FAA tests radar to spot birds in flight at airports

The Federal Aviation Administration is on a bird hunt'an electronic one that is.

FAA has been capturing birds and their flight patterns on a portable radar prototype to come up with a way to avoid bird-aircraft collisions.

The agency finished testing the bird strike radar last month at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

FAA is studying the results to determine if the radar is technically feasible and practical for operational use.

The small portable radar, with a three-mile range, can track flocks of birds and report hazard conditions for arriving and departing aircraft, FAA officials said.

The radar would be deployed with the National Bird Strike Advisory System that FAA is developing to alert pilots and airports in near-real time.

The system checks bird radar data against historical data from the airport and from the FAA National Wildlife Strike Database, which the FAA maintains at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.

FAA's Office of Aviation Research and its Airport Technology R&D Branch developed the radar under the Dual Use Science and Technology program.

The Air Force, the University of Illinois, and Waveband Corp. of Irvine, Calif., also participate in the program.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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