New headlight prevents bird strikes to planes

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sometimes it pays to do your homework.

Precise Flight, a Bend manufacturing company, started thinking in the late 1990s of ways to decrease the number of bird strikes to airplanes, and started looking at the problem from a bird’s perspective.

Precise Flight worked to better understand bird vision and their reaction to aircraft lighting by collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, a biological scientist at Purdue University.

The result is a headlight called the Pulselite that is specialized to bird vision. The Pulselite uses different colors, contrast, pulsing and flickering, which enables birds to see the light from further distances and move away from approaching aircraft. The Pulselite was refined in 2008 after the research was completed the prior summer.

Vice president Scott Philiben says Precise Flight is the only company manufacturing lights specifically designed to decrease bird strikes. It has sold the Pulselite to commercial airlines around the world, including Ryanair, Lufthansa and Qantas Airlines. Business aviation companies such as Gulfstream in the U.S. also use the Pulselite.

The 20-employee company recently gained a foothold with commercial airlines in the U.S. when it was awarded a $450,000 contract in January to install the Pulselite on 105 Alaskan Airlines aircraft.

Horizon Air began installing the Pulselite on a line of commercial jets in October 2008 and expects to finish by June 2010. It has since recorded a 12% reduction in bird strikes with only 25 of 40 installations completed. Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines are the first U.S. airlines to use the Pulselite.

Philiben says the landing lights cost between $4,000 and $5,000. A complete landing light set, which includes headlights, emergency lights and wing lights, costs approximately $10,000. The bulbs commercial airlines typically use are bought in bulk and individually cost $60.

The Pulselite represents a third of Precise Flight’s gross annual revenue, which is around $5 million. Philiben expects sales with commercial airlines to double once the research is widely published later this year.

AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

More Articles

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS