Best bird deterrent alternative to pyrotechnics according to Royal Netherlands Airforce

During the demonstration by Bird Control Group at one of the Royal Netherlands Airforce airbases, the Bird Control Unit became enthusiastic about the effect on the Grey Herons and other species. Van Gasteren: “There is an overload of promises on the market. Finding an innovative solution that also delivers was and is very exciting.”


Airbase: Royal Netherlands Air Force
Location: Seven military airbases in the Netherlands
Product: Aerolaser Handheld
Reason: Hazardous birds at the airbases
In use since: January 2016

Benefits for Royal Netherlands Air Force:
• Better results in expelling hazardous bird species
• Some bird species tend to stay away altogether
• In combination with other techniques 100% effectiveness was reached for a few species


Situation before
The numbers of hazardous birds at the seven airbases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force have decreased since the implementation of effective habitat management measures. However, some birds still pose a threat towards aircraft, its crew and passengers and are expelled with pyrotechnics and distress calls. Unfortunately, several species still required a lot of effort to expel, for example: Greylag Goose, the Grey Heron and Common Buzzard.

Situation after
Since January 2016, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has collected enough data to draw preliminary conclusions about the effect of the Aerolaser Handheld at three airbases. The Aerolaser Handheld works equally as good as pyrotechnics and distress calls and even reaches 100% effectiveness when a combined use is applied.

Royal Netherlands Airforce

“For us it’s a no brainer. We are going to continue to use the Bird Control Group Aerolaser Handheld and purchase a few more for all our airbases.”

Hans van Gasteren, Head of Nature Bureau Royal Netherlands Air Force, was on the lookout for an additional bird expelling system when he met Steinar Henskes, CEO of Bird Control Group, at the World Birdstrike Association conference in Mexico. He quickly learned that their innovative Aerolaser also worked in broad daylight, which made van Gasteren instantly curious. During the demonstration by Bird Control Group at one of the airbases, the Bird Control Unit became enthusiastic about the effect on the Grey Herons and other species. Van Gasteren: “There is an overload of promises on the market. Finding an innovative solution that also delivers was and is very exciting.”


It was decided to start with three Aerolaser Handhelds for the airbases of Woensdrecht (pilot school), Leeuwarden (F-16 base) and De Kooij (helicopters). The remaining four airbases got three weeks to experience the Aerolaser Handheld. “All laser products that are used within the Ministry of Defence of The Netherlands are always scrutinized for safety reasons by the Navel Maintenance and Sustainment Agency. It was assessed that all three Aerolaser Handhelds exceeded the class 2M condition and thus the Aerolaser Handheld had to be classified as class 3B. The outcome did not hold us from using these lasers on our airbases, but we’ve increased the safety measures to ensure the safety of both the users and the people within the hazardous distance”.

All worth it
“With all the precautionary measures and careful instructions from Bird Control Group that we took beforehand, we didn’t have any problems with the Aerolaser Handheld. On the contrary: from the start we were amazed by the quality and effectiveness. This laser is at least equally as effective as pyrotechnics and distress calls.”

Data conclusions
All bird repelling actions were tracked carefully to be able to make objective conclusions at the end of the try-out.


Van Gasteren: “I have analyzed nine different bird species, three different techniques, three combinations of techniques during all seasons. The data are still subjectively interpretable, but all Bird Control Units come to these conclusions:

• The Aerolaser can be used during all seasons;
• The laser works as good or better for all bird species, except the Common Buzzard;
• The combination of laser and pyrotechnics is most effective;
• There are indications that some species do not return for a longer period after using the Aerolaser Handheld;
• The safety measures for using the Aerolaser Handheld are similar to those of a weapon, including the corresponding safety distances.

“There is an overload of promises on the market. Finding an innovative solution that also delivers was and is very exciting.

“For us it’s a no brainer. We are going to continue to use the Bird Control Group Aerolaser Handheld and purchase a few more for all our airbases. We are happily surprised with this positive outcome“, concludes van Gasteren.



Effectiveness of bird dispersal methods

Data were gathered by bird control units on three military airbases in The Netherlands between January and September 2016. The effectiveness is expressed as the percentage of actions which result in birds leaving the airport.





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2017-09-13T10:43:12+00:00