Bird strike warning system - MIVOTHERM®

This system is based on our highly sensitive, third-generation thermal imagers that have proven their capabilities in international operations.

The early warning system categorises flocking birds in hazard classes and immediately forwards this data to air traffic controllers. The system takes the size and number of birds, altitude, direction and size of the flock into consideration. MIVOTHERM monitors both migration routes and particularly vulnerable areas.

The innovative early warning system was developed in a joint effort with Baader Konzept GmbH. Unlike conventional systems, MIVOTHERM not only detects the current status, but also identifies the hazard of flocking birds in advance – accurately and precisely down to the minute.

A clear picture of potential hazards

Airbus DS Optronics’ early warning system works with ultra precise, third-generation thermal imagers. It determines automatically the size and number of birds, their altitude and heading, and the size of the flock.

It categories flocks that could endanger aircraft in hazard classes and immediately relays this data to the air traffic control unit so that they can take the means necessary to prevent collisions and spare birds.

In May 2009, the German Air and Space Travel Industry bestowed its prestigious Lilienthal Award on MIVOTHERM. And birds no longer give the Frankfurt airport (FRA) cause for concern – it has MIVOTHERM in place to prevent incidents.

Protecting aircraft against collisions with flocking birds

250,000 birds are killed a day when they collide with objects that they are unable to avoid. Usually the harm of such bird strikes is limited to the bird. However, they can endanger human lives when birds strike aircraft. The Frankfurt airport, for example, reported 64 bird-strike events in 2011 alone. 

One particularly spectacular incident made headlines around the world: On 15 January 2009 in New York, a bird strike collided with US Airways flight 1549. Six minutes after takeoff the flight ended with an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Fortunately, no lives were lost.

Airports have a vital interest in being able to predict when birds will cross flight paths. Now MIVOTHERM, a fully automatic warning system, is here to pinpoint flocks of birds in the vicinity, and assess the danger that they pose to air traffic. 80% of bird strikes happen within the first 300 metres after takeoff or the last 300 meters on approach. If flocking birds are discovered and their heading has been determined, the aircraft’s takeoff can be postponed until this hazard passes.

Main features  & benefits

  • Early warnings
  • Self-calibrating
  • Fully automatic
  • All-weather enabled
  • Operable day & nigh

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