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So Fly: Scientists Have Developed “Avanex,” A New Weapon Against Bird Strikes At Airports

Submitted by on August 29, 2011 – 1:54 pmOne Comment
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When US Airways Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C. made an emergency landing on the frigid Hudson River in January of 2009 after both engines failed, many assumed it might have been an act of terrorism or a perhaps a mechanical issue on an old plane that should have never taken flight in the first place. But when the cause of the crash was finally revealed, many thought it was too birdbrained to be true: a flock of birds had crashed into the plane, literally suffocated the engines and caused them to explode. Huh?

Referred to as a “bird strike,” the FAA reveals that in 2009 about 7,000 bird incidents occurred in the U.S. alone. About 15 per cent of these events caused substantial aircraft damage costing the aviation industry an estimated $1.4 billion dollars a year. Now bird strikes could become a thing of the past. New Zealand scientists have developed a new bird-repelling grass called “Avanex,” that is infected with a fungus that the birds won’t eat keeping them clear of airport runways where planes are taking off and landing.

“If we can reduce the attractiveness of an airport to birds, then we don’t have to use guns and flashing lights to chase them away,” explained AgResearch‘s Doctor Pennell to One News. Although the fungus will make birds sick, it won’t kill them, and birds are not likely to eat the grass again once they have tried it initially.

Get a bird’s-eye view of this latest technology in aviation below:

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One Comment »

  • Peter Reardon says:

    Very interesting and no doubt a useful tool – but some folks just don’t seem to get it! Not all bird strikes occur on, near, within the airport grassed areas, e.g. US Air Flt 1549 hit a flock of geese several miles and several thousand feet away from the Newark airport. Or, perhaps the grass can grow so fast, so high and so far away that it can prevent/reduce bird strikes beyond the airport runways?

    Unfortunately, the perception that all bird strike events occur within the confines of the airport runway environments is a myth – for examp;le, a jet aircraft on approach is still approximately 3 miles from the airport when it is passing 1,000 ft on descent – AND this is bird territory!

    Keep up the airport efforts, but why not look at some on-board systems to provide bird strike reduction to every aircraft in any airspace and on any airport runway?

    Keep up the good work, but look well beyond the airport runways and fences if this problem is to be addressed.

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