Bird Strike Committee USA/Canada – Brief Article
So, you’re the new “BASH guy” for flight ops, or maybe your new job lists BASH (Bird, Aircraft Strike Hazard) as one of your collateral duties, and you would really like to get smart on your new job. You begin by reading all the guidance provided in AFI 91-202 on the BASH program and AFI 91-204 on reporting your strikes, and you’ve even downloaded AFPAM 91-212 for other general information.
However, you’re one of those “inquiring” minds and really want to get more involved in BASH. Realizing that information on BASH is very limited, you may ask yourself, “Is there a place I can go to learn more?” or “Is there a way to place faces with some of what I have read, or maybe even talk one-on-one with other people who know something about BASH?” The answer is “Yes.” The Bird Strike Committee USA/Canada annual meeting, hosted alternately in each country, provides just those opportunities.
This year’s meeting was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 8-10, with assistance from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Over 360 individuals from 14 countries attended. Attendees included military, Federal Aviation Administration, US Department of Agriculture, US Fish and Wildlife, representatives from civil airports, and other aviation-related individuals. Of all categories, the military had the greatest number, with 115 attendees–obviously, we’re interested in learning about BASH!
Although the conference is only ten years old, it is the largest forum in the world on the subject of wildlife hazards to aviation. The committee began in August 1991 as a group of about 25 individuals who gathered to discuss wildlife hazards to aircraft. At this meeting, it was decided that a committee was needed to provide feedback to professionals who were writing policy on the subject and to disseminate information to field professionals. Over the years the conference has grown to include technical papers, product exhibitors, training sessions, field demonstrations and poster presentations.
The nearly 30 technical papers and nine poster sessions at this year’s conference covered topics ranging from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations regarding wildlife hazards to aviation, to novel harassment techniques, such as the use of border collies and radio controlled aircraft. Technical sessions covered wildlife management techniques, including rodent control to reduce the occurrence of raptors around the airfield, and legally controlling resident goose populations under changing wildlife regulations. Also presented this year was a session devoted to new uses of technology including radar and laser.
In an effort to keep the conference interesting, each year the organization committee schedules a field trip in the middle of the meeting. This year, they visited MSP and St. Paul Downtown Holman Field to see firsthand how airport personnel are dealing with their wildlife hazards. Discussions focused on their problems with resident Canada Geese and drainage problems resulting from beaver damming up water. While at MSP the group had a chance to speak with exhibitors and even sample products, such as pyrotechnics. Also provided were demonstrations of new devices, for example an avian mobile radar unit not commonly available to the public. During the field trip, Whiteman AFB’s TSgt Mark Loud demonstrated the use of remote aircraft (RC) to harass birds. His “dual-control” setup allowed volunteers a chance to actually try their hand at flying the RC aircraft.
The USAF used the occasion to display some of its programs and new products. Dr. Carla Dove and Marcy Heacker-Skeans of the Smithsonian Institution showcased the USAF feather identification program in a poster session. Presentations were also provided on the latest version of the Bird Avoidance Model (BAM) and Avian Hazard Advisory System (AHAS). New electronic presentation mediums allowed a demonstration of the model to the audience. This medium provided model developers an opportunity to give the audience a preview of what is now available on-line via the web.
Because the conference attracts so many individuals, it is an excellent time to provide training and information exchange. BASH team biologists and the staff biologist for the FAA provided separate training sessions. These sessions covered topics pertaining specifically to their respective audiences. Attendance at the training sessions was excellent and resulted in a lively exchange of ideas and information.
One of the greatest benefits to the Bird Strike Committee meeting is the chance to interact with so many professionals who deal with wildlife hazards around airfields on a daily basis. This invaluable contact shows the attendees they are not alone in their BASH duties. If they happen to run into a problem later, they can quickly thumb through the attendance list and place a call to someone they met who may have a similar experience and can provide assistance.
If this conference sounds like something that will assist you in your duties as the “BASH guy” at your base, and you missed this year’s meeting, take heart. Our neighbors to the north have already begun the planning process for next year’s meeting. Mark your calendar for August 27-30, 2001 and be ready to travel to Calgary, Alberta, for what is sure to be another great conference. For information on next year’s conference, you may check on-line at: www.birdstrike.org or by accessing the Safety Center web site.
COPYRIGHT 2000 U.S. Air Force, Safety Agency
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group