Cadets Research Ways to Prevent Bird Strikes

Cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., are trying to find a new method to prevent costly bird strikes from occurring during takeoffs and landings. Specifically, the cadets are looking at whether speakers designed for much slower helicopters can be used to prevent bird strikes on aircraft that travel at much faster speeds. With the help of professors in the Aeronautics Research Center, the research arm of the Department of Aeronautics, cadets are trying to determine the feasibility of mounting speakers onto airplanes. “We know the speaker can be heard at 2,000 hertz,” which is within the hearing range for average birds, said Cadet 1st Class Nathan Armes. He added, “We’re pushing the speaker beyond its production limits. What we found is that we’re losing decibels at faster speeds, but there are some points when it can still be heard.” Cadets are using one of the Academy’s wind tunnels for the experiment; results are expected by the end of January. In addition, cadets also are looking at how flashing lights and loud sounds affect pilots. Bird strikes can cost more than $700 million annually in damages to both military and commercial aircraft, states the release.