Radar and advanced radar signal processing technology can help make flying safer by avoiding bird strikes.
In the wake of the emergency crash landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River on January 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a hearing on implementing currently available avian radar technology to airports throughout the United States. The avian radar industry urges the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make the friendly skies a safer place by immediately deploying commercially-available avian radar systems to our nation’s airports. Bird strikes pose a serious threat to aviation safety. According to the FAA “there were more than 7,400 bird strikes in the United States in 2007, including 110 that caused substantial damage to aircraft.”
According to Dr. Tim J. Nohara, President of Accipiter Radar “avian radar can help mitigate bird hazards where they are most likely to occur around the airport. Real-time monitoring and alerting of approaching flocks of birds helps wildlife control personnel better manage bird hazards.”
In 2006, the FAA began evaluating the avian radar program Accipiter Avian Radar to assess if the use of commercial avian radar at airports would be justified, and would not compromise safety and would be compatible with existing wildlife control operations. The FAA contends that due to the unusual circumstance of the birdstrike current avian radar systems could not have prevented the crash of flight 1549. Flight 1549 was an unusual in that it was a high altitude strike (2800 feet) and did not occur in the immediate vicinity of the airport.
Developers within the avian radar industry, however, assert that current avian radar technology could have prevented the crash. Gary W. Andrews, CEO of DeTect (a industry leading developer of avian radar systems) stated that although some avian radar systems do not have long-range detection capabilities systems, others such as MERLIN Aircraft Birdstrike Avoidance Radar can reliably detect and track bird flocks at a range of up to 8 miles.
Andrew’s contends that MERLIN Radar system has been successfully used throughout the globe for “birdstrike risk detection, tracking and alerting at commercial airports, military airfields, and space launch facilities, with real-time bird activity displays used by airfield managers, bird control staff and air traffic controllers”
Courses in radar and radar signal processing are now becoming available to the public. The Applied Technology Institute of Riva, MD., will offer a three-day course in July 13-15 in Laurel,MD. ATI’s Radar Signal Analysis and Processing using MATLAB course explores algorithms for signal detection, false alarms, tracking techniques and systems performance equations.
Radar Signal Analysis and Processing using MATLAB course is being held July 13-15, 2009 in Laurel, Maryland, in the Washington DC area.