Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Thomas Q. Carney

Committee Member 1

Richard O. Fanjoy

Committee Member 2

Sarah Hubbard

Committee Member 3

James Greenan


Analysis of bird strikes to aviation in the U.S. from 1990 to 2015 indicate that the successful mitigation efforts at airports, which must be sustained, have reduced incidents with damage and a negative effect-on-flight since 2000. However, such efforts have done little to reduce strikes outside the airport jurisdiction, such as occurred with US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009. There are basically three strategies to mitigate the risk of bird strikes: standards set by aviation authorities, technology, and actions by crewmembers. Pilots play an important role as stakeholders in the prevention of bird strikes, especially outside the airport environment. Thus, safety efforts require enhanced risk management and aeronautical decision-making training for flight crews. The purpose of this study was to determine if a safety training protocol could effectively enhance CFR Part 141 general aviation pilots’ knowledge and skills to reduce the risk of bird strikes to aviation. Participants were recruited from the Purdue University professional flight program and from Purdue Aviation. The researcher of this study used a pretest posttest experimental design. Additionally, qualitative data were collected through open-ended questions in the pretest, posttest, and a follow-up survey questionnaire. The participants’ pretest and posttest scores were analyzed using parametric and nonparametric tests. Results indicated a significant increase in the posttest scores of the experimental group. An investigation of qualitative data showed that the topic “safety management of bird hazards by pilots” is barely covered during the ground and flight training of pilots. Furthermore, qualitative data suggest a misperception of the safety culture tenets and a poor familiarity with the safety risk management process regarding bird hazards. Finally, the researcher presented recommendations for practice and future research.