A flock of birds was responsible for the spectacular water landing on the Hudson River in January. Birds were sucked into the engines causing them to fail and forcing the pilots to make an emergency water landing. This is not such a rare situation. Between 1990 and 2005, the FAA reported around 65,000 incidents with bird strikes in the USA alone — i.e. 1 in 10,000 flights.
The new Mivotherm system from Carl Zeiss can prevent such accidents. It predicts the flight paths of flocks of birds down to the second. Birds swarm to the air looking for food or a place to sleep. On top of that, 50 billion migratory birds head south for the winter every year. For orientation, these flocks follow the highways of the air–rivers, valleys and coastlines. Such landmarks often cross the air corridors of airports. Supported by an ornithological analysis, Mivotherm recognizes and reports this hazard at an early stage.
The early warning system is based on highly sensitive thermal imagers from Carl Zeiss. It classifies flocks of birds into hazard classes and immediately transmits this data to air traffic controllers. The system accounts for parameters such as size and number of birds, altitude, direction and size of the flock.
Researchers from Oberkochen have perfected the system in close cooperation with ornithologists. Successfully at that–Mivotherm was recently honored with the Lilienthal Award for innovative ideas in aerospace technology. We hope you have a safe flight!
August 11, 2009