Military News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Netting keeps birds away from flightline, aircraft

by Airman 1st Class Megan Friedl
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

4/23/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Out of all the bird strikes that occurred at Scott Air Force Base last year, 24 percent of them involved cliff and barn swallow birds.

The United States Department of Agriculture partnered with the 375th Safety Office April 15 to cover the bridges on the flightline with netting to deter birds, specifically cliff swallows, from making the area underneath the bridges on the flightline their nests.

Kevin Wedemeyer, USDA Wildlife Specialist, said, "The main focus is to mitigate wildlife hazards to aviation and to protect the airport and the aircraft from wildlife strike hazards."

A bird strike is an aircraft collision with a bird that can cause some type of damage. It can cause aircraft to abort a landing or a takeoff, and in severe cases it can cause an aircraft to crash and harm people.

USDA members along with Airmen from the 375th Safety Office and the Air Traffic Control Tower assisted in the wildlife exclusion. Netting covered underneath the entire bridge. During the process more than 20 people held down the net in place while it is was being properly secured.

Wedemeyer said, "Putting the netting up in that area will keep them from that area to nest, and hopefully they will relocate somewhere else off the airfield and reduce the risk that they present."

The strikes from these birds caused a large amount of time and manning to inspect the aircraft for damages and related issues.

The USDA also provides other forms of wildlife exclusion and habitat modification to eliminate any conflicts between Scott and the wildlife. USDA is here to keep people, animals, and the Air Force's assets protected and safe.

Another project the USDA is planning to work on in the future is to mitigate the thousands of black birds that fly through this area every fall and spring season. These birds cause aircraft to operate with restricted schedules. They are working to eliminate the roost that is located a few miles south of Scott. If that happens successfully then the risk that they have to the aircraft will be reduced significantly.

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