A new radar system to prevent bird strikes on aircraft has been installed at Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport. “MAX” was supplied by the Dutch company Robin Radar Systems. This marks the first time that the technology has been deployed at a German airport.
The new system replaces a previous one from the same company from 2016, which only monitored the southern runway. The Phased Array antenna now enables round-the-clock full 3D detection of bird movement within a radius of ten kilometres, encompassing the entire airport site. Using specially-designed software, the size, height and flight direction of bird flocks are identified and displayed. This allows potential collisions between birds and aircraft to be calculated in advance and averted systematically during take-off and landing.
To disperse flocks, BER employs pyrotechnics that produce a loud bang when fired. Furthermore, a hunting dog and, if necessary, a falconer with birds of prey are used to deter birds. In addition, through special planting and development at the airport birds are also afforded little opportunity to breed.
Upon entering an aircraft engine, birds can cause engine damage, thereby representing a serious risk factor. So far, there has been no risk of bird strike on the approximately 1,500 hectare site at BER. That’s why German air traffic has not experienced any life-threatening accidents. Nevertheless, all airports and airlines make great efforts to avoid bird strikes.
Thomas Hoff Andersson, Chief Operating Officer at Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “We are going to great lengths to offer our customers the highest possible level of safety at BER. This includes adoption of the latest technologies, whether in the terminals or on the aprons. The MAX radar allows us to detect flocks of birds more precisely, scare birds away more systematically and thus prevent bird strikes more effectively.”
Siete Hamminga, CEO of Robin Radar Systems: “MAX® is currently the most advanced bird radar on the market. Systems like these will become the safety standards at all significant airports. The cooperation with BER has always been very energetic and constructive. It’s great to work with a front-runner in innovation.”
About BERLIN BRANDENBURG AIRPORT: Flughaven Brandenburg Berlin (FBB) operates Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (IATA Code BER) with its three terminals. Berlin is the third-largest airport location in Germany and is the largest in terms of arriving and departing passengers. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, some 35.65 million passengers took off and landed in the capital region. In 2021, 9.95 million passengers passed through BER.
Photography: Berlin Brandenburg Airport GmbH / Günter Wicker .