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World Birdstrike Association

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Director's January 2013 Letter

 Capt van Eekeren


Captain Rob van Eekeren - Executive Director, WBA.

You can find the December 2012 Letter here


 Switzerland – 10 January 2013


Admirable Commitment

The WBA website is now online; these six words signify a huge commitment. A website does not hop online by itself, but people make that possible. Dr Nicholas Carter has spent private funds and several months to make the WBA website running. We owe him a very big applause! The WBA Constitution Act and Statutes are formalized; eight words conveying a huge commitment. Ante Matijaca has put his time, effort and expertise in writing these vital documents. We owe him a big applause. WBA communication is established; four words conveying a huge commitment. Albert de Hoon managed to get the secretariat functioning. This is now the central focal point and coordination centre. This is a tremendous amount of work, performed as part of his daily job and the vast amount on a voluntarily basis in his leisure time. We owe him a big applause.


Luit Buurma is working with a group on getting answers to some vital questions, like “What is an acceptable birdstrike risk to aviation?” Nick Yearwood has accepted the challenge to organize the WBA inaugural conference in 2014. Ante is working with a group on legal and liability issues. They face a lot of work and commitment ahead. Yossi Leshem has accepted to act as WBA special ambassador, promoting the WBA at appropriate levels. Furthermore, an increasing number of other volunteers are committing time, expertise and skills to our joined organization. We owe them all our warmest gratitude. These people make the difference. A big applause for all!!
However, this is just the start. As we all know the bird/wildlife strike risk to aviation is not at an acceptable level yet. There are many reasons for this, most likely because the problem is so multidisciplinary and complicated.


Contrary to e.g. runway safety, in which the aviation industry could strive for a “0” incidents figure, this is not possible for the birdstrike risk. The reason is that we are dealing with one overwhelming factor: nature. Therefore, I’m very pleased that Birdlife International in particular, (amongst others like airline associations, aviation regulators, manufacturers, insurance companies and others) has accepted our invitation for a kick-off meeting. The kick-off meeting will bring all relevant stakeholders together under the WBA umbrella in order to make a start of a worldwide initiative in drafting a global action plan on the reduction of the birdstrike risk to aviation.


Growing together
The individual knowledge may be there. Now the challenge is to get all effectively involved. The process leading to such a joined action plan is vital for its success. When all stakeholders grow together to best practices, commitments, etc., their acceptance and implementation will grow at the same pace.


No organization can exist without people’s commitment. However there are limits. Is it reasonable to expect volunteers spending private money on an organization that will help either save or make money for commercial enterprises? Therefore, I appeal to all these enterprises and organizations to make adequate donations besides the regular membership fee. Your investment will be beneficial to decrease the costs experienced by birdstrikes.


Exciting times are ahead and only made possible by all those volunteers. I asked in my previous column:” May we count on you?” Now I would like to expand this to another sentence with six words: ”May we count on you also?


Captain Rob van Eekeren
Executive Director




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