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Trainspotter

500G radar device could've prevented crash, says maker

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State-of-the-art bird radar that costs just $500,000 to install at airports could have prevented the US Airways crash, the system's maker said Friday.

 

"For the cost of this one accident, I could put this system in every major U.S. airport," said Gary Andrews of radarmaker De-Tect Inc.

 

The bird-detection radar system is in place at six U.S. Air Force bases and is being installed at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

 

It could have alerted Flight 1549 pilot Chesley Sullenberger that dangerous flocks of geese were in his flight path.

 

"Nothing is foolproof, but it would have likely spotted the geese," Andrews said. "The pilot could have tried to avoid the flock, or they could have told him to hold on the ground."

 

Radar or no, the tug-of-war between planes and birds is unlikely to end anytime soon.

 

Experts say they have tried everything from scarecrows to fireworks. They say there is no surefire way to eliminate the dangers posed by flocks of birds near airports.

 

"This is a huge problem, and it's been growing for some time," said Michael Goldfarb, a former FAA official.

 

More than 5,000 American planes reported striking birds last year. Birds forced several emergency landings and caused a whopping $2 billion in damage to planes worldwide.

 

The Port Authority says only about 15 planes a year report striking birds at area airports, out of more than 1 million flights.

 

The agency says it has aggressively worked to limit the population of geese near LaGuardia and JFK airports and boasts of culling hundreds of Canada geese on Rikers Island, near LaGuardia.

 

"The program eliminates thousands of birds each year and rounds up thousands more," the authority said.

 

Geese experts and animal advocates say the measures are wrongheaded, cruel and - most importantly - ineffective.

 

A group called Geese Peace says the Port Authority mostly ignored its 2004 plan that included destroying prime nesting grounds and eliminating goose-friendly grassy areas.

 

"If this plan had been implemented, today there would be thousands of less Canada geese in and around the port of New York," said David Feld of Geese Peace.

 

One expert said only so much can be done to keep geese away.

 

"They're very adaptable," said Kurt Hundgen, director of the Greenburgh Nature Center in Westchester. "The first day you stop doing it, they'll be back."

 

BY PETE DONOHUE AND DAVE GOLDINER

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

January 17th 2009

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Birds don't show up on an aircraft's weather radar.

 

How about making engines without one huge open inlet, instead many smaller inlets & integrated into the wing more. :)

 

- A

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Birds don't show up on an aircraft's weather radar.

 

How about making engines without one huge open inlet, instead many smaller inlets & integrated into the wing more. B)

 

- A

 

Or just put a giant grate on the front of it.

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