Airport Radar – with two eyes

The airlines may be in one of their safest periods ever, but debate on aviation safety is bound to continue with Congress headed back to Washington and a controversial NASA database on safety drawing Radar%20Running-2-04.JPG headlines and promises of high-profile investigation. The database suggested to some that near mid-air collisions, runway incursions and bird strikes are underreported and a greater problem than recognised. An An-12 crash last year at Moscow was likely caused by a birdstrike, and the UK CAA has just opened an on-line reporting system to improve bird-strike awareness. And the FAA has asked all US airports to perform an assessment of wildlife hazards, from deer stalking the runways to birds flying into aircraft taking off.
Well, we’ve discovered a practical approach to this last problem at an airport way down on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Fort Myers airport near Naples, known as Southwest Florida International. 3RadarSignature.JPG She’s Radar, a four-footed pest-controller who’s regularly on patrol at the airport. Fort Myers has service from Delta, JetBlue, AirTran, Continental, Southwest and others. It’s a busy place at this time of the year what with snowbirds seeking the sun, and real birds migrating southwards stopping off there to visit the year-round residents. But the nine-year-old border collie is on guard for incursions by blue herons, ducks, cranes, and others. And after an encounter with Radar, they fly away and usually don’t come back, say airport officials. Border collies are smart, dedicated and bred to deal with animals firmly but gently, so we’re sure Radar has no egrets about chasing away the interlopers.

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2 Responses to Airport Radar – with two eyes

  1. Peter G Eschauzier 14 January, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    The Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is in Fort Myers, not Naples, which also has a smaller (but busier) airport (APF.)

  2. Cindi Deutschman-Ruiz 15 January, 2008 at 7:23 pm #


    Enjoyed the piece so much, I referred to it on my company’s blog!

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