Gross as it sounds, there are more than 1,000 aircraft incidents reported annually. Of these, one in seven — which means 645 birds strike planes on average — cause catastrophic damage to a plane’s wing, or damaged it significantly. To cut down on injuries and deaths, a number of airlines have adopted bans on bird ingestion, which include a key part of commercial airplane design: winglets. At almost a tenth of every wing flight flown, winglets slow down an aircraft’s speed and prevent the wing from rising during takeoff. But, Canadian airspace regulator Transport Canada does not currently allow the winglets to be applied on older Boeing 777 planes because those models were introduced to domestic flights in 2005.
The scenario is now changing. The Transport Canada’s Aviation Division is in the process of drafting a draft proposal to allow winglets for new 777 and 747 models built from 2016 on, according to a report from the Canadian Press. Boeing is also set to release a new generation of 777s from 2020 with winglets installed.
Meanwhile, Canadian airport authorities are testing pig-airplane capsules to prevent bird strikes. British Columbia-based company Avstar is currently testing small suits for commercial aircraft pilots to wear while flying close to pigs. The capsules are part of a marketing and research group that seeks new solutions to bird strikes.
Avstar is trying to expand globally but hasn’t reached any significant partnerships yet. Its CEO and CEO in the United States, Phil Limbeck, has a long history of scientific innovation and commercializing products.