The WBA... Aviation Safety Around the World
Major Henrique Rubens Balta de Oliveira - former AMX pilot, Brazilian Air Force.
Brazil has more than 350 public airports and on average 8,500 movements per day. Despite inconsistent reporting procedures, almost 1,500 strikes were reported in 2011, with limited information available about direct costs of strikes.
Black vultures are one of the major concerns since they are attracted by organic material in the vicinity of many Brazilian airports as a consequence of poor waste management and other inappropriate land uses.
Following ICAO Annex 14 - standard 9.4.4, on October 16th 2012, the Brazilian Federal Government issued the ‘Federal Act 12,725’. This act incorporates a wider perspective permanently involving non-aeronautical entities in bird/wildlife risk management because it enforces procedures for those activities that (could) attract hazardous species within a 20km radius around civil and military aerodromes.
Rather than overcome constitutional principles, this act aims to improve safety for the aviation industry (including passengers) and consequently the communities living within the vicinity of airports.
To implement this new act, a national program will be developed and overseen by Brazilian environmental, civil & military aviation authorities. In addition to the off-airport bird/wildlife attractants, this program will aim to reduce the strike risk through on-airport habitat management, dispersal of hazardous wildlife, egg & nest removal, wildlife relocation and even culling if previous methods are ineffective.
The penalties for non-compliance to the new law by public or private land users include a range of financial fines (up to US$ 625,000), suspension, or even closure. All fines collected will be used for implementing actions to reduce the bird/wildlife strike risk, both in the vicinity and on-airports.
The need for bird/wildlife effective risk assessment and reliable data provided by Brazilian aviation industry will be even more critical in order to support the implementation of this new law that will likely impact significantly most of the society.
Major Henrique Rubens Balta de Oliveira is a former AMX pilot in Brazilian Air Force, currently completing a masters course in Aviation Safety and Continued Airworthiness at Technological Institute of Aeronautics.