Report from the Statistics Working Group
At the Warsaw meeting, John Thorp as vice-chairman of the working group, mainly involved with civil statistics, agreed to collect civil bird strike data for the years 2000 up to 2004 and present a summary of this at this meeting. Although he approached twenty-nine European aviation authorities for data, almost none responded. This lack of response led to his decision to not further pursue this action. So in this meeting we will have no summary presented of civil bird strike statistics from a collection of nations. Although supported by the Air Force Flight Safety Committee Europe and agreed on in a standard NATO agreement, the collection of military bird strike data for EURBASE was not a spontaneous matter either.
Shortly after the Warsaw meeting, I sent all of the members the progress report and the analysis of bird species as was presented at the Warsaw meeting and asked for new contributions. Again, there were no contributions from the military flight safety departments, I think I approached twenty-four. In spring 2004 I again approached all flight safety departments and again asked for data to be included in the analysis planned for this meeting. When this failed again, I e-mailed known contact persons, mostly from the “IBSC family”. This was successful and yielded data for a number of countries for up to 2003. So EURBASE is quite up-to-date now and for several countries I also have data for 2004. I was able to provide the analysis on military bird strikes yesterday. Scattered over several sessions of this meeting there were another thirteen papers presented in which statistics played a significant role. Overall I conclude that there are quite a lot of papers about statistics and at the same time there is quite a lot of trouble in collecting the data for communal databases.
The papers presented on statistics covered a wide range, from descriptive statistics for airfields, nations and air forces to specific analysis of the resistance of turbine-powered aircraft to multiple bird strikes. Also papers dealing with history dating back to 1923 up to the future when mandatory reporting in Europe is imminent. During the meeting there was also much attention for the need for reliable bird strike information, quantitative and anecdotal, how to obtain this information (mandatory, electronic, other means) and the agreement needed on definitions as used in the EU directive 2003/42 on mandatory reporting.
Following the contribution from Sorcha Sheehy from Ireland on the bird strike syndrome, there was some discussion on the identification of bird remains since an alarming high proportion of the bird strike reports still do not have information on bird species involved, which I think is a shame. Despite the availability of several, often not expensive, techniques most countries’ aviation authorities do not actively promote the use of them – the exception being the USA Federal Aviation Authority who recently acquired a DNA sequencer, thus actively working to increase the identification of USA civil bird strikes. This more or less summarises what we have done between Warsaw and this meeting on bird strike statistics.