Dodging Birds Digitally

Nevada Air National Guardsmen overlaid a bird tracking system onto computerized maps, bringing two systems together to help pilots avoid avian-infested airspace and potential bird strikes. Computer wizards at the 152nd Airlift Wing safety office took dysfunctional U.S. Avian Hazard Advisory System software and successfully meshed it with Google Earth, according to a Jan. 30 release. “Before this innovation, all you had to look at was tabular data …to figure out where the bird strike hazards were,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Machabee, 152nd AW safety chief. “Now we have an easy-to-use visual aid to help our airmen” across the Air Force plan low-level flight routes and avoid accidents, he added. The software fix visually integrates bird avoidance and soaring computer models with radar and map data, according to the release.