To keep their operations certificate, airport operators need to monitor and manage many different aspects to secure aviation safety. Potential safety threats are not only located at the airport but also within the airport surroundings, which airport operators are obliged to survey and manage to secure safe flight takeoffs and landings.
There are many different approaches to handle the surveying obligations of this environment. The commonality for all current approaches is that they are man-hour intensive, handled in standalone systems, and often demand specialized human resources.
Aviation stakeholders are very much aware that bird strikes are increasing due to increased global passenger traffic, lower noise level from airplanes and climate changes, which impacts wildlife behaviours. Airports need to improve their wildlife preventive activities and thereby reducing risks for airlines.
Integration of bird radar and EO data into the Ascend Wildlife solution enables airports to even better detect wildlife activity and problem sites within the airports wildlife zone. With this information, the Ascend Wildlife solution can guide wildlife teams at airports to a better and more focused efforts in bird control and wildlife management. It has been documented that the right habitat and wildlife management, can lead to an estimated reduction of bird strikes of 50%.
Users and their needs
Ascend serves multiple users in the aviation industry, by providing transparent on-line knowledge about the airport surroundings between all stakeholders, including Airport Operators, on-the-ground workers, Civil Aviation Authorities, wildlife management and many others.
The users in the Demonstration project are medium to large sized Nordic, Central and Southern Europe, British and south American airports. This wide spread group of users, is a representation of the targeted user group of airport operators at a global scale.
The user requirements behind the bird radar builds on top of the existing legislative requirements for the AMMO Wildlife solution. The users generally wish to utilize real-time bird information to improve resource management and detect root courses of birds strikes.
- Use radar data to identify areas with bird activity. Identified areas will be correlated with EO data, to classify the area type and the appropriate action.
- Monitor areas for changes in bird activity. Periodical changes and seasonal changes.
- Bird activity within the airport area is relayed to wildlife crew. A tablet solution is used to monitor real-time bird activity, and relevant actions are taken and documented.
- Documentation are generated for internal use and the CAA, of bird activity and actions taken.
This will result in the following use cases in the system.
WAMMO use cases
Service/ system concept
Using the same UI that existing users know from the Ascend portal
- The solution will be available for the users via the Ascend Portal, leveraging the same UI framework used & developed in AMMO. This will give the users a tested and recognizable UI.
Bird controller solution
- Real-time bird activity is visualised on a tablet. This enables the bird controllers to go where the birds are and improve their mitigating impact. Actions taken by bird controllers are also registered in the field via tablet.
Mapping bird activity
- Bird activity “hot-spots” on the airport area are mapped
This enables the airport to measure the effect of mitigating initiatives in their area management plan.
Monitor airport surroundings
- Bird activity hot-spots are mapped in the safeguarding zone. The airport can detect ‘problematic areas’ and initiate dialogues with land owners etc. to mitigate the high bird activity – and follow up on the effect of those mitigating actions.
WAMMO high level system architecture
Space Added Value
WAMMO expands on the AMMO projects use of space assets, by evolving the system to include ground radar data in the system. The correlation of the data from space assets with the radar data from multiple airports, will be used to produce statistical models for airports not equipped with a radar but located nearby similar habitats.
Satellite Earth Observation is used as follows:
- Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and multispectral images for aid in monitoring changes in ecosystems and landscapes.
- Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite images for monitoring airports surroundings and identifying habitat types.
- GNSS (e.g. GPS or Galileo) are used in the tablet solution to guide bird controllers to areas with identified bird activity.
- Actions taken in the field by the bird controllers, are registered with geolocation information.
The Critical Design Review (CDR) of the WAMMO project was successfully completed on 29 May 2018, and included a visit to the Aalborg Airport, a test user of the bird radar service.
The three sizes of radars investigated in the project are up and running in Aalborg Airport, where they are gathering data for refinement of the bird tracking algorithms.
The analysis of the data suggests that birds can be detected to a range of at least 5km with the large radar. The target for this size radar is 7km. This is expected to be accomplished during the project with further fine-tuning of the algorithms and radar settings.
Radar data from large radar in Aalborg. To a range of 5.5km. All data with movement data on the left, and only movement data on the right image (red dots).