Mitigation of risk of bird strike in aviation
Bird strikes on aircraft pose a real safety threat for both military and civil aviation. Depending on specific circumstances such as the speed of the aircraft, the point of impact, the mass of the bird, the number of birds and the type of aircraft, bird strikes can result in devastating accidents.
FlySafe aims at improving and harmonising national bird-warning systems into an extended and standardized System of Systems (SoS) to improve flight safety in northwest Europe for military Air Force operations.
FlySafe activities are carried out by eight key industrial partners: KNMI (the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institut), University of Amsterdam (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics), SARA Computing & Networking Services, TNO (NL); Thales Raytheon systems (F); Swiss Ornithological Institute Sempach (CH); IFV (Institut für Vogelforschung "Vogelwarte Helgoland"), IDA - Institut für Datentechnik und Kommunikationsnetze (D).
FlySafe activities aim at demonstrating the viability of a combined space and non space system to deliver real time and forecast of bird migration information.
FlySafe has delivered a proof-of-concept information system to generate quasi real-time information and forecast of bird migration at various spatial and temporal scales by combining various space and terrestrial assets, covering the geographic area of Belgium and The Netherlands.
FlySafe users are the Air Forces of The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.
The main need expressed by the Air Force partners is to further reduce the risk of bird strike in the case of military Air Force operations. This has been translated by Air Force partners in the following requirements:
- improved nowcast and forecast of bird density information through a standardized information to reduce bird strike risks during en-route operations
- improved real time information on bird densities at and near airports to reduce the risk of bird strike during taking off and landing activities
FlySafe system combines direct and indirect measurements of bird migration from space systems (including Earth observation and navigation satellites) with in situ bird migration information (from ground radar, military and weather radar) through models that generate three dimensional nowcast and forecast of bird migration.
Earth observation satellites are primarily used to collect environmental data including landscape, land use and weather properties which strongly condition birds’ behaviour and hence their local and global movements. Positioning satellites are used to collect information on single bird species by using system like GPS-ARGOS that can track and trace the dynamic of movements from local up to global scale.
FlySafe started in June 2007 and has been completed in June 2009. Key milestones include: user requirements, system specification, proof of concept implementation, proof of concept validation and verification, recommendations and follow-on definition.
- Federation and coordination of the users and their requirements
- Standardization & Interoperability
- Increase efficiency of operational systems
Two main demonstration services are provided by FlySafe:
- Hourly updated visualization of bird migration densities covering geographic areas of Belgium and the Netherlands
- Hourly updated 3 days forecasts for Belgium and the Netherlands (see http://www.flysafe-birdtam.eu/)
Space technologies play an important role for the characterization of global movements of birds and, indirectly for provision of environmental parameters that indicate initiation of migration, stopover behavior, shortage of foods and other parameters that together are used to model and predict bird migration. Models use earth observation data on landscape, land use, environmental and weather conditions together with global bird migration routes provided by navigation based systems and combine those data sources with in situ observation of bird migration to generate quasi real time and forecast of bird migration.
The FlySafe final presentation took place on May 29th at ESTEC.
The following results have been achieved by FlySafe:
- by end 2007, a common set of harmonized requirements has been jointly proposed by FlySafe Air Forces;
- the system has been designed accordingly and the resulting FlySafe system concept has been positively evaluated by ESA and partner AFs.
- The proof of concept has been developed and provides forecast and nowcast services covering the geographic areas of Belgium and Netherlands (see http://www.flysafe-birdtam.eu//)
- The results of this activity are summarized in FlySafe Executive Summary.
Belgian and Dutch air Forces have acknowledged the positive results of FlySafe which have demonstrated the potential of such approach to reduce the risk of bird strikes’ for their daily operations.
Following this successful demonstration phase, Dutch and Belgian air forces proposed the creation of an operational service, to be hosted by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), which is currently taking over this service. FlySafe is now being rolled out as an operational bird warning forecast service, providing enhanced real-time forecasts and ‘nowcasts’.