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Could wasps bring down planes at Brisbane Airport?

Article image for Could wasps bring down planes at Brisbane Airport?

Researchers have recommended ways to improve a little-known safety issue at Brisbane Airport caused by mud-nesting wasps.

There have been 26 wasp-related incidents at the airport in the last seven years.

Brisbane Airport Wildlife Management and Planning Coordinator Jackson Ring told Scott Emerson it’s a “unique” issue he never expected to encounter in his career.

In “the vast majority of incidents”, he said, the wasps are discovered before the plane takes off, placing a minimal burden on airline operations.

However, in some cases the insects nest in the pitot probes – the airflow measuring devices which provide airspeed and altitude readings.

“If one of these instruments is obstructed by mud-nesting wasp activity, it can provide incorrect readings to aircrew, which then causes difficulty with onboard computers, most likely resulting in a precautionary return to an airport.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty

Scott Emerson
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