News

Councillor says bats are a concern after plane is grounded

BATS strikes are the most common wildlife wallops in aviation and are causing concern locally after grounding a Royal Flying Doctor Service plane at Hervey Bay Airport.

Community health councillor Robert Garland said the millions of bats were an aviation concern.

"It's always a concern obviously anything getting involved in air traffic," he said.

"It's obviously a very rare occurrence and a very unfortunate one."

But Cr Garland stopped short of suggesting a solution to move the bat colony.

"I don't know if you can move that quantum of bats - it's not practical, you've got to manage it," he said.

"It could have been a seagull it could have been an owl."

RFDS coastal and south west regional manager Chris Wimpenny said bats damaged the RFDS plane's antenna as it was approaching the airport but the pilot was able to land normally on Thursday afternoon.

He said the plane was grounded until engineers could complete a daylight check.

Local pilot and aviation expert Alan Betteridge said bats could become a concern if the colony continued to grow.

He said at certain times of the year the bats were "dreadful."

"Whether they could bring an aeroplane down, unlikely," he said.

"They generally try to keep out of your way.

"A lot of bat strikes go unreported - a lot of pilot's wouldn't know they've hit them."

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority said wildlife-related incidents accounted for 23% of all non-serious incidents for civilian air transport between 2002 and 2011.

Its website said bat strikes were the most common type of wildlife strike, with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau recording 767 incidents between 2002 and 2011.

Plovers follow closely with 760, and galahs complete the top three with 729.

Topics:  bats concern flying fox hervey bay hervey bay airport royal flying doctor service



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