India plans to deploy micro UAVs to scare birds at airports

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India's Bird Strike Research Group (BSRGI) is planning a trial of new birdstrike technology at three airports in southern India - Mysore, Hubli and Mangalore.

In 2009 alone, Indian aviation companies suffered a loss of $10.2 million from damage caused in about 300 collisions with birds, although this number may an underestimate because India does not have a central database for these events. The country's indigenous birdlife includes many large species which pose a danger to aircraft at all altitudes, but the risk is highest near airports.

K. Ramachandra, leader of the BSRI said: "We decided on these three airports because of their differences: Mysore is a new airport; Hubli is a medium-sized airport; and the third - Mangalore - is coastal. These choices will give us options to uncover methods to prevent strikes under a variety of situations."

Once an analysis of the local bird migratory pattern for each of the three airports is complete, the institution plans to deploy measures including using prototype micro unmanned air vehicles (MUAV) resembling birds. These vehicles are currently under development by the National Programme for MAVs (NP-MICAV).

Ramachandra, who is also the chief executive of NP-MICAV, says an intelligent MUAV with stored data on the general behaviour of birds will be able to deploy any or all of three deterrent modes: high-frequency stroboscopic lights; broadcast recorded bird distress signals; and the release of smoke or gas.

The BSRGI, which has its headquarters in Bangalore, has made a number of suggestions to India's DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to mitigate the threat of bird strikes near Indian airports. Ramachandra has said that that BSRGI will share data with international agencies, since birdstrikes are a global phenomenon.