New Research Center To Focus On Wildlife Hazards To Aircraft

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A new research center that will be based in Prescott, Ariz., will serve as the nation's primary facility for learning about bird strikes and other wildlife conflicts that affect aviation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced this week. The center will bring together aviation wildlife experts to share their research, develop new management solutions to reduce hazards, and serve as a resource to airports around the world. "The US Airways landing in the Hudson River [in January] was the wake-up call that we needed to accelerate our plan to create this center, which was several years in the making," said Archie Dickey, a professor of aviation environmental science at ERAU, who will serve as the project's director. The center staff will also develop training programs for pilots and airport workers to help them prevent aircraft collisions with birds and wildlife.

Past research efforts have proven helpful in developing bird-detecting radar for use near airports and determining the best height to mow grass to deter birds. Professor Dickey is a leader in wildlife mitigation efforts. He created the FAA's Web-based wildlife strike database in 1999 and continues to manage it. The FAA site is a compilation of data voluntarily reported by airport officials.