US Airport Tests Specialised Radars to Avoid Bird Strikes

12 July 2009 (Last Updated July 12th, 2009 18:30)

Logan International Airport in the US is testing the Merlin avian radar system, which is aimed at preventing collisions between birds and airplanes. The decision to test bird-avoidance radar was taken after US Airways Flight 1549 landed in New York's Hudson River after striking a flock o

Logan International Airport in the US is testing the Merlin avian radar system, which is aimed at preventing collisions between birds and airplanes.

The decision to test bird-avoidance radar was taken after US Airways Flight 1549 landed in New York's Hudson River after striking a flock of geese.

The Merlin system can detect birds as small as a starling from nearly five miles away using a horizontal radar to provide an airport overview, as well as vertical radar to scan specific runways.

The systems can be automated to alert air traffic controllers of birds entering landing and take-off corridors. Specific avoidance altitudes and travel directions can then be relayed to pilots.

The technology was first used at Durban International airport in South Africa and has also been used at Louisville Airport in Kentucky.