Better reporting of wildlife strikes was one of the recommendations of the year-long study of the critters that inhabit Wittman Regional Airport. As reported in “Wittman Regional Airport & Its Wildlife,” the airport responded immediately. And now the FAA has made it easier for everyone to report a wildlife strike through an online site designed specifically for mobile devices, i.e. the ubiquitous smart phone.
The new site was introduced in conjunction with an updated advisory circular issued on May 31, 2013. Besides feeding critical information to its Wildlife Strike Database, the site also makes it easier to look up N-numbers, check an airport’s status and delays, NOTAMs, and Advisory Circulars, including AC 150/5200-32B, Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes.
The FAA urges anyone who’s involved in or witnesses a strike on or near the airport to report it. Feeding this information helps the FAA better track trends, determine hazards by species to guide mitigation of the risk, and to help airport wildlife programs better identify, understand, and reduce the threat. The FAA asks you to submit a report when an aircraft strikes a bird, bat, or terrestrial mammal that weighs more than 1 kilogram—that’s any critter, from bunnies and armadillos to coyotes and deer, that tips the scales at 2.2 pounds or more.
Even if you don’t witness the strike, the FAA asks you to report aircraft damage caused by a strike or you find the critter involved, or what’s left of it, on or near taxiways, within 250 feet of the runway centerline or within 1,000 feet of the runway’s end, “unless another reason for the animal’s death is identified or suspected.” If someone reports a bird falling from the sky within a mile of the airport on the approach or departure path, report it as a probable strike.
Depending on the wildlife involved and the nature of the strike, the FAA asks that someone collect and submit the remains (here’s a how-to video) so the FAA can positively identify the species involved. Birds are the most common victims of strikes, which usually occur below 3,500 feet above ground level. The Smithsonian Feather Identification Lab takes the lead on identification. Making the airport an uninviting habitat for potential strike victims is the other half of the wildlife effort, and Wittman Regional Airport assesses it almost daily, addressing anything that would attract wildlife immediately, and dispersing unwelcome squatters.