Question: What are Avibirds?
Answer: Avibirds are patented radio controlled artificial birds. They can be featured with flapping, semi flapping or fixed wings.
Question: How long can an Avibird fly?
Answer: they can stay airborne for minimal 15 minutes.
Question: What is the range the Avibird can be operated?
Flying on sight; 150m, flying by video; standard 2km. Special requests up to 10km.
Question: Who can fly an Avibird?
Answer: An experienced rc model aircraft pilot: yes. A drone operator without a course: no, not yet.
Question: How can I use an Avibird for bird control?
Answer: You can attend a course or hire an operator from the Roflight team. Models can only be operated by a qualified and licensed pilot, combined with sufficient knowledge of raptors / hunting birds.
Question: Is there an flight controller and/ or stabilizer on board?
Answer: Yes. An Avibird cannot be compared to a rigid drone. An Avibird should fly natural (manual mode) and is developed to chase agile prey / pest birds.
Question: What about autonomous flight?
Answer: Wild prey-birds are extremely maneuverable and learn during attacks from a predator and visa versa. Each day of the year and even every hour of the day brings different circumstances that has an effect on the strategy. Every bird species needs another deter method as well. It is not possible to mimic a successful chase autonomous although it can fly autonomously.
Question: What can the Avibird chase away?
Answer: Any bird that forms their natural prey.
Question: Why is the Avibird not always flown on sight?
Answer: Flying an Avibird purely on sight can be done with the inbuild flightcontroller. When an artificial bird enters a group of birds or flies out of sight, the model needs the help of the auto pilot. The operator cannot keep his eyes off the model for a second, he has no view of the rest and therefore an auto pilot helps him to have time to check the environment and the birds around. Note that no distances can be estimated on sight and the model is not able to avoid obstacles. Start and landing are performed on sight.
Question: What about weather condition?
Answer: Fog and or frost is a big no-go. Low cloud means we cannot fly. Force 5 is about the upper wind speed limit, although we have flown in force 7 which is intense and both Avibirds and prey-birds are practically stationary, trying to plough into the wind. Rain is not good for the model.
Question: What are the Avibirds made of?
Answer: Most parts are low density expanded polypropulene (EPP) with embedded components.
Question: Which models are be available?
Answer: There are 313 bird of prey species worldwide. Depending on the birds to be chased and the common birds of prey, the model has to be fabricate for each unique job. In the Netherlands we use the models goshawk and peregrine falcon for bird control. Roflight also uses sea gull models for bird monitoring.
Question: What about power?
Answer: We have trailed different power options too. With more power you can fly around and make yourself look ridiculous to the (pest) birds. The balance must be maintained and the pilot needs to show some skill and strategy, not just brute engine power.
Question: What about habituation?
Answer: We have an area in use for testing over many years and no habituation was mentioned as long the Avibird behaves natural and performs realistic pursuits.
Question: How long do the birds stay away?
Answer: This depends strongly on the species and why the birds stay in a certain area. A feeding place (for example a landfill) attracts hungry birds. An airfield acts as a magnet on birds that find ease and wideness where no one bothers them. The first time an Avibird is used, the birds usually return quickly. Then a 2nd flight is necessary. Over time, the birds learn that this is a bird of prey territory and will avoid the area. Birds in the breeding season cannot be chased away within their nesting area.
Question: don’t we need a real kill?
Answer: No. In the wild birds are continuously be hunted by real birds of prey. They know their enemy. If a bird is killed there is no threat anymore and birds will settle down again. However, if the Avibird is unable to operate, we use real falconry birds to finish the job.
Question: Avibirds and airplanes do not go together anyway?
Answer: The Avibird is just about making air traffic safer by reducing bird collisions with airplanes. The Avibird operates when there is no plane around. The operator is in direct contact with the tower to be informed. An Avibird equipped with GPS displays its position and traffic control can even follow the flight in real time.