USAF donates bird-detecting radar to LaGuardia

Flight 1549

January 23, 2009
Complied from the NY Post’s TOM TOPOUSIS.

Due to the Flight 1549’s unfortunate collision with geese the USAF has offered one of its bird-detecting radar (gratis) to hopefully prevent another catastrophic strike. If you recall, Captain Sullenberger is a retired USAF combat pilot. The radar units are made at DeTect Inc. and this particular unit was meant for Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska – but will instead go to LaGuardia. DeTect’s radar, already slated to be tested at Kennedy Airport, was being installed yesterday. Very strange coincidence. They can cost $500,000 up to $2 million depending on the size of the airport.

In 2003 the radar was installed and has completely eliminated bird strikes – previous 4-7 year – at a North Carolina Air Force installation.

DeTect’s General Manager GARY ANDREWS: 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. 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.

The Port Authority which runs La Guardia, JFK and Newark Airports were not initially aware of the offer – but had asked the Obama administration to expand the federally funded program to include LaGuardia and Newark. NASA installed two DeTect systems after a vulture hit a space shuttle in 2005. But New York will be the first city to install such radar devices.

FAA Federal spokesman JIM PETERS: The request certainly has merit and we will see if the test can be expanded to include the two other airports in New York.

PA spokesman PASQUALE DIFULCO: We’ll work with them to do what we need to do to expedite the program.

ANDREWS said Canada, South Africa and Germany already are using radar devices.

The US is really moving slow on this. That system [for LaGuardia] is sitting here and it’s ready to go.

Let’s see how long it takes to get installed and how long it takes for the rest of the airports to get them. This could be added to the stimulus bill instead of condoms. How much did the plane cost and how much is one let alone 155 lives worth? And if a greedy passenger sues?


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