Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport installs dual bird- and drone-detection radar system – a first, officials say

Nov. 21, 2017
PANAMA CITY, Fla. Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) officials partnered with DeTect, a provider of aviation security and safety technology in Panama City, Florida, on the installation of a dual-function MERLIN Aircraft Birdstrike Avoidance Radar and DroneWatcher DSR unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone detection and defense system at the airport.

PANAMA CITY, Fla.Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) officials partnered with DeTect, a provider of aviation security and safety technology in Panama City, Florida, on the installation of a dual-function MERLIN Aircraft Birdstrike Avoidance Radar and DroneWatcher DSR unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone detection and defense system at the airport.

The DroneWatcher DSR provides a third layer of unmanned aircraft, or drone, detection and defense for the airport. The DSR also functions as a bird radar providing real-time, bird-aircraft strike risk alerts to airport flight safety managers. Bird activity and drone situational data, incursion alerts, and risk levels are delivered to airport users through custom, real-time Web displays and by automated text messaging. With this installation, ECP is the first commercial airport in the world to install a dual bird-drone detection radar system.

“At ECP, we are constantly striving to go above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of our passengers and staff. DeTect’s systems are the perfect way to do just that,” says Parker W. McClellan Jr., executive director at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. “Our partnership with DeTect offers the airport cutting edge technology that will enhance safety measures, and we are proud to say we’re the first to do it.”

In April, the company installed DroneWatcherRF sensors and APP enabled devices at the airport as phase one of the project. The radar sensor installation completes the full system implementation to provide real-time detection, tracking, and automated alerting of both bird and UAS strike risk to aircraft.

“ECP is the first airport in the U.S. to install a comprehensive bird and drone detection system. We are pleased that our technology is being used to create probably one of the safest airports in the country,” says DeTect’s President and CEO Gary Andrews.

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) offers some of the region’s lowest average airfares and is located less than 30 minutes from Panama City Beach, Panama City, and the beaches of South Walton. Today, with service from Delta, Southwest, and United, ECP provides daily flights to worldwide destinations, including nonstop flights to Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, St. Louis, Austin, and Chicago. The first international airport to be built in more than a decade, ECP provides Northwest Florida communities with first-class facilities and was strategically developed for major economic development opportunities. ECP is the gateway to visitors seeking Northwest Florida’s famous beaches.

DeTect is a U.S.-based, global provider of remote sensing technologies with offices in the U.S. and Europe and projects worldwide. DeTect’s products include drone surveillance and interdiction systems, aircraft bird strike avoidance radars, UAV Ground-based Sense and Avoid system, airspace and marine security radars, border protection radars, and bird radars for wind farm and industrial bird control and protection. Since 2003, DeTect has manufactured and delivered over 280 advanced systems worldwide.

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    Courtney E. Howard | Chief Editor, Intelligent Aerospace

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