From the NY Post 1/23/09 edition:
FORCE IS WITH US
By TOM TOPOUSIS
Geese, beware: The US Air Force is on the way. Air Force brass yesterday offered to give New York one of its cutting-edge bird-detecting radar systems in order to prevent another airline collision like the one that forced a US Airways jet to ditch in the Hudson River last week. EXCLUSIVE: Ace Of Grace Gary Andrews, general manager at radar manufacturer DeTect Inc., said he got a call from the Air Force yesterday telling him to take a radar system slated for Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and send it instead to New York. "That system is sitting here and it's ready to go," said Andrews, adding that the Air Force has offered to ship the system to the Port Authority at no cost. "I'm convinced that if La Guardia Airport had one of these radar systems, it would have detected the geese and alerted the controllers and pilot in time to avoid the collision," Andrews said of last week's US Airways splash-landing. DeTect's radar is already slated for a test program at Kennedy Airport, where technicians arrived yesterday to begin installing it. With a test already set for Kennedy, an aviation source said it's likely the Air Force's equipment would go to La Guardia. Officials at the Port Authority, which runs La Guardia, JFK and Newark airports, said they were unaware of the Air Force offer late yesterday. "We'll work with them to do what we need to do to expedite the program," said PA spokesman Pasquale DiFulco. Earlier yesterday, PA officials said they had asked the Obama administration to expand the federally sponsored test of the bird-detecting radar from Kennedy to La Guardia and Newark. "The request certainly has merit and we will see if the test can be expanded to include the two other airports in New York," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters. New York's airports will be the first commercial airports in the nation to use the radar systems, designed to detect flying objects as small as birds and calculate potential collision courses with aircraft nearby. Radar now in use is designed only to track other aircraft. "The US is really moving slow on this," Andrews said of installing the bird-detecting radar that can cost from $500,000 up to $2 million for a large airport. He said airports in Germany, Canada and South Africa have already put the system in place. The bird-detecting radar has been used by the Air Force since 2003. NASA installed two DeTect systems after a vulture hit a space shuttle in 2005. Andrews said the radar has completely eliminated bird strikes at a North Carolina Air Force installation since it was installed in 2003. Before that, bird strikes averaged from four to seven each year. "We could have put this technology in place at every major airport for less than the cost of an airline crash like the one last week," he said. tom.topousis @nypost.com
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Posted by Kingsboider at 8:49 PM
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