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Birds, Wildlife Pose Risk to Aircraft in Homer
Letters / Homer News / December 15, 2005

In regard to wildlife activity around the Homer Airport, the state actively hazes birds and wildlife that could pose a threat to aircraft using the airport.

We have annual permits authorizing hazing of the most common species in the area that can threaten aircraft, based on a USDA wildlife assessment for a few years ago. These permits cover eagles gulls, geese, etc.

However, birds entering the airspace of the airport are often out of range of our hazing ability. Birds and aircraft share the same airspace of the Homer Airport. Pilots approaching for a landing or leaving the runway must be vigilant and aware that birds can be in the area. Large birds, such as eagles, geese and gulls, can be fatal to an aircraft if struck in-flight.

Homer is renown for the number of eagles in the area during the winter months. These birds can represent a danger to the flying public because of their size and number concentrated around the Homer Spit. The Department of Transportation has no control over eagles (or other birds) flying over the Spit, through the aircraft approaches and continuing to a roosting area in the trees on the hills. Every effort is made to keep the runway and surrounding area bird-free, within our sphere of influence.

Efforts made to reduce the concentration of eagles in the Homer area will go a long way in increasing aircraft safety using the Homer Airport. The Department of Transportation supports these efforts and looks forward to seeing the results.

Anna Walker
Aviation Safety and Security Officer
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Central Region

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