Saturday, May 12, 2012

Birds Nesting in aircraft

       It is required to inspect the aircraft more frequently for the signs of bird activity through the spring and into mid-summer. Some bird species such as the  Sparrow instinctively seek out nesting cavity locations safe from  predators. 
           Small hollow spaces offered by a parked airplane can seem like an ideal location for these nuisance birds to nest.
            A bird nest left unchecked in an airplane can result in costly maintenance and damage. By blocking cooling airflow  the nesting materials can cause critical aircraft systems to overheat. Also a bird nest can interfere with flight control movements.
            Starlings which are particularly known to be untidy nesters will use all sorts of trash-type debris that can
collect moisture and introduce foreign objects into the airfoil and fuselage structures. 
     Combined with bird droppings containing uric acid, the presence of birds elevates a real potential for airframe corrosion to develop, including damage to exterior paint.
Preflight Tips
          Look for bird traffic leaving and returning to the airplane. Bird droppings may be discovered on the exterior surfaces and/or under the airplane. Another clue might be the loose clusters of grass or debris found under or around the airplane that normally would not be at that location.
Operators conducting a preflight check can utilize a flashlight or mirror, (reflecting the sunlight) to look into
any air inlet, exhaust, cavity, or hole that might be conductive for bird shelter. Birds can be persistent in squeezing themselves into tight places so it is good advice to look carefully into gaps around the flight controls and landing gear wells.
         If a bird nest is discovered during preflight, the location determines what needs to be done before and after
dispatch. If the nest is located in the airframe or landing gear wells, nesting material can generally be removed at the next scheduled maintenance period or inspection. However, if the nesting material is found in an area that can affect flight control movements or could cause a system to overheat, the foreign matter must be removed completely before flight.
       In addition, be aware that birds are very persistent once they chose a nesting site. Birds do not associate the
removal of the nest as deterrent to stop building another nest. Due to an over-powering behavior to procreate, birds are more than capable of producing headaches for general aviation personnel throughout the nesting season.

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