Research On Bird-Detecting Radar
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated the Bird Radar Research Program in the 1990s when prototype systems for detecting birds at airfields were being introduced. Studies that focused on the performance of commercially available bird radar detection systems began in 2005. For nearly two decades, the FAA Airport Technology Research and Development Branch has directed research on an extensive and varied list of radar technologies. This interim report summarizes the Bird Radar Research Program to date and describes future planned bird radar research activities.
Bird radars have demonstrated valuable functionalities that support various end users in the aviation community. Currently, the primary role of bird radar is a tool to support wildlife hazard assessments at airports and control of hazardous wildlife at or near airport property. However, implementation and application of bird radar detection systems is continually evolving amidst accelerated technological improvements, systems integration, and robust data analysis capabilities. Bird radar manufacturers continue to develop improved equipment that can provide higher-fidelity data on target location, speed, and mass amounting to a potential role in civil air traffic control.
The FAA Bird Radar Research Program is expected to continue for a number of years with a focus on extending bird radar’s role to support air traffic control on a local level and augmenting bird radar with other longer-range radar assets to provide coverage on a regional, and perhaps even a national, scale.
Author: Ryan E. King