October 12, 2015

UK Airport Scare off Birds with Star Wars-Style ‘Lightsaber’

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UK airport using Star Wars-style £8,000 ‘lightsaber’ to scare off birds that pose threat to planes

  • Dundee Airport has turned to gadget that shines laser for over a mile
  • Officials believe laser is more effective than using noise to scare birds
  • The device guarantees that the birds fly off in the opposite direction

To combat the threat of bird strikes causing damage and delays to aircraft one UK airport is using Star Wars as inspiration. Dundee Airport in Scotland is using a space-age ‘lightsaber’ to scare off the feathered animals. Dundee Airport worker Fraser takes to the runway armed with his lightsaber to scare birds away. Airport operator HIAL is opting for the Aerolaser rather than noisier systems of scaring away birds, which can be a hazard for pilots.

Andrew Lindsay, fire manager at Dundee Airport, said: ‘Lasers have been found to be a very effective way of dispersing birds as they see the beam as a perceived threat and will fly away from it in the opposite direction. Conventional methods of scaring birds, such as pyrotechnic bangers, are also effective but cause noise problems. We are mindful that this can cause inconvenience for the local community, especially in the early morning and at night. This system is entirely silent. Because lasers can present a risk to aircraft the process is subject to stringent risk assessments and our staff are fully trained in their use. The laser we are trialling can project a beam for about 2km (1.25 miles) in distance so it has a very long range and is so far proving very effective at deterring birds in a safe and humane manner. It does have something of the look of Star Wars about it, but it obviously has a serious purpose – to keep the airfield clear of birds and thus ensure the safety of aircraft.’

The laser technology was developed by a Dutch company.

Dundee adopted the Aerolaser system after Lindsay visited Southampton Airport, where the system was in use. Southampton was the first airport to use the system.

Jon Cook, of the Angus and Dundee Bird Club, said the lasers are a good method of scaring off birds at the Riverside airport. He said: ‘It sounds like a good idea and a very good plan to keep birds away from Dundee’s airport.’

Source: Daily Mail

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