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The Tech Behind Preventing Airplane Bird Strikes

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the harder-than-it-seems dept.

Transportation 242

the4thdimension writes "CNN is running an article covering the technology used at Sea-Tac for preventing airplane bird strikes, like the one that occurred weeks ago to the now famous Flight 1549. The hardware used ranges from low-tech pyrotechnics, to netting, to lasers, to avian radar. Using a combination of all these technologies, Sea-Tac believes they save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in avoiding dangerous bird strikes."

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242 comments

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Not that hard. (4, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816563)

We just need to build a fence to keep these Canadian terrorists out. Migrating, my ass.

Re:Not that hard. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816737)

Another low tech approach I've heard of: dogs. They chase the birds away. In between takeoffs and landings of course.

Re:Not that hard. (3, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816811)

Dogs would be useful but it'd be a lot more fun if we could get a pterodactyl out there hunting the birds.

Re:Not that hard. (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816951)

Dogs would be useful but it'd be a lot more fun if we could get a pterodactyl out there hunting the birds.

And then Mothra to hunt the pterodactyl to prevent THEM from getting sucked into engines, and then Godzilla to in turn keep mothras from taking down planes.

Re:Not that hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817319)

Lisa: And then you'd need a Godzilla repelling rock
Homer: Does this rock work?
Lisa: Do you see Godzilla around here?
Homer: I'd like to purchase this rock...

Re:Not that hard. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817653)

See, the simpsons quote I was expecting was "We are currently experiencing some godzilla-related turbulence" from when the Simpsons go to Japan.

Re:Not that hard. (3, Funny)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817043)

There's a turducken joke in there somewhere.

Re:Not that hard. (2, Funny)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817551)

The bird strikes happened at a few *thousand* feet in the air, not on the runway.

Now if you've got those flying type dogs...lets talk.

Re:Not that hard. (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817723)

Actually there's a company that uses hawks to keep the area around airports clear of nuisance birds. The nice thing about hawks is they aren't blocked by fences so they can keep more than just the grounds of the airport clear.

Re:Not that hard. (2, Insightful)

boldi (100534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817861)

They also use hawks here, in Hungary, Eu.

The nice thing about hawks is that they don't strike.

Re:Not that hard. (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817023)

You ever had to clean a Doberman out of a jet engine? How about the front half of an angry Doberman?

Re:Not that hard. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817099)

Do you mean have I ever had to clean the front end of an angry doberman? No, but have you ever had to clean out the back end of one?

Re:Not that hard. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817383)

Another low tech approach I've heard of: dogs. They chase the birds away. In between takeoffs and landings of course.

Um ... no. Unless those crazy gene-mixing biologists have managed to create flying dogs (with friggin' lasers?), all you're going to do is chase the birds away from the ground - where they're unlikely to cause problems - into the air - where they're very likely to cause problems.

We do occasionally make use of falcons, though. Not sure how widespread the practice is, but it seems to work fairly well.

Re:Not that hard. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817693)

all you're going to do is chase the birds away from the ground - where they're unlikely to cause problems - into the air - where they're very likely to cause problems.

Of course, if you scare off the birds BETWEEN FLIGHTS (as I did specify) then you don't have birds on the ground to fly up at those critical times.

TFA talks about at one airport they use blasts not to hit the birds but to scare them away. By your logic, that would be doing nothing but wasting shells and getting the birds up in the air. Either the guy interviewed in the article is about to cause some crashes, or you're not entirely correct.

Re:Not that hard. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817907)

Yeah, alright, it MIGHT lower the odds of a bird ingestion on takeoff, which is the worst time for it to happen. But for major airports there's really no such thing as "between flights", at least not on a timescale that would allow for screwing around with dogs. And it really doesn't solve the general problem; namely, bird ingestion in the airspace immediately adjacent to the airport. If you're going to make use of any animals, I'd stick with hawks.

Re:Not that hard. (2, Funny)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817815)

Falcons ON Dobermans.

With freakin' lasers.

3) Profit!

FTW!

Re:Not that hard. (5, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816969)

What about just building more wind powered generators. I've heard those are bad for migratory birds.

Clean energy and less birds.. guess you could say that's killing two birds with one stone?

*ducks* (or should I say geese?)

Ok, I'm leaving now.

Re:Not that hard. (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817407)

Those puns were so fowl.

You are kidding arent you ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816567)

You are kidding arent you ?

Are you saying that this linux can run on a computer without windows underneath it, at all ? As in, without a boot disk, without any drivers, and without any services ?

That sounds preposterous to me.

If it were true (and I doubt it), then companies would be selling computers without a windows. This clearly is not happening, so there must be some error in your calculations. I hope you realise that windows is more than just Office ? Its a whole system that runs the computer from start to finish, and that is a very difficult thing to acheive. A lot of people dont realise this.

Microsoft just spent $9 billion and many years to create Vista, so it does not sound reasonable that some new alternative could just snap into existence overnight like that. It would take billions of dollars and a massive effort to achieve. IBM tried, and spent a huge amount of money developing OS/2 but could never keep up with Windows. Apple tried to create their own system for years, but finally gave up recently and moved to Intel and Microsoft.

Its just not possible that a freeware like the Linux could be extended to the point where it runs the entire computer fron start to finish, without using some of the more critical parts of windows. Not possible.

I think you need to re-examine your assumptions.

Re:You are kidding arent you ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817001)

I think you are confused. LINUX is an Operating System, as is Microsoft Windows. One operating system does not rely on another to function. LINUX does not need Windows to boot nor does it need any Windows drivers, and vice-versa. Thus a LINUX system is completely Microsoft Windows free.

It's a pity that the moderation system doesn't have a "-1 Are you for real?" moderation.

Re:You are kidding arent you ? (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817181)

Whoosh!

Re:You are kidding arent you ? (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817405)

Don't feed him. He's been posting this for a long time. ;)

What about (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816575)

just putting some titanium chicken wire over the front of the intake so that a bird can't get in?

Re:What about (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816671)

Then you'll get bird plus titanium wire in the engine instead of just bird.

There just isn't a material strong enough. Any structure that would reliably keep the birds out would be unaccepetably heavy and would restrict air flow.

Re:What about (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816711)

So at high speeds instead of getting one big bird you get thousands of tiny pieces of bird... I'm not entirely sure thats better.

Interesting timing on this article for me since I actually have to fly to Seattle\Tacoma airport next week...

Re:What about (2, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817289)

Interesting timing on this article for me since I actually have to fly to Seattle\Tacoma airport next week...

You mean "have to fly most of the wayto Seattle\Tacoma airport next week."

Wear warm clothes.

Re:What about (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817477)

actually it would be better. small pieces are *much* less likely to harm the engine than a single 40 lb piece of meat hitting multiple fan blades.

Throwing confetti into it might stall it, but you might be able to restart it.

In reality you'd just end up with bird plus the grating in the engine with the same results.

Re:What about (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817783)

The engines aren't harmed, they are clogged! A basic part of testing new engines is firing chickens into them with an air cannon, the blades survive just fine but the engine might not operate. The idea of the testing is that the blades coming loose or shattering and taking out fuel lines and such is very bad, all commercial airplanes must be able to function with one engine down and multiple strikes are fortunately uncommon.

Re:What about (2, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816741)

I'm no aviation expert... but it seems to me that at those speeds that bird would just get sliced into many chicken-wire-hole sized pieces and still go through the engine. On the plus side "chicken" nuggets would be fresh for the next flight! Watch out for the beak!

Re:What about (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816785)

Then you get birds stuck in the titanium chicken wire, and the engine has a good shot of now sucking in both the bird and the chicken wire. On top of that, even if that doesn't happen, you're still seriously impeding air flow into the engine which is needed to make the engine function.

And according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] at least, a typical modern jet engine shunts dead bird parts through a bypass rather than through the engine.

Re:What about (2, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817645)

And according to Wikipedia at least, a typical modern jet engine shunts dead bird parts through a bypass rather than through the engine.

Not quite. What they're talking about there is the difference between a turbojet and a turbofan.

People seem to assume that "the engine" is the entire thing you see hanging off the wing. Really, the engine is a fraction of the diameter of what you're seeing - a lot of the rest is plumbing and bypass ducts. The big fan you see on the front does the same job as a propeller, forcing large quantities of air back at relatively low speeds. On a large turbofan engine, the majority of that air will bypass the actual engine and get shunted out the back end. So depending on which part of the fan is hit, you could end up with bird parts going out with the bypass air instead of getting sucked into the engine. That way you just get damage to the fan, which is much safer and a relatively cheap fix. It's not really something that was designed to make bird-strikes less dangerous, though, it's just an inherent property of large turbofans. The bigger your bypass ratio, the more likely it is that the bird bypasses the engine.

Re:What about (2, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816835)

The issue with a screen over the front of the engine is drag.

It's been looked into extensively already, any screen fine enough to prevent smaller birds from getting sucked into the engine has a massive effect on the engine's performance.

Tech? Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816599)

How about border collies [unl.edu] ?

Re:Tech? Pfft. (-1, Offtopic)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816683)

Or Dick Cheney. He enjoys shooting unwitting animals in the back. Even without Cheney a shotgun and some dogs are still pretty effective.

Re:Tech? Pfft. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816859)

We're trying to shoot the ducks, not the pilot.

the secret? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816627)

Always fly over rivers wide enough to land on!

No, that's not the real secret. (1, Offtopic)

Polarina (1389203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816739)

Simply, extinct all bird life on Earth. The human race has already proven that it possess the technology to evaporate specific animal species.

bird strikes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816679)

The secret to preventing bird strikes is to constantly gauge their needs and demands. As long as you regularly meet those needs without giving in too much, you can keep them from striking.

Re:bird strikes (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816839)

I prefer to bully the bird union leaders, and threaten to hire bird scabs in the event of a strike.

Obligitory Joke (-1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816693)

I'm gonna kill this joke but here goes.

Transcript between Pratt & Witney Design Engineer and Engine Test Personal

Test Engineer: On recent testing of your latest prototype engine we have not been able to duplicate your bird strike success rate. Please resubmit your test protocol.

P&W Engineer:

Test Engineer:
We have followed your test protocol to the t and have not been able to duplicate your success rates. We are experiencing serious test failures across the board. We are open to suggestion

P&W Engineer:
P&W Engineer:

Response: After carefully reviewing your testing procedures and results we have noted the following problem.

a.) Thaw Bird Prior to Test.

Re:Obligitory Joke (2, Informative)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817347)

Yep, you sure did kill that. Apparently leaving out half of the text doesn't help.

Re:Obligitory Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817563)

I'm pretty sure that isn't a joke. I think that actually happened. I seem to remember it as a foreign country doing the testing... don't remember who though. And I think they were testing windshields.

My solution (2, Funny)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816713)

Kill all birds.

Re:My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817483)

Clog the engines full of other, less air-flow restricting birds...

Re:My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817519)

GW, is that you?

falconers (4, Informative)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816717)

I read recently an article about how they actually use falcons at JFK to prevent bird strikes.

This seems to be about that, though I'm not sure if it was the article I saw: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/02/01/2009-02-01_untitled__falcon01m.html [nydailynews.com]

Re:falconers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816761)

This method has been used at the Toronto airport for years.

http://www.gtaa.com/en/news/torontopearson_today/details/7499a896-f358-436e-b3f4-f9fbc69bccb9

Re:falconers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817143)

Do they have large talons?

Re:falconers (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817439)

Would it help if they made airplanes look like falcons? Or look like a bunch of falcons?

Another idea? (1)

krray (605395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816723)

I have had another idea [yes, patent pending :-] ... why not a pyramid cone shaped cover protecting the air intake? The cone would extend enough to allow adequate air intake (from now the sides). I'm doing the math to determine if at the top of the cone it should be solid (not open) as that area of intake would be affecting air flow over the top of the wing (thus screwing with lift). Keep in mind that the air intake (where ever it happens) has nothing to do with being able to fly -- nor does the output (thrust). It is the airflow over the wings that gives lift. Just a patented thought (with no obvious implementation [prior art] that I've found yet).

Re:Another idea? (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816787)

This idea was invented by Shampoo...

Re:Another idea? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817287)

Pert or Head and Shoulders? Perhaps Suave?

That some pretty smart soap.

Re:Another idea? (3, Informative)

Napoleon The Pig (228548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816933)

A couple issues with putting a cone over the inlet of a subsonic engine.

1) If you restrict airflow to only entering from the sides, you're going to have massive separation bubbles as that flow has to turn 90 degrees to enter an axial engine. That results in a loss of efficiency and significantly reduces engine performance.

2) The added weight of this would kill the proposal for any aircraft manufacturer out there.

And not to be pedantic, but the inlet and thrust has a lot to do with whether something flies or not. If you can't get sufficient airflow over the wings to begin with your aircraft isn't going to achieve takeoff.

Re:Another idea? (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817005)

What a stupid idea. Why not just make the air-intakes face backwards?

Re:Another idea? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817093)

I'm guessing that the faster you go, the less "air" there is going to be behind the engines, since you're more or less creating a vacuum behind it by moving through it, right? Which is why motorcycles can do whatever they do behind semi trucks going ~60MPH on the freeway.

Re:Another idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817543)

What some idiots on motorcycles do behind semi trailer trucks is called drafting. When you see semis being powered by jet engines, let me know.

Airplane engines develop thrust by pushing air back behind them whether through props or in the internal combustion chamber of a jet engine. If you don't understand even that basic fact about airplanes - something that's obvious in seconds watching one at an airport, in movies, or even playing with a model - then you should go back to whatever your day job is. Better to shut up and be thought a fool than to say something and confirm that perception.

Re:Another idea? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817621)

Drafting was what I was thinking. You're right. I completely forgot about the propulsion part and was entirely focused on air intake. Rather funny, actually, hehe. Incidentally, part of the problem is that I AM at my day job, which is not slashdot posting, so my mind is kinda split.

Re:Another idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817089)

That's amazing! You're the 20th person I've heard suggest this idea in the last 3 weeks, but the first to actually think it was original. Well done.

Re:Another idea? (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817213)

Because engines don't work like that. You need a LOT of air to run a jet engine. The intake has much to do with being able to fly. By blocking the front of the engine and trusting you can get enough air in from whatever limited space to the sides you have created, you'll force a compressor stall very quickly, if you can get enough air into the engine to start it at all.

There's a reason why there is little variation in jet engine design.

Anyway, putting a cone in front of the engine far enough will generate vortices which will likely propagate over the wing leading to inboard stall, very much "screwing with lift." If they don't propagate over the wing, then they will hit the wing, increasing structural fatigue and possibly inducing dangerous vibration.

Or... (1)

detox.method() (1413497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816753)

Scarecrows?

Re:Or... (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817003)

The idea is to keep the birds away, not give them convenient perches. :)

Falcons (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816843)

Here at McChord, we've found the most effective methods involve a combination of ground cover control (eliminate food that the birds eat) and a 24 / 7 team of falcon handlers. But then, we don't have as much traffic as Sea-Tac...

Re:Falcons (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817333)

How about make the planes look like huge falcons- paint eyes on them, paint the undersides and wings so they look a bit like soaring raptors from below.

Or paint some falcon pics/silhouttes on various parts of the plane fuselage.

What about Falconry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816863)

I'm surprised to see TFA not mention anything about Falconry [wikipedia.org] . It has been proven to be more effective, cheaper, and healthier to everyone involved.

I've seen them in operation at my local airport and its effective.

Birds have an innate fear of birds of pray, and will GTFO whenever they see that shape.

It was more than one bird (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816873)

The pilot of 1549 was saying his view was completely filled with birds and he ran into a whole flock of birds. All these techniques to buzz/fry one bird is not going to cut it. But the birds do have a motive in avoiding the plane as much as the plane wants to avoid hitting the bird. So if we just let the birds know a plane is on collision course they will move away. They are a lot more agile than an airliner.

Most birds use parallax to get their 3D cues. Think about it, for something that lives in full 3D space, most birds do not have stereoscopic vision. Their eyes are wide apart facing opposite directions with very little overlap. If the plane approaches the birds in such a way that the bearing (direction, angle) of the plane as seen by the bird is constant, the bird thinks the plane is part of the background, it is at infinity! That is why they don't take evasive action. If we put a series of LED lights along the length of the plane and turn them off and on to produce streaks of lights running from nose to tail, it will interrupt their visual cues and make the plane stand out from the background. That will give cues to the birds about the real position of the airplane. They will avoid us, we don't have to avoid them.

Re:It was more than one bird (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817141)

There is the little matter of the difference in speed between the plane and the bird too...

Cheap reference time! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817533)

There is the little matter of the difference in speed between the plane and the bird too...

Well, I didn't know THAT! *launch* YAAAAAAAAAA!!

I guess I'll have to know these sorts of things when I'm a king...

Re:It was more than one bird (2, Insightful)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817151)

innovative thought!
but how you gonna test it?

Re:It was more than one bird (1)

Coolpup (796096) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817455)

If we put a series of LED lights along the length of the plane and turn them off and on to produce streaks of lights running from nose to tail, it will interrupt their visual cues and make the plane stand out from the background.

Plus they'll look way awesomer at night when flying over my house.

Birds thrown into engine (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816885)

They also throw flocks of dead birds and chickens into jet engines during engine testing. Check out this cool video of birds getting cut to shreds by a jet engine in slow motion. Birds slowly chopped by jet engine [youtube.com]

Indiana Jones (4, Funny)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816927)

Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky.

Re:Indiana Jones (1, Informative)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817231)

You almost forgot that was Charlemagne, not Henry Jones Sr.

Re:Indiana Jones (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817601)

Dr. Jones (the elder) did in fact properly attribute, but I'm sure Charelemagne never downed a BF-109 with seagulls. Implementation is as important as specification.

engine redesign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26816967)

I'm no engineer on these newfangled flying machine contraptions, but shouldn't it be possible to design engines that can't be *destroyed* by something as small and squishy as a bird?

Maybe sourcing air from a reserve when flying at low altitudes, instead of blindly sucking it in. I don't know. Maybe a filter.

Re:engine redesign? (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817101)

If you were an engineer you'd realize it wasn't that easy...

Re:engine redesign? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817351)

When traveling in excess of several hundred kilometers per hour, birds are hardly squishier than rocks...

Too Many Secrets (3, Funny)

paskal (150433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816999)

Oh wait nevermind, SeaTec!

Take a cue from office buildings (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817017)

All they need to do is paint a bunch of owl silhouettes on the side of the air plane and that should keep the birds away.

Not 1549 for birds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817039)

But 2549.

http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2549.html

Wind farms (3, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817073)

Just surround the airport with wind power sites and the problem is solved...

Not Often Tom Leher Lyrics Work in a post (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817079)

I've gained notoriety
And caused much anxiety
In the Audobon Society
With my games...

They call it impiety
And lack of propriety
And boy.. a variety
Of unpleasant names

But it's not against any religion...
To want to dispose of... a pigeon...

Damn Canadians (1)

Hokie06 (986634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817115)

Wouldn't be an issue, if they would just control their damn geese.

It's always about money... (1)

zbharucha (1331473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817133)

I like it how they say they "save hundreds of thousands of dollars" instead of saying "hundreds of lives". Everything is about money for these people! Disgusting.

Re:It's always about money... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817335)

Sorry, but in engineering an aircraft you put a price tag on everything, including passengers. Look at the number of people who sue Boeing or Airbus whenever a plane crashes (regardless of the reason) and you'll see why.

Re:It's always about money... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817931)

Precisely. The only way to ensure a corporation places value on people's lives is with trial lawyers. Oddly, people consider them disgusting too.

Re:It's always about money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817885)

Although maybe controversial, I very much believe it's possible to avoid all bird impacts near airports if you spend enough money on it. Rather than a single falconer, have four at each site. Use hyper-accurate radar and directional noise or microwave generators to scare or cook birds in the air. Put four engines on all planes.

If Obama statifies the health care system you might have an interesting experince in the US: In every nation where the health care system is national, there is a body to conduct "cost/benefit" analysis - every year of survival has a prize. What some experience is that drugs that will give them additional years to live, or can potentially cure them, are not given to them because the cost/benefit isn't good enough. So yes, even in the most "caring" of countries, it's all about money.

Instead of netting over the water.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817211)

...maybe they could get some sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads to hunt any water landing fowl. But our cycloptic avian prevention colleague would probably tell us how difficult that would be.

Perhaps if we payed them more... (2, Funny)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817217)

they wouldn't go on strike...

Pointless (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817249)

Great effort on the part of SeaTac to keep birds off the runway. But it wouldn't have made a damned bit of difference to Flight 1549. From what I've seen online (not quite the official FAA report, but probably close enough), the bird strikes occurred several miles from the runway at around 3000 ft altitude.

In the case of SeaTac, approach and departure altitudes like these are seen as far away from the airport as 20 miles. On a few occasions, I've been watching little Piper Cubs/Cessnas/whatever buzzing around over my house at 3 to 5000 ft altitudes and seen a 747 fly in on approach to SeaTac underneath them. And I'm more than 20 miles from the airport. Its not likely that the FAA can keep the air clear of Canadian geese, bald eagles and other such birds over an area of more than 1200 square miles.

The only solution to preventing another 1549 incident is to keep commercial aircraft at higher altitudes for as long as possible.

Better idea. (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817329)

We know birds hate Snakes.

Lets put Snakes on the planes. That way birds will avoid the plains to avoid the snakes.

I got that idea from a movie, I forgot what it was called.

It wasn't a bird strike (5, Funny)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817331)

It was a plane strike. Birds have feelings too, you insensitive clods!

Keep the birds on the ground (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817387)

So, remember my darling, When spring is in the air, And them bald-headed birds, Are whispering everywhere, When you see them walking southwards, In their dirty underwear, It's the Tennessee Bird Walk.

Re:Keep the birds on the ground (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817437)

Sorry about the formatting. I guess I should preview when I preview.

Snakes eat birds. (0, Redundant)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817431)

Put snakes on the plane. Problem solved.

what about audio? (2, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817557)

What's the audio reception spectrum of birds? Can we add some sound that we do not hear and they hear?

Now unemployed (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817569)

Maybe if we just posted Cheney at the end of the runway with a shotgun...

Re:Now unemployed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817651)

With a dog that laughs at him every time he misses a bird.

Re:Now unemployed (4, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817753)

Maybe if we just posted Cheney at the end of the runway with a shotgun...

You'd have a lot of dead pilots?

Further suggetions to combat the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26817711)

Inspired by the obvious keeness to help our aircraft engineers with solutions to this problem (including the "place a cone with air intakes on the side in front of the engine"), I have the following:

- Place the jet engine on the tail of the aircraft, and just don't provide an air intake. If there is nothing going in, no birds can either.

- Try propellers instead. It's possible that due to the scientific consensus syndrome most scientists have forgotten about propellers. Go to a jet engine engineer when he is working on a difficult problem, show him a picture of a propeller, and say "Have you tried one of these?"

- Make the jet engines travel faster than the plane. If they hit a bird the pilot will have time to see it coming and steer to avoid it.

- Have the plane be powered by the continuous explosion of dynamite. The blast wave will push away the birds before the enter the engine.

How about a proactive approach. (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817821)

I would imagine that most flocks, or even single birds, could be detected well in advance of impact by using radar or some other imaging device.

Perhaps using that technology, and some sort of explosive shell (think fireworks), they could clear a path through the flock (at least for the engines).

If the shell was powerful enough, it could actually use the force of the explosion to force the birds out of the flight path. If not, at least it would have the potential of scaring the flock into changing course.

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