JBSA Forms Task Force as Bird Strikes Threaten Pilot & Community Safety

Jets aren't the only things you'll see flying around Randolph Air Force Base, and that has military officials concerned not only for their air crews but also for the safety of the surrounding community.

“We're able to drive them down further away from the runway further away from that flight path but the big time is in the morning. In the Afternoons they come back sporadically,” U.S. Air Force Major Jason Powell said.

He's talking about birds.  The main culprit is the white-winged dove. The base has launched Bird-Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard or Bash teams. Their mission is to reduce the number of birds in the area, thereby cutting back on the number of strikes.

“One Bird strike down that engine can cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars but our biggest concern is if one goes through the canopy and takes out the pilot or takes out both engines,” Powell said.

So while BASH teams work early to clear the runways, crews are thinning out the thick vegetation throughout Randolph areas the birds call home. 

“We've worked with Joint Base San Antonio to put together a comprehensive program to trim those trees and make them less appealing as a habitat for nesting for the white-wing doves,” Colonel Matthew Isler said.