Minimizing Risk of Bird Strike to Rotorcraft
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Minimizing Risk of Bird Strike to Rotorcraft

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    Final Report
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    This research presents a set of investigation results of a prototype (PAR46 size) landing light that incorporated ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UVLEDs) in ‘real-world’ flight conditions for the benefit of Bird Strike Mitigation for Rotorcraft. The research measured the effectiveness of using a prototype Bird UVLEDs integrated into a PAR46 landing light to trigger bird avoidance behavioral responses, which would increase flight path separation to reduce the incidence of bird strikes. The first set of field trials involved a one-quarter scale remote controlled (RC) plane. The second set of field trials involved an AirTractor 802 aircraft performing flight operations, with nominal flight speeds of 150 kt and < 100’ above ground level (AGL), in the performance of agricultural chemical delivery. Concrete examples are illustrated throughout the report to make the concepts clear. Field data of measured bird responses to the deterrence device ON/OFF condition of the PAR46 with UVLED landing light was statistically modeled for correlation with environmental conditions. The environmental flight conditions were recalculated to determine the SNR (signal to noise ratio) of the bird’s visual system to the approaching plane, corresponding to the time of change in bird behavior identified as flight direction, altitude, or speed as recorded by an on-board video camera. The camera was mounted in the cockpit of an AirTractor air vehicle with a majority of plane-bird interactions occurring at 3-10m AGL with an airspeed of 150 kt. The three empirically derived variables (V1, V2, and V3) of the model correspond to three sequential steps involved in visual processing as presented by modern neurophysiological research. The SNR of the air vehicle to the background brightness of the sky is a key factor incorporated in the model that differentiates the predicted distance of the birds’ distance of change in flight direction, altitude, or speed. Multiple species of birds were involved in these field trials, which benefited from the ON condition of the prototype (PAR46 size) landing light that incorporated UVLEDs. Differences of reaction distance were measured for various species, which may be uniquely associated with the species neurophysiological functions.
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