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    Image courtesy of Brigitte Baeuerle

From: Brigitte Baeuerle
Arica, Chile, October 21, 2008

Preventing birds from nesting in the aircraft

Hello from Chile,

Earlier today, the NSF/NCAR C-130 returned from its third research flight. For about thirty minutes after landing, there was a lot of activity going on around the aircraft. In this picture, Bob Olson (Chief of Maintenance) and Bob Beasley (Aircraft Mechanic), attach aircraft engine air intake plugs to each of the four C-130 engines. The main reason for covering up the air intake area is to protect it from debris, sand and dust common to the dry climate of the Atacama Desert.

More importantly, it prevents birds from nesting in any of the nooks and crannies of the airplane that offer shelter from the elements and protection from predators. Birds’ nests under the engine cowl or in the fuselage can pose a very real danger to flight safety. A bird’s nest built in close proximity to the engine exhaust system can result in an engine fire. Similarly, a bird’s nest that disrupts the airflow into the engine oil cooler will almost certainly cause the engine to overheat and possible seize.

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