July 13, 2009
The Logan International Airport in Boston is currently testing a new type of specialized radar system, which is being called the Air Force. This new radar is already used to by NASA to guard its shuttles. The goal is to use this new radar system in an effort to keep collisions between birds and airplanes from happening.
Logan International Airport has always had a very aggressive bird strike prevention program. This is because the area is a very attractive landing spot for birds since it sits so close to the Boston Harbor, and it is also in the way of coastal migratory routes.
However, after the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 splash landed in the New York Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese, Logan International Airport operators wondered if there was something more that they could do on top of their already aggressive bird strike prevention program. Thus, now they are evaluating the Merlin Avian Radar System that is manufactured by DeTect Inc of Panama City, Florida. This radar system allows real time tracking of birds, as well as other small things that are usually too small to be noticed by other radar systems. Birds on the radar system appear as red dots with tails indicating their flight path.
The chief executive officer at DeTect, Gary Andrews, said that they are in no way trying to pinpoint every single bird in the sky. However, they are trying to document bird patterns more successfully to help people better respond to incoming problems.
The Merlin system is already in place at Durban International Airport in South Africa.