Flying Alongside the Birds Flying Alongside the Birds Flying Alongside the Birds Aircraft and birds will forever share the same aerial space, but when does this merger become deadly? For over 30 years, the IAF and ecological organizations have been working in order to allow the two peaceful journeys

Lilach Gonen and Shani Poms

Though the IAF enjoys control over Israeli airspace, it is not the only one taking residence in the sky: Birds take up a significant part of the airspace. The IAF has realized that airplanes and birds have a hard time coexisting, and for 30 years cooperation between the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and other organizations have been working with the force in order to find a reasonable solution.

“We’ve been able to keep both the lives of humans and birds safe as well as minimizing the number of accidents”, said Commander of the IDF, Lieutenant General Benny Gants at the annual ornithology instructional day. The instructional day occurred yesterday in honor of the 30 year cooperation with the IAF. “Nature is an inseparable part of our battlefield and so we have to work in order to minimize the damage”.

70% Decrease in Accidents

Beyond the obvious size and strength of a plane, a small creature could pose real danger to aircraft and the people flying them. These deadly collisions have taken human lives before, and the danger is as relevant as ever.

The cooperation between both organizations has brought many significant achievements so far, as the number of accidents caused by bird encounters decreased from 100 encounters a year (before the cooperation) to 30. “We could have paid a very high price had this collaboration not existed”, stated Major Oded, Head of ornithology in the IAF.”Most of the work is based on people and previous knowledge but we still have a lot more to learn”.

Working on mapping birds’ migration patterns and how they affect airplanes continues today in order to understand the whole picture and decrease danger levels. “Nowadays, we live together”, said Brigadier General Amikam Norkin, Head of Air Division, at the event. “We will continue to ascend, dive, glide and share the sky of Israel with birds”.