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Image - Preventing bird strikes

Video of the Week - Preventing bird strikes

The Bird Avoidance Model could help to cut down on collisions between birds and planes at busy airports. Video and image courtesy Virtual Laboratory for e-Science. Click on the above and go to section that begins at 2 mins 45 seconds.

Encounters between birds and planes have the potential to be disastrous - just ask Chesley Sullenberger, pilot of the US Airways flight that just barely managed to land on New York City's Hudson River after colliding with a flock of geese on 15 January.

Such "bird strikes" are a continuing problem, with about 4,000 of them occurring in the United States alone in a single year, says the Federal Aviation Authority.

The FAA and others would like to be able to forecast when and where dangerous concentrations of birds will form - similar to meteorologists predicting the weather.

Researchers at the Virtual Laboratory for e-Science (vl-e), The Netherlands, think that they have found a solution for such busy air-spaces as Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The lab specializes in the use of distributed computing and high-performance supercomputing to solve real-world problems; by entering in radar data on birds in northern Holland, along with historical information on bird flight patterns and data from field observers, they can create a map that tells pilots what places to avoid. To find out more, see their video above.

- Dan Drollette, iSGTW

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