Wildlife collisions to aircraft in India-a comparative analysis of hazardous species involved in different time periods

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Defence Life Science Journal


Wildlife strikes (mainly birds, but also includes bats and other mammals on the ground) with aircraft is a serious economic and safety concern in the aviation industry. The solution to the problem can be evolved by identifying the species involved in the incidents/ accidents. In the Indian context, such an attempt was started in 1980. In the recent past, Indian Air Force adopted the DNA Bar-coding technology to identify the species involved. The extent of the problems faced by the country and involvement of different species in various time blocks has been compared with an objective of analysing changes over different periods to gauge the changes and assess the future requirements. The data indicates that over the years, the number of strikes has increased manifold in the civil aviation sector. The number of species involved in strikes has almost doubled. The serious strikes due to Vultures have nearly disappeared and their place has been mainly taken over by Black Kites. In the recent past, Black Kites are the cause of highest damages and also have the highest probability of causing damages (61.17%) when struck. Adoption of DNA Barcoding technology has helped to identify the species in incidents where minimal bird remnants were found. Although the numbers of accidents have decreased, the economical losses continue to rise due to high cost of modern aircraft.

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