Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers Regarding Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports.

Here are some common questions that we have been asked

What is a Wildlife Hazard Assessment?

A Wildlife Hazard Assessment is an ecological study that examines the potential for wildlife strikes at your airport. Typically, a Wildlife Hazard Assessment takes from one to two years to complete. During this time a Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist will examine wildlife activity, management strategies, and wildlife attractants both on and off the airport. The information gathered during the Wildlife Hazard Assessment will be used to create a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan.

What is a Site Visit?

A site visit is similar to a Wildlife Hazard Assessment in that it observes the wildlife and wildlife attractants that occur at an airport. It is, however, limited in scope. Usually a site visit takes from one day to one week to complete. It is not intended to meet the part 139 requirements for conducting a Wildlife Hazard Assessment. Generally, site visits are required by the FAA in order to determine if a Wildlife Hazard Assessment is necessary. Although they are not as detailed as a Wildlife Hazard Assessment they can be a valuable tool for identifying wildlife hazards and can allow the airport to take immediate action if wildlife hazards exist.

Does my airport need a Wildlife Hazard Assessment?

We recommend that all airports have at least a site visit. We also strongly encourage airports to conduct a Wildlife Hazard Assessment. The first step in solving any problem is to understand the situation. For part 139 airports, the FAA has established criterion for determining if a Wildlife Hazard Assessment is required;

Part 139.337(b) requires that a certificate holder provide for the conduct of a Wildlife Hazard Assessment if any of the following criteria are met;

1. An air carrier experiences multiple wildlife strikes.

2. An engine ingestion of wildlife.

3. An air carrier experiences substantial damage from striking wildlife.

4. If wildlife of size or in numbers capable of causing one of these events is observed to have access to any airport flight pattern or aircraft movement area.

What is a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan?

A Wildlife Hazard Management Plan is a living document that guides the airport in dealing with the wildlife hazard issues that they face. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of the people who will be carrying out the plan. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan also identifies the specific wildlife hazard issues that the airport faces and outlines the mitigation procedures.

How tall should we maintain the grass?

The FAA recommends that the grass height on airports be kept from 6-12 inches. The USAF BASH team recommends that airfields maintain the grass at a height of 7-14 inches. It is important to note that all airports face different wildlife hazard issues and must tailor their grass and wildlife management strategies to best suit their airports conditions. For example, if you are having problems with geese or starlings you may want to increase the mowing height. But if you have a large number of raptors feeding at the airport, due to a large population of small mammals, you may want to decrease the mowing height.

What is an Airport Wildlife Biologist?

An Airport Wildlife Biologist is a Wildlife Biologist that specializes in managing wildlife hazard at airports. In order to be considered a "Qualified Airport Biologist" a candidate must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills, experience, and education. In 2006 the FAA developed minimum standards for "Qualified Airport Biologists". Details outlining these requirements can be found in FAA, AC No: 150/5200-36 " Qualifications for Wildlife Biologist Conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Training Curriculums for Airport Personnel Involved in Controlling Wildlife Hazards on Airports".

Currently it is the airports responsibility to determine if their Airport Wildlife Biologist meets these requirements. At this time the FAA does not have a list available to the public of individuals that meet these requirements; however Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has developed a list of individuals that meet the FAA's requirements.

What is the most effective method for harassing wildlife?

We at Loomacres feel an integrated approach is essential to successfully harass wildlife on an airport. As each airport's situation is unique, methods will vary from airport to airport. We can also make recommendations for reducing the attractiveness of your airport to wildlife through habitat modification and the installation of dispersal and exclusion devices

When was the first bird strike recorded?

The first reported bird strike was recorded by Oliver Wright in his diary, and occurred on September 7, 1905.

What is SNARGE?

SNARGE is defined as the remains of an animal on the aircraft or ground after collision and mostly consists of blood and or tissue

How can a bird damage a plane?

A 12-lb Canada goose struck by a150-mph aircraft at lift-off generates the kinetic energy of a 1,000-lb weight dropped from a height of 10 feet (Bird strike Committee USA)

What is the highest bird strike ever recorded?

The world height record for a strike is 37,000 feet.(Bird Strike Committee USA)

Should we allow agriculture on airport property?

Due to the potential of agricultural activities to attract wildlife it is generally not recommended however, current research is being done to study various agricultural crops that may be acceptable for use around airfields.

Who is required to attend a wildlife hazard management training course?

Airport personnel actively involved in implementing FAA approved wildlife hazard management plans must receive initial training and, every 12 consecutive months after that, recurrent training.

What type of grass should we plant at the airport?

Airports should contact a qualified wildlife biologist prior to planting turf on airports. Research has shown that certain wildlife species exhibit feeding preferences and thus selecting a turf species that is suitable for use on airports managed for wildlife hazards is important. Current research is being done by universities to study various turf species that are low maintenance and are not as attractive to wildlife. Contact us for more information on these various species and studies.

How far away and at what distance should we try to mange wildlife at our airport?

It is the airports responsibility to manage wildlife hazards on airport property. The airport should identify all potential wildlife attractants and hazards within 5 miles of the airport and work with the local community to help mitigate current wildlife hazards and ensure wildlife hazards are not created within 5 miles of the airport.

What are the licensing requirements for using pyrotechnics to disperse wildlife at my airport?

The distribution, receipt, and storage of pyrotechnics used for wildlife control at airports is regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The ATF recently clarified to the FAA that the distribution to and receipt of explosives by municipal airports or their explosives contractors and subcontractors are exempt from explosives licensing requirements.

Privately held airports must comply with licensing requirements in order to receive (ie, purchase) pyrotechnics.

ALL airports must comply with pyrotechnics storage requirements. The following information is provided on the website regarding storage requirements:

Licensees and permittees must store explosive pest control devices (EPCDs) in compliance with 27 CFR, Subpart K - Storage. Pest control devices containing flash powder are classified as high explosives and must be stored within Type-1 or Type-2 magazines. Licensees or permittees who desire to store high explosive pest control devices, packed in their original Department of Transportation-approved shipping containers, in a Type-4 magazine, may submit a request for a variance from regulations to the Explosives Industry Programs Branch. (If they are removed from the containers, they must be stored as high explosives within Type-1 or Type-2 magazines.)

See the ATF Explosive Pest Control Devices website for further information, and contact the nearest ATF field office if assistance is needed.

Pyrotechnics Safety

Ensure the safety of pyrotechnics users by establishing safety protocols and training. Use of eye and ear protection is imperative, and pyrotechnics should never be fired from inside a vehicle. See OSHA’s Quick Card, Protect Yourself: Pest Control Pyrotechnics for further user safety information.

Also ensure safety on the Aircraft Operation Area when pyrotechnics are used. Training and operational procedures should be developed to address protection of aircraft and people and prevention of airfield (grass) fires. For Part 139 airports, these topics would be in addition to those required for the annual 8-hour wildlife hazard management training classes for airport personnel.