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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?  
User currently offlineAviationAddict From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 630 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7086 times:
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I like to spend a lot of my down time plane spotting at DCA and I've noticed a nearly constant, loud explosion-like sound in the general area of the airport almost everytime I've been down there. I assume it has something to do with keeping the birds off the runways, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know anything about this?

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7037 times:

Quoting AviationAddict (Thread starter):
I assume it has something to do with keeping the birds off the runways, but I'm not sure.

Exactly what it is . . . .



User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6973 times:

Yeah I noticed the bangs while at Gravelly Point a year or so back... I'm guessing its to keep birds along the Potomac away from the runways and tarmac.

User currently offlineAtomother From United States of America, joined May 1999, 440 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6933 times:

I spent plenty of time there this fall and heard them alot there, the funny thing was I don't think they have any affect on the birds really. I actually saw them sitting right next to the machine that makes the noises and they didn't even flinch when it went off. I have a few photos that I will try and upload of the birds watching a plane land, hopefully it makes it in.

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21589 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6892 times:

Quoting Atomother (Reply 3):
I spent plenty of time there this fall and heard them alot there, the funny thing was I don't think they have any affect on the birds really. I actually saw them sitting right next to the machine that makes the noises and they didn't even flinch when it went off. I have a few photos that I will try and upload of the birds watching a plane land, hopefully it makes it in.

That's because they're all deaf now.

Which isn't such a bad thing, because they won't hear the planes coming either at this point, and won't get startled and fly into the path. One would hope at least, otherwise their deafening birds for no reason at all.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineSupa7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6870 times:

It would be cool if they had a laser that kills birds in the path. Surely the Pentagon could trot something over.

User currently offlineAPFPilot1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6846 times:

I really do hate birds when I am flying. The approach to APF from the east brings you right over the dump at about a grand and they just love to hang out there. Not to mention that departure to the east brings you over the everglades and they love it there too Ive seen them as high as 3000.

User currently offlineD L X From United States of America, joined May 1999, 11582 posts, RR: 52
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6794 times:

Wow, misleading title... I thought this was going to be a report of a possible incident.

I don't often see that many birds around DCA, but on my last visit, I was shocked to see a cab driver throwing bread out of his window at Gravelly Point. A flock of a thousand gulls flew in and hovered in the area. As an American MD-80 came through, I knew I was about to witness an accident (and got out of the way). Fortunately, there was no accident. There was a hard landing though, as the pilot gunned the engines to rise above the flock, and then had to drop quickly to land. I know it was a hard landing because you could hear the impact fairly loudly, and the plane bounced.

Some cops came by about 20 minutes later, but the cabby had left.

The birds had not.


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User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6789 times:

Quoting AviationAddict (Thread starter):
Does anyone know anything about this?

Mary Schavio shooting her mouth off again about something?  scratchchin 


User currently offlineGeorgetown From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 243 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6755 times:
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Yep, as people have said, the loud bangs are for the birds. If you walk down towards the inlet off the Potomac you can see the source (it'a a fairly obvious looking double-barreled air cannon near the opposite shore). There's others placed at different points at the end of the runway as well. I remember the first time I went down there years back I had no idea what it was either. It's also true that sometimes the birds just won't move, so every now and then you'll see a guy walk down and fire off a couple reall loud and bright flares to get the birds out of the area.


Let's go Hoyas!
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1938 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6704 times:
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Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 5):
It would be cool if they had a laser that kills birds in the path. Surely the Pentagon could trot something over.

That wouldn't be cool at all where's PETA at



The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineAirlinelover From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 5580 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6609 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 8):

Mary Schavio shooting her mouth off again about something?

Nah.. Although she would be a likely candidate, I'd have to say Cindy Sheeman trying to get herself arrested again....

Chris



Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
User currently offlineAviationAddict From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 630 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6468 times:
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Quoting D L X (Reply 7):
I don't often see that many birds around DCA, but on my last visit, I was shocked to see a cab driver throwing bread out of his window at Gravelly Point. A flock of a thousand gulls flew in and hovered in the area

I see this allllll the time and it really irritates me. There are signs all over the place that say "Feeding of birds prohibited at all times" yet people continue to do it. I guess they aren't interested in aviation and just don't put two and two together: lots of birds a few hundred feet from the end of a runway = bad situation.

Quoting Atomother (Reply 3):
the funny thing was I don't think they have any affect on the birds really

I agree with you. The larger birds, like the gulls and pigeons, tend to stay over by gravelly point (which tends to be really bad for the paint job on my car  Angry ) but a lot of the smaller birds will still flock right over to the airport infield. Although, I will say that I've never seen a bird on the actually runway or taxiway, but then again, the near constant stream of large jets probably make it hard for them to find a suitable place to land on!


User currently offlineMalaysia From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 3378 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6446 times:

When I was a kid at gravely point, I thought it was the 727s, 737-200s, Dc-9 all backfiring. but a jet backfiring would be BAD! haha, but hey I was just a kid and did not know much of the air guns.


There Are Those Who Believe That There May Yet Be Other Airlines Who Even Now Fight To Survive Beyond The Heavens
User currently offlineAlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6432 times:

When I went down to spot at DCA back in December that was the first noise I heard when I stepped out of the car. It scarred the crap out of me!


No Vueling No Party
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6393 times:

Exhibit "A"....

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/pr...ages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=5089


User currently offlineMbm3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 853 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6349 times:
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On a related note, you should see all of the efforts at CLE to keep the birds off of the landside architectural features (the glass overhang over arrivals). Numerous pigeons and starlings have made a VERY nasty mess. Initially they used a sound track of a hawk, but the birds soon caught on. These days, an airport employee drives by on the departure deck clapping two pieces of wood together loudly.


Let Me Tell You, Landing A 772ER Is Harder Than It Looks!
User currently offlineLindy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5549 times:

Bird lovers and kyte amators are two biggest problems at DCA. Whenever I see them I will go and talk to them and explain that they can't feed birds in that park. If they ignore me and keep feeding birds I'm calling airport operations. Usually within 5-10 minutes airport police is on the scene and giving those people just warnings. But everyday you will find idiots feeding birds at GP. Here are some pictures that I took in December/January at Gravelly Point. Thats only small fraction of number of pictures I have people feeding birds. I take pictures of those people when I call police only. For the proof that they broke the law, and ignored my warnings. To hell with those idiots.

http://home.comcast.net/~tipek/birds01dca.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~tipek/birds02dca.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~tipek/birds03dca.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~tipek/birds04dca.jpg

Rafal


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5475 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 15):
Exhibit "A"....

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/pr...=5089

Looks like a fancy 'Tater Gun....


User currently offline777STL From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5427 times:

Quoting D L X (Reply 7):
As an American MD-80 came through, I knew I was about to witness an accident (and got out of the way).

Birds aren't going to make an airliner drop out of the sky.



PHX based
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5367 times:

Quoting 777STL (Reply 19):
Birds aren't going to make an airliner drop out of the sky.

Not usually, but...

http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Event=COOB

...and it's not always "big" birds either. The 1960 Electra crash involved starlings...


User currently offlineScottieprecord From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1363 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5284 times:

They have cannons like that at Randolph AFB. You can hear them going off from a couple miles away.

[Edited 2006-02-06 04:03:58]

User currently offline777WT From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 877 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4717 times:

At HPN they have the same thing and installed it recently. But they mentioned to keep it effective, they have to relocate them once in a while otherwise birds would know where the noise is coming from and come from a different direction to get around them.

They are powered by propane and goes off every 2-3 mins.


User currently offlineAviationAddict From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 630 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4666 times:
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Quoting Mbm3 (Reply 16):
If they ignore me and keep feeding birds I'm calling airport operations. Usually within 5-10 minutes airport police is on the scene and giving those people just warnings

Can you give me the number for OPs? There have been several times that I've wanted to call the authorities but I didn't know the number, and I'm too cheap to call information.

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 18):
Birds aren't going to make an airliner drop out of the sky.

99.9% of the time, but you never know. It's certainly better to be safe than sorry!


User currently offlineSimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 922 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4635 times:

One of my friends that works with me at DCA never likes getting out of the vehicle around the bird-guns because they startle him so much. A nice trick to play on unfamiliar people is to drive right next to the bird-gun and sit there talking until it goes off.

A few months ago I had to ask a little boy to stop flying his kite at Gravelly Point. Every summer we (with USDA) have a geese roundup where we relocate the Canadian Geese that live along the Potomac.

We also have a family of foxes that live near the base of runway 33. It's actually a benefit, since they kill off rodents and other small animals.


25 Post contains links and images JohnJ : A picture I took at DCA of the propane cannon in question is below. The reason I took this picture is that there's a farmer down the road from me who
26 PSA727 : I remember the first time I was down there plane spotting and I heard the bangs. At first I thought they were coming from Bolling AFB across the Potom
27 SATX : LOL! Priceless. It wouldn't be nearly as cool as birds with freakin' lasers on their heads. Was that the shotgun-like noise during the last air show
28 D L X : DCA's runways are short. That means pilots have to be on their game to land there. Running into a flock of birds on short final (and I mean SHORT!) i
29 Srbmod : Misquote, as reply 18 is as followed: The person you actually quoted was in Reply 19.
30 777DadandJr : Not hard to believe. These people are idiots. I was at Gravelly Point yesterday (2/5) and there was a family and their kids doing the same thing. Gul
31 Lindy : Guys, Just got back from Gravelly Point at DCA. Lots of birds and few people feeding birds. This time they stopped feeding birds when I politely asked
32 Type-Rated : Cool. Those guns look just like the thing I need to give my neighbors a rise. And they are relatively inexpensive. I have this neighbor with kids that
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