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Air Force Uses Falcons To Protect Falcons

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the april-already dept.

The Military 148

coondoggie writes "Birds and high-performance jet aircraft don't mix. So at a base in Germany, the Air Force is fighting birds with birds — specifically trained falcons that patrol the base and help eliminate at least some of the feathered threat to the F-16 Fighting Falcons and other aircraft."

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Falcons & falcons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382638)

Please Stop That Stupid Habbit Of Writing Everything In Capitals...

"Air Force uses falcons to protect Falcons" is a lot clearer!

Re:Falcons & falcons (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382738)

Please Stop That Stupid Habbit Of Writing Everything In Capitals...

Maybe You Mean Hobbits? :-P

Besides. It's a title, so convention is to capitalize all except the articles (like 'the'). Have you noticed that all Slashdot headings look like that?

Re:Falcons & falcons (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33383000)

So why was "to" capitalized in the title?

Re:Falcons & falcons (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383646)

Because it's a preposition and not an article?

Re:Falcons & falcons (1)

SammyIAm (1348279) | about 4 years ago | (#33383668)

I think generally for titles: "important" words are capitalized by convention, and non-important words are optionally capitalized. For Slashdot, it looks like the 'a' does not get capitalized, but 'To' does. Which is a little weird looking in stories like: Fun To Be Had With a 10 Foot Satellite Dish [slashdot.org]

Re:Falcons & falcons (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382828)

You want to tell the NY Times they've been wrong for the past century?

Re:Falcons & falcons (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383018)

Yes, in point of fact, they are wrong. It's used because of newspaper precedents.

Cue "language is what we make of it" posts.

Re:Falcons & falcons (2, Interesting)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33383206)

You want to tell the NY Times they've been wrong for the past century?

Sure, why not? [wikipedia.org]

"There is no famine or actual starvation nor is there likely to be."

--New York Times, Nov. 15, 1931, page 1

"Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda."
--New York Times, August 23, 1933

"Enemies and foreign critics can say what they please. Weaklings and despondents at home may groan under the burden, but the youth and strength of the Russian people is essentially at one with the Kremlin's program, believes it worthwhile and supports it, however hard be the sledding."

--New York Times, December 9, 1932, page 6

"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."

--New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 18

"There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."

--New York Times, March 31, 1933, page 13

Re:Falcons & falcons (0, Offtopic)

Hylandr (813770) | about 4 years ago | (#33383442)

Just goes to prove how pro-communism the press was even then.

- Dan.

Re:Falcons & falcons (0, Offtopic)

Hylandr (813770) | about 4 years ago | (#33383462)

Check your history,

Before I get modded troll or flamebait please.

- Dan.

Re:Falcons & falcons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383742)

I don't get it. It's not like New York Times were capitalizing each words there...

Re:Falcons & falcons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383008)

OCD, I can tell ya'!

Re:Falcons & falcons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383070)

"Air Force uses falcons to protect Falcons" is a lot clearer!

Agree. Sadly, we need to convince millions of idiots to change their idea of what "professional" is in regards to this convention. With so many more ways to mark up a title with html/css, it really doesn't need All Capitals to stand out.

Misleading title (2, Funny)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | about 4 years ago | (#33382670)

Yea...not about the Air Force using F-16s to attack poachers...

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382704)

Yea...not about the Air Force using F-16s to attack poachers...

And also, falcons never had a war -- who's the real animal?

Re:Misleading title (2, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 years ago | (#33382892)

What you never watch Flocks News?

Or just watch birds where when they invade an other birds area and they are attacked by a swarm of smaller birds.

Re:Misleading title (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 4 years ago | (#33382920)

besides, nobody even calls F-16s "Falcons" except the media. To the people that matter (the drivers), the planes have always been "Viper".

Re:Misleading title (2, Informative)

Briden (1003105) | about 4 years ago | (#33382958)

i think they are called "pilots" actually.

Re:Misleading title (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 years ago | (#33383130)

The drivers call the airplanes "pilots?"

Now I'm really confused.

Re:Misleading title (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 years ago | (#33383862)

That is not what the pilots call themselves.

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383128)

Driving a plane is so much more unimpressive than flying a plane.

Re:Misleading title (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33383754)

Driving a plane is so much more unimpressive than flying a plane.

And flying a plane isn't nearly as impressive as flying a tank.

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383220)

then why do every single operational F-16 in the USAF have a falcon painted on the backbone of the aircraft? no vipers painted on any of them.

Re:Misleading title (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#33383766)

USAF's name is the Fighting Falcon, but everyone that works with them calls them Vipers, yea from Battlestar Galactica in the late '70s.

http://viperpatches.jetmax.us/Swirl_USAF_01.htm [jetmax.us]
http://www.f-16.net/articles_article10.html?module=pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=2&pid=27 [f-16.net]

Even the yearly exercise where USAF F-16s go to Romania and train with the newly rebuilt MiG-21s is called Viper Lance.
F-16=Viper
MiG-21 LanceR=Lance

Pilots thinks it's always about the pilot (1)

gnieboer (1272482) | about 4 years ago | (#33383478)

To the people that matter (the drivers)

So that's why it's the crew chief's name that gets painted on the side, huh...

And have been for decades (5, Insightful)

WatcherXP (658784) | about 4 years ago | (#33382680)

Wow, decades old news on the front page of slashdot

Re:And have been for decades (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382882)

Yes, this is standard procedure in a lot of civil airports. I saw it in Jose Newbery city airport in Buenos Aires.

Re:And have been for decades (2)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33383046)

Wow, decades old news on the front page of slashdot

I ask this as someone who knows next to nothing about jet engines and nothing at all about the precise kind of airflow they require for their intake. Having said that ... how difficult would it be to design some kind of screen or grating to protect the intake vents of an engine so that birds could not get sucked into the engine and damage it? Once such a design is perfected it could become standard equipment and the cost would probably be negligible compared to what is already paid to design and manufacture a jet engine. We routinely try things much more ridiculous than this in the name of saving lives.

Is there some kind of insurmountable aerodynamic technical difficulty that prevents us from doing this?

Re:And have been for decades (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383306)

The problem is split between an aerodynamic issue and a much simpler physics issue.

The physics issue is that at landing the F-16 is going somewhere between 120-170 knots (aprox. 120-200 MPH), and it would take an awfull thick grate to keep birds out of the intakes at those speeds. The delta-v (difference in speed... ugg, my physics teacher would kill me for that) is so large that even a lightweight bird is going to go through anything you could describe as a screen.

The aerodynamic issue is that if you put that much blockage right in front of the engine intake you are going to create a lot of drag (going into your engine), and are going to play hell with the aeordynamic flow right at the intake meaning more air is going to bypass the intake (a really bad thing for jet engines).

Re:And have been for decades (5, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 years ago | (#33383344)

how difficult would it be to design some kind of screen or grating to protect the intake vents of an engine

Here is pretty much the canonical list of outcomes:

  • Bird hits screen, both bird and screen go into the engine. Similar to status quo, except now there are solid metal or composite bits among the turbine blades.
  • Bird hits screen, splats. Engine stalls because of sudden disruption in intake airflow. For an F-16, this is a problem, 'cuz it's single-engine. (In the course of my military career, I've heard the Viper jokingly referred to as the Lawn Dart for that very reason.)
  • Bird never hits screen, but engine performance is continuously degraded because of the screen's affect on airflow and intake pressure. Requires serious redesign in order to compensate for a deliberate design decision based on flight-of-safety considerations. Never mind that having less available power and (perhaps) elevated stall susceptibility is a combat-safety issue (i.e., your hazard level in combat is directly related to the performance superiority of your aircraft over your adversary).
  • Bird never hits screen, miraculous design work restores full combat specification performance to your warplane, bird hits canopy and knocks out the pilot; unguided plane flies into terrain.

Not everything on that applies to all aircraft, but in general I don't think there's a screen material in the world that would stop birds from engine ingestion (including chunks of bird sucked through a screen) while allowing adequate airflow in a high-performance, high-bypass jet engine. And then that still leaves fuselage, canopy, wing, and empennage birdstrikes.

Re:And have been for decades (4, Interesting)

gnieboer (1272482) | about 4 years ago | (#33383386)

At the speeds of a jet fighter (and even at the speeds of a slow prop transport), an average goose will penetrate the leading edge of the wing, destroy the bleed air duct (also metal) underneath, tear up the wiring, and sometimes damage the next layer of structure.

Look at the first stage fan blades in an engine next time you're boarding an aircraft (they are ones in front you can see). Those are the biggest, toughest, blades in the engine. They basically are strong enough to pull the entire aircraft forward. When a big fat bird hits one, they bend and break.

Now, the newest/biggest commercial engines have a remarkable ability to absorb birds without a problem, but the more 'finicky' engines on fighter jets are much more susceptable, and of course if you've only got one engine... that's a big deal.

So my point in describing the impact power that a bird has is to illustrate that for a 'screen' to be strong enough to stop a bird would also completely block any airflow, and those engines are HUGE vacuum cleaners, and if that airflow slows too much, something called a 'compressor stall' happens, and that's generally bad and scares the crap out of the passengers (flames shoot out of the back end of the engine, etc)

Re:And have been for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383828)

How about a screen that's only used at low speeds/aiports? It could then retract when birds aren't a safety concern.

Re:And have been for decades (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33383952)

How about a screen that's only used at low speeds/aiports? It could then retract when birds aren't a safety concern.

And here is your answer. [slashdot.org]

Re:And have been for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383564)

At high air speeds the grill you're proposing would become the equivalent of a solid panel and the engine would stall. An experiment would be to see how fast water flows through a screen at different speeds versus the control of how fast water flows through a large gaping hole.

Re:And have been for decades (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33383764)

Having said that ... how difficult would it be to design some kind of screen or grating to protect the intake vents of an engine so that birds could not get sucked into the engine and damage it?

Jet engines consume vast quantities of air. They are giant vacuum cleaners. [youtube.com] Placing an obstruction directly in front of and engine which consumes vast quantities of air is counter productive as it drastically reduces available power.

Take off and landing is the most dangerous phase of a flight. This is typically when engines are required to produce maximum power. So limiting air only during these phases of flight, when they are most likely to strike a bird, in of itself brings with it additional dangers.

If you don't believe such an obstruction risks major starvation of the engine, remove the air filters from your A/C in your house and note how much more air moves through your entire house. And keep in mind, the amount of air moved through your house in a minute, is likely consumed in a second, in even smaller jet engines during take off.

Re:And have been for decades (1)

rhekman (231312) | about 4 years ago | (#33383772)

Yes, while probably not insurmountable, it would be horribly impractical to design a modern turbojet or turbofan engine that would "screen" birds and other foreign object debris (FOD).

You have to remember the intake flow to one of these engines is traveling at or near supersonic speeds. Any grate or screening device capable of blocking or diverting damaging material would have a severe negative impact on the performance and fuel efficiency of the engine.

That being said, considerable research and development has been done to make the internals of modern engines more hardened to bird strikes. Just search youtube for "jet engine bird strike test" some time to see some of the results. The latest engines can survive some considerable ingestions with only a reduction in performance -- safe enough for an emergency landing.

Re:And have been for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383240)

was thinking the same thing... they have been doing this since I grew up in germany before I moved to the states... and I have been in the states for more than 20 years now... They were doing this back in the 70's and 80's

Re:And have been for decades (1)

osjedi (9084) | about 4 years ago | (#33383924)

Yep...
I have a personal acquaintance who's a falconer. He's had a bird abatement contract with the USAF since I first met him 16 years ago.

Is this news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382684)

So....... what's new?

What's next? (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33382710)

Eagles to protect eagles? Awesome! Raptors to protect raptors? KICKASS! Warhogs to protect wart... wait.

Re:What's next? (3, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 4 years ago | (#33382812)

wait till you find out how they protect Nimrods.

Re:What's next? (1, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33382816)

Warhogs to protect wart... wait.

Ah, but the A-10 doesn't need any protection -- it's like Chuck Norris.

Re:What's next? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33382860)

Too true! 1 [birdstrikenews.com] 2 [youtube.com]

Re:What's next? (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33382912)

Too true! 1 [birdstrikenews.com] 2 [youtube.com]

A-10's have been documented to come home and land while they have gaping holes in most of the control surfaces, leaking hydraulic fluid,running on one engine, and god knows what else.

It's one of the most survivable aircraft I've ever heard of, and specifically built to protect the hell out of the pilot in that nearly indestructible tub.

And, it's got the scariest tank-busting gun on the planet.

All in all, for me, the coolest aircraft ever.

Re:What's next? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 4 years ago | (#33383056)

I have heard, but never actually witnessed, doesn't that tank buster gun actually cause a very noticeable drop in airspeed too?

Re:What's next? (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33383108)

I have heard, but never actually witnessed, doesn't that tank buster gun actually cause a very noticeable drop in airspeed too?

That's my understanding.

According to Wiki [wikipedia.org] :

The recoil force of the GAU-8/A is 10,000 pounds-force (45 kN), which is slightly more than the output of one of the A-10's two TF34 engines (9,065 lbf / 40.3 kN each). While this recoil force is significant, in practice cannon fire only slows the aircraft a few miles per hour.

When your gun's recoil is more than the force of one of your engines ... that's an impressive gun.

Re:What's next? (3, Funny)

mangu (126918) | about 4 years ago | (#33383178)

When your gun's recoil is more than the force of one of your engines ... that's an impressive gun.

So, why don't they mount the gun backwards? The pilot could aim through a rear facing camera.

Re:What's next? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33383296)

So, why don't they mount the gun backwards? The pilot could aim through a rear facing camera.

Ummm ... because the A-10 doesn't run away from trouble, it heads straight towards it and kills it. That's its job -- when it's shooting at you, it's coming straight for you.

It's built to do close air support, and crush anybody who is shooting at your people on the ground.

I suspect a rear-facing gun would significantly reduce it's 80% accuracy rate. This thing is literally built to be a tank buster.

Re:What's next? (1)

CeruleanDragon (101334) | about 4 years ago | (#33383512)

More pew-pew == more zoom-zoom!

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383602)

The aircraft only carries enough bullets to fire that gun for like 15 seconds straight. It's primary armament is bombs.

The engine, on the other hand, can fire for hours.

Re:What's next? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33383834)

It doesn't need to fire the gun for 15 seconds strait. A single burst is generally enough to wipe anything short of a main battle tank, and even that will most likely be heavily damaged or disabled.

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383740)

One, the positioning alone would likely seriously destabilize the aircraft. Two, the airframe would need to be built in the rear to withstand the firing recoil. Three, if you've never seen an A-10 in action [liveleak.com] , they tend to make low and fast passes when attacking non-designated enemy personnel forces.

Re:What's next? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33383354)

They halved the rate of fire of the General Electric GAU-8 (around which the A-10 is designed) in order to mitigate this problem. It turns out that you don't really need over 3,000 rounds per minute to saw tanks in half with a mix of lead and DPU.

Re:What's next? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383882)

Oh sure. Suck all the fun out of it.

Re:What's next? (3, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33383846)

It's one of the most survivable aircraft I've ever heard of

Check out of some the stories and images from WWII. The amount of damage many of those planes received and yet still managed to some how seems impossible. Pilots landing bailing wire and bubble gum on their last breath so they could save their crew don't seem very strained once you start digging. ...and far too many belly gunners crushed...

Re:What's next? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33383934)

Check out of some the stories and images from WWII. The amount of damage many of those planes received and yet still managed to some how seems impossible.

Oh, I wouldn't want to detract from what those people did. I attribute that largely to sheer tenacity and balls (and in some cases, a little bit of luck probably helped). I credit the people more so than the equipment.

However, the A-10 was built from the ground up to be an aircraft with maximum survivability. The 1200lb tub that encompasses the cockpit and three levels of redundancy in the flight controls.

Truthfully, I stand in awe of anybody who flies an aircraft into combat. It takes a big pair to do that.

The A-10 (1)

Infonaut (96956) | about 4 years ago | (#33382936)

To paraphrase Twain: Outside of a dog, an A-10 Warthog is a grunt's best friend. Inside a dog, you have other things to worry about.

Re:What's next? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#33383002)

Too bad you don't realize that both Falcons and Eagles are raptors, as are every other bird of pray ... considering raptor means 'bird of pray'.

Stop watching Jurassic Park and thinking it uses proper terminology.

Re:What's next? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33383290)

Or he needs to watch Jurassic Park more intently, because Dr Grant says it within the first 20 minutes of the film, when he's describing how the velociraptor skeleton has more similarities with birds than reptiles. He says, "The word Raptor even means, bird of pray".

Just sayin'

Re:What's next? (0, Offtopic)

wowbagger (69688) | about 4 years ago | (#33383300)

"Too bad you don't realize that both Falcons and Eagles are raptors, as are every other bird of pray ... considering raptor means 'bird of pray'.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, bless this crow to its intended purpose, amen.

PREY, not PRAY.

Re:What's next? (2, Funny)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 years ago | (#33383060)

Warthogs? You mean a puma, right? No such thing as warthogs.

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383620)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warthog

Re:What's next? (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about 4 years ago | (#33383104)

Nothing new. At one point the USAAF tried to use Flying Fortresses [wikipedia.org] to protect Flying Fortresses.

Re:What's next? (1)

Americano (920576) | about 4 years ago | (#33383418)

Warhogs to protect wart... wait.

That'll happen when pigs fly!

(ba-zing!)

Old Trick (3, Informative)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33382716)

Nothing new. Even at JFK they tested this nearly a decade ago: http://www.cartome.org/jfk-strike.htm [cartome.org] JFK and other airports may still be using trained Birds of Prey to scare off feed species.

old practice (3, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 4 years ago | (#33382718)

This practice is at least 30 yrs old. USAF bases in England were doing this in the mid 70's. If I could be bothered to look, there are probably references much earlier than that.

Re:old practice (4, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#33382802)

According to a NASA review of the subject, falconry for bird control at airports dates back to the 1940s.

I must say this article amused me; I mean, /. regularly gives us "news" from two or three years ago... but seventy?

Re:old practice (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33382938)

So, what are the limitations of this approach? Why are bird strikes still a problem?

Re:old practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382946)

The local "waste transfer station" (read: DUMP) uses falcons to keep the seagulls clear of the pile. Same deal.

Re:old practice (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 4 years ago | (#33382966)

To be fair, the mainstream media often picks up /. stories months later. It's amusing to see CNN headline an old /. story on a slow news day.

Re:old practice (1)

obscured_dude (884855) | about 4 years ago | (#33383058)

The Leyland Brothers did a documentary on this very subject in the mid 70's or early 80's... Falcons and Hawks are taken from the nest at birth to be trained for bird control at aiports...... and this is AUSTRALIA we are talking about here... australia in the mid 70's = the USA in the late 80's :)

Nothing new... (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 4 years ago | (#33382720)

Nothing new, airports have been doing this and similar for a long time.

obligatory... (3, Funny)

t35t0r (751958) | about 4 years ago | (#33382726)

Yo dawg, I heard you like falcons, so I got you this falcon so you can use your falcons while you use your falcons!

at least do it well... (1)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | about 4 years ago | (#33382888)

Yo dawg, I heard you like birds, so I got you a falcon for your falcon so you can birddog while you fly.

Re:obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383074)

But do your falcons (birds) protect falcons (airplanes) from other falcons (birds) and/or other falcons (planes)? And do your falcons (planes) protect your falcons (birds) from other falcons (birds) and/or falcons (planes)?

Montreal Airport also does that (2, Informative)

crazyfrenchmen (104386) | about 4 years ago | (#33382764)

The montreal airport also does that, nothing new here.
see :http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/03/0325_030325_falconry.html

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382772)

They were doing this at helicopter bases in the early 1700s.

Re:Old News (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33382832)

They were doing this at helicopter bases in the early 1700s.

WTF?? Do you mean the 70s? What have you been smoking?

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382956)

They were doing this at helicopter bases in the early 1700s.

WTF?? Do you mean the 70s? What have you been smoking?

Yeah I thought that Holy Grail and Flying Circus were two different projects

Re:Old News (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#33382968)

Sheesh, if you'd cracked open a history book, Leonardo da Vinci was designing the things back in the early 1500s.

That's the trouble with kids these days: They think everything—helicopters, astronauts, digital watches—came from the last century!

Leonardo International Rotary Wing Airport (4, Funny)

Infonaut (96956) | about 4 years ago | (#33382974)

Obviously you haven't been paying attention in history class. It's well known that Leonardo de Caprio's wood-and-graphite-composite corkscrew blade helicopter-Transformers were in heavy use during the early 1700s, especially in New Brunswick, East Anglia, and Muscovy. If only they had survived the onslaught of the steam-powered Brazilian Aero-Bombardment Fleet, we'd have a better historical record of those unbelievable flying machines.

Re:Leonardo International Rotary Wing Airport (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33383004)

Obviously you haven't been paying attention in history class. It's well known that Leonardo de Caprio's wood-and-graphite-composite corkscrew blade helicopter-Transformers were in heavy use during the early 1700s, especially in New Brunswick, East Anglia, and Muscovy. If only they had survived the onslaught of the steam-powered Brazilian Aero-Bombardment Fleet, we'd have a better historical record of those unbelievable flying machines.

Oh, man. That would be an awesome steampunk novel.

Re:Leonardo International Rotary Wing Airport (2, Funny)

Infonaut (96956) | about 4 years ago | (#33383516)

Maybe we should crowdsource production of the novel. A squadron of Slashdotters armed with a few Beowulf clusters do the trick.

Re:Old News (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#33383030)

Perhaps you should smoke a little bit of some good green nuggets of history.

Helicopters were not invented in the last 100 years, only made practical and viable. da Vinci is a well know example of an engineer who attempted to build helicopters. And yes, they even got some of them in the air, even if not for long enough to actually matter.

Re:Old News (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 years ago | (#33383132)

Helicopters were not invented in the last 100 years, only made practical and viable. da Vinci is a well know example of an engineer who attempted to build helicopters.

I'm not disputing that. I'm disputing this: "They were doing this at helicopter bases in the early 1700s."

There's a fairly big gap between those two. I hardly think DaVinci ever got to the point he was worried about bird-strike. :-P

There are better ways. (3, Funny)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#33382782)

So you have an airstrip full of sidewinder maverick armed planes and you use this... That's pretty boring, albeit cheaper.

about it (2)

allhereforu (1887286) | about 4 years ago | (#33382784)

it 30 yrs old practice

To prevent the falcons from becoming a problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382800)

They bring in some falcon-eating gorillas. And in the winter the gorillas simply freeze to death.

I also heard.... (1)

Quato (132194) | about 4 years ago | (#33382818)

I also heard they are using weasels to keep the lawyers away.

Re:I also heard.... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | about 4 years ago | (#33382988)

Unfortunately, that doesn't work because lawyers are a top-level predator. They can only be controlled by being socialized to periodically engage in elaborate combat rituals, establishing a social structure of artificial dominance. The rest of the time they just lounge around drinking scotch and licking themselves. Really they're mostly harmless as long as you don't taunt them with political arguments.

Re:I also heard.... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 4 years ago | (#33383080)

Sadly, the F-4G Wild Weasel was retired and hasn't been flying over Spangdahlem for years.

Oblig. Xzibit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382824)

supdawg.jpg

Not new (4, Interesting)

jddimarco (1754954) | about 4 years ago | (#33382854)

In the mid-1980s, I worked for a few months beside a guy whose hobby was falconry; he told me at the time that he had been employed by the Toronto Airport to use his falcon to help reduce the number of seagulls near the airport.

Recursion termination condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33382924)

When one of the falcons gets sucked into a Falcon.

The REAL story (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#33383088)

The base's CO hates toy poodles.

Unobvious sources make for bad leads... (3, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | about 4 years ago | (#33383096)

Wow, a story about airplanes and airports from Network World, perhaps that should of been a huge clue that it wasn't really news, novel, or particularly interesting.

And the RCAF or Canadian Air Force routinely uses them as well for their airplanes as well.

This matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383100)

Slashdot to use CmdrTaco to protect nerds from news that actually matters.

Thank you for this story, Slashdot (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 years ago | (#33383156)

otherwise, I might have gone my whole life without seeing an RSS feed ad for Mike's Falconry Supplies!
Next time, on The Falconer!

In related news... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 years ago | (#33383398)

I hear that The Audubon Society [audubon.org] is using F-16's to protect Falcons in the mid-west - yikes!

This is awesome news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33383554)

WOW! This is awesome, unheard of news! Is there anyway we can use HUMANS TO PROTECT HUMANS!

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