Aviation Bird Strike Prevention

Take preventative measures to protect aircrafts from the risks posed by bird strikes.

Aviation bird strikes cause significant damage to aircrafts, resulting in costly repairs and delays. It is crucial for airports to take preventative measures to protect aircrafts from the risks posed by bird strikes. Flight Control® Max is a humane, effective, and non-lethal bird strike prevention solution to help airports mitigate bird strike risk and prevent costly accidents

flamingos flying over the airport while a plane takes off

What is a Bird Strike?

A bird strike is an aviation accident which occurs when a bird or a flock of birds collide with an aircraft. Bird strikes can cause significant damage to an airplane, resulting in costly repairs, delays, or emergency landings.

While bird strikes may be less hazardous than other aviation risks, preventative measures should still be taken to ensure bird strikes don’t endanger aircrafts and their passengers. In the United States alone, bird strikes cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Preventative measures can help reduce costs and prevent unnecessary damages to aircraft.

Most Common Birds Involved in Collisions

The type and size of bird involved in bird strike accidents varies from region to region. Birds of all sizes can be responsible for bird strikes, but large birds like geese, gulls, and cranes can cause more substantial damage to aircrafts and pose a bigger threat to aviation safety.

In recent decades, the bird population in the United States has continued to increase, resulting in a greater risk of bird strike. The Canadian goose population alone has tripled, creating added risk of damage to aircraft due to their larger size.

Geese taking off from a pond

Factors That May Increase the Likelihood of Airplane Bird Strike

Due to the major costs and risks associated with bird strikes, airports must take preventative measures to reduce bird strike risk. The likelihood of bird strikes occurring increases based on a number of factors, including the altitude of the aircraft, the time of day, the environment surrounding the airport, and the migratory patterns of regional birds.


Aircrafts at lower altitudes are more likely to encounter bird strikes. Most instances of birds hitting planes occurs during takeoff or landing.

Time of Day

The chances of bird strike occurring are much higher during the day, as this is when most birds are active. However, nearly a third of airplane bird strikes occur at night, when visibility is limited, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Nearby Environment

The environment surrounding an airport can have a significant effect on bird strike risk. Vegetation and bird feeders around airports can attract more birds, increasing the risk of bird strike. Furthermore, airports located near bodies of water or agricultural fields may be at higher bird strike risk due to greater bird activity in the area. Airports situated near environments that attract wildlife should especially take proactive measures to repel birds and animals to reduce the risk of collision.

Migratory Patterns

Migratory bird patterns can also influence bird strike risk. During the spring and fall migration seasons, bird activity around airports increases significantly due to the large number of birds passing through in search of food or shelter. The FAA reports that more than half of all bird strike incidents in the U.S. occur between July and October, when fall migration begins, as more birds are mobilizing across the country. 

The Dangers of Bird Strike

How Birds Can Damage Aircraft and Impede Flight

Bird strikes can cause serious damage to aircrafts and potentially lead to expensive repairs, delays, or, in rare cases, a crash.

The impact of bird strikes on planes depends on the size of the bird, speed of the plane, and other factors. Smaller birds may only cause minor dents or scratches, while larger bird strikes can break windshields and even disable an engine. Plane damage from birds can also interfere with aircraft navigation systems and disrupt communication signals, as well.


Engines are most vulnerable to bird strike, as the bird’s weight and size can damage internal components. When birds are sucked into jet engines, they cause bird ingestion, which can damage the engine’s blades and decrease both airspeed and altitude. Impact from bird strikes can even cause engine failure, resulting in a loss of power and reduced control over the aircraft.

Most aircraft are capable of flying on one engine, so losing one is typically not indicative of catastrophe. However, there have been some instances, such as the infamous US Airways flight 1549, in which bird strike resulted in dual engine failure. In this case, the aircraft lost all power and was forced to make an emergency landing, resulting in a successful emergency landing later dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Dual engine failure is extremely rare, but any loss of power can be disruptive to the security and safety of a flight. Taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of bird strike is a worthwhile effort to avoid the need for resulting emergency landings and consequential costly repairs.

Windows and Windscreens

Bird strikes can impair the structural integrity of an aircraft’s frame, resulting in costly repairs or even accidents. Airplanes fly at very high speeds, and in the event that a collision occurs during acceleration, a bird may break through the glass of a windscreen, endangering the crew.


In addition to bird ingestion into engines, bird strikes can also damage propellers and decrease the efficiency of the aircraft. The force from bird strike can cause the blades of a propeller to bend or break, resulting in decreased thrust and reduced lift.

Flight Control Surfaces

Bird strikes can also damage flight control surfaces, such as the ailerons, elevators, and rudder. High lift devices, which are deployed during takeoff and landing, can be subject to bird strike impact, and if a bird gets stuck in the mechanism, it will not be able to retract. This can reduce maneuverability and affect the aircraft’s ability to turn or climb in certain directions.

Nose Cones

Damaged nose cones resulting from bird strike can disrupt the aircraft’s performance and cause turbulence. A bird strike to a nose cone can reduce its aerodynamic efficiency, resulting in an increase in drag and decreased overall speed.

How to Reduce Bird Strike in Aviation: Prevention Strategies

Bird strikes can be extremely costly and dangerous, so it’s important to take preventative measures in order to reduce bird strike risk. It is best to develop an integrated bird strike management plan using all available tools.

Implement a Sufficient Airport Bird Strike Prevention System

Many airports have adopted bird control strategies to keep birds away from the airport environment, such as bird-repelling sound systems and visual deterrents like bird netting and scarecrows.

Apply Flight Control® Max to Surrounding Areas

The use of Flight Control® Max to repel birds like geese can help relocate these bird populations to nesting and feeding grounds away from airports, reducing the risk of bird strike during takeoff or landing. Treated turf provides a visual warning to geese, alerting them to potential danger, and if they ingest the turf, they will experience a strong but ultimately harmless irritation. From this experience, birds will learn not to feed or nest in treated areas, driving them away from airports and significantly reducing the risk of bird strikes on aircraft.

Test & Equip Aircrafts for Bird Impact Resistance

Aircrafts should be regularly inspected and tested for bird impact resistance. Aircrafts should also be equipped with bird guards and bird screens to protect against bird ingestion.

Manage Native Habitats

Airport staff should prioritize managing local bird habitats to encourage bird populations to stay away. Redirecting bird populations to inhabit areas away from airports with bird feeders and nesting boxes may help reduce the risk of bird strikes.

Report Wildlife and Bird Strikes

When bird strikes occur, pilots and airport personnel should report bird strikes to the National Wildlife Strike Database. This helps keep bird strike records up-to-date, enabling officials to better monitor bird populations near airports and other hazardous areas to better recommend and implement preventative measures.

Why Aircraft Bird Strike Reporting Matters

Bird strike reporting is essential to understanding bird behavior, bird populations, and bird strike risk. By tracking bird strikes over time, officials can better understand the size of bird populations around airports and other hazardous areas and make recommendations for bird strike prevention methods. Keeping accurate records of these incidents helps keep aircrafts safe from bird ingestion and other damage resulting from bird aircraft strike hazards. 

Why Use Flight Control for Bird Strike Prevention

Flight Control® Max is easy to apply, cost-effective, and long-lasting.

For a proven, non-lethal, and effective way to repel birds like geese, Flight Control® Max will provide the results you need to minimize the risk of bird strike damage and keep airports clear of bird hazards. Flight Control® Max is easy to apply, cost-effective, and long-lasting. With Flight Control®, bird populations can be effectively relocated and bird strike risks significantly reduced.

Constant and
Consistent Results

Flight Control® Max bird repellent provides consistent, long-term bird control results. Applying our solution to areas around airports can help ensure bird populations stay away from aircrafts and reduce the risk of bird strikes. Unlike other repellent sprays, Flight Control® Max does not wash off in rain or irrigation, ensuring you see consistent results from your efforts to reduce the risk of bird strike.

Repel Birds With
No Noise or Odors

Geese are particularly known to adapt to harassment techniques that utilize loud noises or offensive odors, resulting in ineffective repellent measures. Our uniquely-patented liquid spray formula can be applied directly to bird-hazard areas, making bird strike prevention easy and effective. The bird repellent will humanely direct geese away from airports in a way that does not disrupt day-to-day operations or the health and safety of aircraft personnel.

Save Time
and Money

Using Flight Control® Max bird repellents can save time and money in bird strike prevention efforts. Our bird repellent spray is easy to apply and maintain, helps you get long-term results with consistent bird control, and does not require specialized personnel for application.

Deterring birds from feeding, nesting, and flying in areas near airports can prevent bird-related damage to aircrafts, which can require extensive repairs, part replacements, and costly delays in operation. By controlling bird populations near airports with a cost-effective, proven bird repellent product like Flight Control® Max, airport officials can reduce the risk of bird strikes while saving time and money.

Protect Passengers
and Crew

Aviation bird strikes are a serious hazard to passengers and crew members alike. Taking proactive steps to protect against bird intake can help ensure the safety of everyone on board your aircrafts. Flight Control® Max bird repellent is an effective, humane way to manage bird populations near airports and other hazardous areas and reduce the risk of bird strike. 

For bird strike prevention, use Flight Control® Max bird repellent at airports and other hazardous areas. It’s easy to apply and provides long-term bird control results without noise or odor disruption. Protect passengers and crew by taking proactive steps towards bird strike prevention with Flight Control® Max bird repellent. 

Minimize the Risk
of Bird Strike Damage

Flight Control® bird repellents help minimize the risk of bird strike damage due to bird interference in airport operations. Because most bird strike incidents occur on the ground or at very low altitudes, repelling bird populations from airports can greatly reduce bird strike risk and help prevent damages, especially from larger birds like geese. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Aviation Bird Strike Prevention

When a bird strikes an aircraft, it can cause significant damage to the plane’s engines and fuselage. The extent of damage typically depends on the number and size of birds involved, as well as the location of the impact. 

Also referred to as “bird ingestion,”  bird strikes in engines can have serious consequences. Depending on the bird’s size and type, bird ingestion can cause considerable engine damage and significantly reduce engine performance.

Bird strikes are a common hazard in aviation and can occur during any stage of flight. However, bird strike incidents typically happen when an aircraft is taking off or landing, as bird populations tend to be especially concentrated near airports at these times. 

Most bird species will not fly higher than 9,000 feet. However, some bird species have been recorded flying as high as 24,000 feet! At higher altitudes, bird strike is not as common; most incidents of bird strike occur at or around ground level.

Bird strikes can cause significant damage to aircraft engines. Depending on the bird’s size and type, bird ingestion can cause considerable engine damage and significantly reduce engine performance. That’s why it is important to take proactive steps towards bird strike prevention with a bird repellent like Flight Control® Max. 

It is extremely rare for bird strikes to cause plane crashes. However, bird strikes can cause considerable engine damage, as well as other problems such as windshield hits and bird ingestion. Failure to take adequate preventative measures can significantly increase the risk of bird-related damage to aircraft, so it is important to be proactive in bird strike prevention. 

No. Most bird strikes actually occur when birds are flying in the same direction as an aircraft, rather than from behind. Birds can easily become disoriented and confused by the noise of an airplane’s jets, leading them to fly directly into the path of a moving aircraft. 

The number of bird strikes has been increasing in the last few decades, due mostly to the growth of air traffic and the rapid increase in bird populations. Aircraft bird strikes are less common than other aviation hazards, but these growing factors make it all the more important to take preventative measures. 

Most bird strike incidents typically happen when an aircraft is taking off or landing. Bird populations tend to be more concentrated near airports during these times, so bird strike incidents are more common.

To test an aircraft for bird strike, engineers use bird-strike testing simulations and bird carcass testing. The bird-strike simulation uses a cannon to fire dead bird corpses at an aircraft’s engine and fuselage in order to test its resistance to bird strikes, while the bird carcass testing involves examining the remains of birds that have been hit by an aircraft in order to better inform bird strike prevention.

Prevent Aircraft Bird Strike With Flight Control® Max

While incidents in which birds cause plane crashes are few and far between, preventing bird strike damages is a productive means of maintaining aircraft structural integrity and reducing the costs of unnecessary repairs.

Reduce the risk of aircraft damages and prevent bird strikes from occurring by treating turf with Flight Control® Max bird repellent. This humane treatment will deter birds from gathering near airports where most bird strikes occur, preventing aircrafts from incurring costly, time-consuming damages as a result of bird impact.

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