An Analysis of Wildlife-Strike Data from the 30 Busiest Commercial Airports in Brazil (2020-2022)

An Analysis of Wildlife-Strike Data from the 30 Busiest Commercial Airports in Brazil (2020-2022)

Flavio A. C. Mendonca
Assistant Professor
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Boulevard Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
1 (386) 226-6776, (138) 622-6677
E-mail: COIMBRAF@ERAU.EDU

and

Joao S. D. Garcia
Assistant Professor
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Boulevard Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
E-mail: SOUZADIJ@ERAU.EDU

Abstract: Wildlife strikes are an increasing safety and economic concern for aviation operations in Brazil. This study will present information obtained from the analysis of wildlife strike data from the 30 busiest airports hosting commercial operations in Brazil (2020-2022). The study takes an Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) approach to the analysis of wildlife-strike data based on two primary national data sources, namely the Brazilian national wildlife-strike database, managed by the Brazilian Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center (CENIPA), and the Air Traffic Operations Annual Reports, published by the Brazilian Air Traffic Control Department (DECEA). During the 2020-22 period, there were 5,765 and 1,005 reported strikes and damaging strikes, respectively, at and around these airports. Forty-five percent (n=3,056) of the total strikes occurred during the day. Most strikes (n=4,190) and damaging strikes (n=526) involved commercial operators. Ninety percent of the strikes (n=2,802) in which wildlife species was identified involved birds. Ninety percent (n=4,269) and 82% (n=633) of the strikes and damaging strikes, respectively, occurred ≤ 500 feet AGL. The number of damaging wildlife strikes per 100,000 aircraft operations in these airports increased from 15.87 to 28.99 from 2020 through 2022. While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to oscillations in these numbers, the increase is consistent with longer-term trends. Findings of this research project may inform the development of national policies and standards in Brazil as well as future integrated research and management efforts to mitigate wildlife strikes.

Flavio A. C. Mendonca

Dr. Flavio Mendonca is an assistant professor and researcher at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a Brazilian Air Force retired officer, a pilot, a Flight Safety Officer, and a senior aircraft accident investigator. His research agenda focuses on investigating how UAS technologies could be effectively applied to identify hazardous wildlife species to aviation operations as well as potential wildlife attractants within the airport jurisdiction. In addition, Dr. Mendonca has conducted research utilizing wildlife-strike and aircraft operations data. Findings of these studies can provide the scientific foundation for national policies and other safety efforts by aviation stakeholders, and for refinements in the development and implementation of integrated research and operational efforts to mitigate the risk of wildlife strikes to aircraft.

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