Wasps wreaking havoc on planes at Brisbane Airport, damaging aviation technology

A wasp population is wreaking havoc on planes and impacting aviation technology at Brisbane airport, with ecologists working to solve the problem.

The invasive keyhole wasp, only found at Brisbane airport is the species behind the infestation, creating problems for aviation crews by making mud nests inside pilot tubes, a hollow device used to calculate the plane’s speed.

Covers for the tubes have been deemed the best solution to the problem, but in 2018 a Malaysian Airlines flight took off with the covers still in place.

Wasps are infesting Brisbane airport and threatening to bring down planes. (Nine)

As a consequence, crews were unable to determine the plane’s speed, putting all on board at risk.

The results of an investigation into the incident have just been released.

An investigation into a Malaysia Airlines plane, which took off with wasp protection covers still on has been completed. . (Nine)

“The consequences of taking off without reliable airspeed indicators can be catastrophic, and it has played out that way around the world in the past,” Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said.

“There was a number of points along the way and a number of decisions that were missed that should have kept that plane on the ground.”

The species of wasp is only found at Brisbane Airport. (Nine)

A report from the ATSB said the wasps had likely spread beyond control.

Ecologist Alan House is working with Brisbane Airport to solve the problem.

“The wasps as far as this study showed preferred Boeing 737s and A320, A330,” he said.

“Eradication… would not have been too difficult 10 years ago.

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“But it’s down to containment now to stop it spreading to other ports.”

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