Racing Pigeon Airport Airspace Flight Controls

Gaye FrancisDue Diligence

One of the more interesting presentations at the recent (5th and 6th November) Australian Aviation Wildlife Hazard Group’s conference was regarding concerns about racing pigeons and the desirability of keeping pigeon racing away from airports.

An aircraft arriving at Brisbane airport had struck of flock of pigeons. They were only discovered to be racing pigeons when a metal foot ring, which each bird wears for identification, was found lodged in the turbine runner causing extensive engine damage. Further investigation revealed upwards of 2,000 pigeons were involved in the race, only 200 of which flocked across the airport. The race itself included a more or less straight line course through the airport.

Racing Pigeon Airport Airspace Flight Controls

Richard Robinson attended the conference as a speaker on the second day and presented a paper on Legal Due Diligence and Wildlife Hazard Management. He prepared the above (preliminary) illustrative single line threat-barrier diagram to explain many of the points made during the conference.

The issue here is that the value of (possible) precautions needs to be assessed in the context of all of the precautions, not just the ones over which a particular single party has control, even though these are the only ones for which each respective party will be held accountable.

The difference between the hazard based approach and the precautionary approach with regards to airports is summarised in the Hazard and Risk Review completed by R2A for the EIS for the proposed Western Sydney Airport. It is quite clear that a designer, owner and operator of an airport needs to comply with the WHS legislation. The R2A report is available here: