probability of serious damage. Airplanes weighing less than 27,000 kg and those with turbofan engines and struck positions including tail and light move the propensity toward minor damage compared with no damage. Factors such as single-engine airplanes, medium and large birds, and strikes occurring at engines and wings increase the chance of both serious and minor damage. The findings of this study could provide support for potential changes in airport bird hazard management, airplane operations, and engineering designs of engines and airframes. The study highlights the importance of managing accurate bird strike reports and applying new statistical approaches as more data become available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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