In world aviation, the term "bird strike" refers to a collision of an aircraft with a bird, which is often an emergency. Here is an example from the history of Russian military aviation. On April 1, 1977, the MiG-15 UTI aircraft piloted by Colonel N. N. A few minutes after takeoff at an altitude of 120 meters, a dove-turtle dove pierced the cockpit canopy and knocked out N. Grigoruk's right eye. The cockpit canopy was covered in blood from the inside and filled with feathers. Only the heroic efforts of the pilot without an eye made it possible to return the plane to the airfield and land safely. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded N. N. Grigoruk for his courage and dedication with the Order of the Red Banner. And this was done by a harmless bird, weighing only a few tens of grams. A lightning strike into the fuselage is most often much more harmless than a bird that has flown into the cockpit or engine air intake.
It is believed that the first catastrophe caused by a bird occurred in 1912 in California. The seagull cut off the control of the rudders with its body, and the winged machine fell into the ocean. Meetings with birds during the Great Patriotic War became significant in our country - there were several accidents and damage to combat aircraft as a result of collisions, mainly with large waterfowl: geese and ducks. The Russian Air Force did not keep track of the number of collisions with birds, so there is no need to talk about exact numbers. But our allies painstakingly counted each incident - from 1942 to 1946, 473 birds got into American planes with consequences of varying severity. This made it possible to collect some statistics on the likelihood of encountering birds, as well as to identify the factors affecting collisions. In the domestic aviation, even in the post-war period, they did not pay special attention to the birds in the sky. I will cite a few more incidents in the Russian sky. In 1946, the Il-2, on a low-level flight over Lake Chany, collided with a flying swan weighing several kilograms. As a result, the car crashed into the water and sank.
In 1953, a passenger Il-12 flew into a flock of ducks, which partially destroyed the fuselage and cut the wires going to the engines. The aircraft's engines died out, and the car was forced to splash down on the Volga. Victims and injuries were avoided. In the book Tested in the Sky, pilot Mark Gallay tells about his own meeting in the sky with a rook, which at an altitude of 200 meters pierced the cockpit canopy and knocked out the pilot. Only incredible luck (Gallay lost consciousness for a while) and the skill of the pilot allowed tragedy to be avoided. Subsequently, he wrote: “Judge for yourself: unlimited air space, and there is a small bird in it. So it was necessary to bury into it directly with the windshield of the cockpit! Before that, it seemed to me that colliding with a flying bird is as unlikely as, for example, falling under a meteorite falling to the Earth from outer space."
In the early 60s, with the development of jet aircraft, the situation with birds worsened - the frequency of collisions increased. Firstly, now it has become much more difficult for the bird to avoid a collision with a car rushing at a speed of about 800-1000 km / h. Secondly, even a light pigeon that got into the air intake of a jet engine (into which it was simply sucked in) could do a lot of trouble there - the madly rotating turbine blades were destroyed, a fire broke out and the plane often fell. Thirdly, the increased speed of the aircraft aggravated the consequences of bird strikes on the fuselage - now they broke through the skin, destroyed structures and caused depressurization. In this regard, Voenno-istoricheskiy Zhurnal provides simple calculations showing that at an aircraft speed of 700 km / h a seagull weighing 1.8 kg leaves destruction on the fuselage comparable to being hit by three 30-mm shells. No bulletproof glass can withstand the impact of such energy.
A definite turning point for civil aviation was the crash of the Lockheed L-188A Electra passenger turboprop airliner in October 1960. The plane, taking off from Boston, collided with a flock of starlings, which disabled two left-hand engines. The car lurched and fell into Boston Harbor, killing 62 people.
The very first studies of the resistance of aircraft to collision with birds showed that it is difficult to achieve this by changing the design. In fact, only one technical change was made to the design of the aircraft - the acrylic-polycarbonate glazing of the cockpit, capable of withstanding the impact of a bird weighing 1.6 kg at a speed of up to 970 km / h. For more effective work, it was necessary to create a set of measures to avoid meeting with birds during the flight. Therefore, ornithologists, ecologists and bioacoustics were brought in to help. Already in 1963, Nice hosted the first international symposium on aviation ornithology, and a year earlier in Canada, organized the work of the Committee on the danger of birds to aircraft. Over the next 50 years, almost all countries with more or less significant aircraft fleets have created similar structures.
Since 2012, the World Birdstrike Association (WBA) has been the parent organization for the protection of civilian and military aircraft from collisions with birds. The constant exchange of data and monitoring of aircraft accidents showed that the greatest danger is posed by large waterfowl - up to 30% or more, in second place are gulls (26% of collisions) and birds of prey are in third place - up to 18%. Naturally, the most dangerous period of flight is takeoff and landing, statistics say that up to 75% of all collisions occur during this period. At the same time, birds can "attack" planes even on the runway - during takeoff and landing.
In 1978, a Boeing 747, during acceleration before takeoff at the Lyon airport at a speed of 290 km / h, sucked several seagulls into all four engines. The pilots were able to "slow down" the giant plane only at the very edge of the runway. And not only birds are capable of this. Foxes, wolves and stray dogs can paralyze the operation of both a civilian airport and a military airfield for several hours. Ideally, aerodrome services have to not only fence off the territory, but also deal with all small animals (moles, voles, etc.) that are part of the diet of predators. And this, in turn, requires special care of vegetation and the like. In addition to the take-off-landing mode, the aircraft can meet birds at an altitude of 100-500 meters. In this range, "echelons" of seasonal and daily migrations of birds pass - in total, they are responsible for 35% of collisions with birds.
At altitudes of 1000-3000 meters, pilots also cannot calm down. Encounters with heavy geese and vultures can lead to dire consequences. So, in 1962, the vulture broke through the glass of the cockpit of an Indian airliner and killed the co-pilot. At high speed, such birds are capable of not only breaking through glass, but literally breaking through the frontal projection of the fuselage.
In the USSR and later in Russia, they were rather restrained in their attitude to the problem described above. Although we have no less birds, and the migration routes of birds up and down cross the sky of the country. Only in 2009, the First All-Russian Scientific and Technical Conference "Problems of Aviation Ornithology" was held, to which specialized specialists from the near abroad were invited. Russian civil aviation to a large extent borrows the approaches and methods of protection developed several decades ago in the leading countries of the far abroad. If now this situation is changing, then not in the most drastic way. In the Air Force of the USSR, the division of aviation ornithology also appeared with a great delay - on February 21, 1970. The new structure was subordinate to the Meteorological Service of the Air Force General Staff. Six years after its founding, the military had a post for birdwatching officers to ensure ornithological flight safety. Also, in the 7th Main Meteorological Center of the Moscow Region, the Department of Aviation Ornithology was organized under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Belevsky. Specialists of departments, in which not only military personnel worked, but also professional biologists, created seasonal maps with ornithological fronts. Based on these data, the Main Aviation and Meteorological Center could limit the flights of military aviation during the period of active bird migration. However, this was not enough and a wide range of passive and active protection measures had to be applied to combat birds at airfields.