Research Projects

Guidebook for Systematically Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Airport's Wildlife Hazard Management Plan In Reserve

The goal of this research project is to provide airport operators with guidance and tools to evaluate the effectiveness of their Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP) to reduce wildlife strike risks to aviation.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

All FAA certificated airports have conducted a Wildlife Hazard Assessment and completed or are in the process of completing WHMPs. Under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 139.337, a WHMP must include the following element regarding evaluation:
139.337 (e) (6) Procedures to review and evaluate the wildlife hazard management plan every 12 consecutive months or following an event described in paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this section, including:
(i) The plan's effectiveness in dealing with known wildlife hazards on and in the airport's vicinity and
(ii) Aspects of the wildlife hazards described in the wildlife hazard assessment that should be reevaluated.

The FAA/USDA "Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports Manual" (2005) provides a framework or "simple system" to evaluate five categories/topics relating an airport's WHMP. This framework may provide the foundation of an airport's evaluation but could be modified and updated to provide airport users with a more adaptive, integrated, and technology-based evaluation process. In addition, the FAA does provide an annual WHMP review form to document the review of a WHMP in FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-38 "Protocol for the Conduct and Review of Wildlife Hazard Site Visits, Wildlife Hazard Assessments, and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans" Appendix F which states:
The foundation for these evaluations is not only the documentation of wildlife strikes but the maintenance of consistent records of wildlife surveys and wildlife control activities. Based on the annual evaluation the WHMP should be updated as needed to ensure the information adequately addresses known wildlife hazards. As these changes are adopted, approved, and implemented at the airport, it is of the utmost importance that all documentation is well prepared and available during FAA inspections.

To assist airport operators in documenting this review, the following sample review forms are provided. One form is for the "annual" review (every 12 consecutive months), and one for a review following a triggering event. These forms represent examples and may be used as provided or modified to suit specific needs to review a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan.

While the forms provide a paper form to document the review, the identification of key metrics for success and risk reduction are not provided. Simple reductions in the number of wildlife strikes at an airport do not adequately address the effectiveness of an airport's ability to reduce risks to aviation, human health and safety, or potentially conflicting goals of wildlife conservation efforts or restrictions faced by airport operators. By developing guidance, risk analysis examples, templates and tools, airport's would be better equipped with the type of information and statistical analyses useful in a comprehensive evaluation of the WHMP's effectiveness.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The researchers may want to develop "potential" tools and techniques and evaluation metrics based on statistical analysis of data, Safety Management Systems (SMS) or other applicable models/analyses. Following this step, the researchers could develop a survey for airport operators to review these "potential" tools and document current practices used to measure effectiveness. The survey would be targeted to gather information from commercial service airports (certificated airports) to determine the current practices used to meet 14 CFR Part 139 requirements to evaluate the airport's WHMP every 12 consecutive months. The survey would also introduce the metrics, statistical analysis, risk analysis, or other factors developed by the researchers as "potential" evaluation tools and techniques to determine if they would provide a more meaningful or actionable evaluation of the effectiveness of the airport's WHMP to reduce risks to aviation. The survey could provide airport operator's a platform to discuss challenges in current evaluation tools and to gauge the potential need for more meaningful tools or metrics to evaluated effectiveness in order to prioritize management actions and funding allocation. Once the survey information is gathered, researchers could further refine or develop strategies, tools, and metrics for airports to use for evaluating the effectiveness of their WHMP. The research findings would be incorporated into a guidebook and include background information, methods, metrics, and examples or case studies. Once the tools or metrics are finalized, researchers should evaluate a WHMP from a small, medium, and large hub airport to includes as case studies in the guidebook. Researches should be committed to presenting the findings of the project at a minimum of three (3) aviation stakeholder meetings (such as conferences or workshops) or other education/outreach outlets (such as webinars).

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

• Design and refine a tool and metrics to evaluate effectiveness
• Airport survey to gather information in assistance in the development of a tool and guidebook
• Three (3) airport case studies to test the tool and gather feedback prior to final tool design
• Guidebook with a digital tool available via web-site download for use by airports
• Three (3) webinar or airport industry outreach sessions to educate airport users


12-18 months

Evaluation of a 14 CFR Part 139 certificated airport's FAA approved Wildlife Hazard Management Plan is required under 14 CFR Part 139.337. This project will provide airport users an adaptive tool to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of their Wildlife Hazard Management Plan to potential provide increased safety to aviation through adapting management measures to prioritize actions and funding based on defined metrics specific to an airport's setting and risk exposure.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

ACRP Report 32: Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports
ACRP Report 122: Innovative Airport Responses to Threatened and Endangered Species
ACRP Report 125: Balancing Airport Stormwater and Bird Hazard Management
ACRP Report 145: Applying an SMS Approach to Wildlife Hazard Management
ACRP Report 128: Wetland Mitigation – A Guidebook for Airports
Synthesis 23: Bird Harassment, Repellent, and Deterrent Techniques for Use on Airports
Synthesis 39: Airport Wildlife Population Management
Synthesis 52: Habitat Management to Deter Wildlife at Airports
Legal Research Digest 20: Airport Responsibility for Wildlife Management

Idea No. 271