Some fliers not welcome at Auckland Airport

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Swans will be in the sights of a specially designed jetboat commissioned by Auckland Airport to help protect flights from the possibility of bird strike.

Jetboat to help protect flights from bird strike

The Rayglass ProJet, named Kaitiaki Rangi or Guardian of the Skies, will scare away the birds, especially swans, that congregate on banks round the edges of the airport's runways.

The boat is operated by the airport's Wildlife Hazard Management team and can reach speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour.

The Pro-Jet, which was adapted by Rayglass especially for its airport duties, now features a large locker for bird scaring devices. It comes with seating, steering, instrumentation and a fuel tank, allowing a wide range of applications, including wildlife hazard management.

"It is important that we take a pro-active approach to protecting the flights in and out of the airport," says wildlife hazard ranger, Dave Harris. "A few years ago, a triple bird strike on a plane taking off damaged the nose cone, potentially affecting the gyros inside. While there was no danger to the plane or its passengers, the flight had to return for inspection, inconveniencing those on board.

"Over the years, we have used a variety of different vessels for wildlife hazard management, including a hovercraft and a personal water vehicle."

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