AviationAddict
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:59 pm

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?
 
ANCFlyer
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:15 pm

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 . . . .

FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
uswyjer
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:49 pm

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.
 
atomother
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:05 pm

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.
 
ikramerica
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:16 pm

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.
 
supa7E7
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:29 pm

It would be cool if they had a laser that kills birds in the path. Surely the Pentagon could trot something over.
"Who's to say spaceships aren't fine art?" - Phil Lesh
 
APFPilot1985
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:38 pm

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.
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D L X
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:59 pm

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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OPNLguy
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:01 pm

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

Mary Schavio shooting her mouth off again about something?  scratchchin 
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Georgetown
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:14 pm

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!
 
FlyDeltaJets
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What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:47 pm

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
 
airlinelover
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:16 pm

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
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AviationAddict
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:54 pm

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!
 
malaysia
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:03 am

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
 
AlitaliaMD11
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:08 am

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
 
OPNLguy
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:23 am

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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mbm3
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:58 am

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!
 
Lindy
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:29 am

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
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srbmod
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:38 am

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

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

Looks like a fancy 'Tater Gun....
 
777STL
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:43 am

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
 
OPNLguy
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:53 am

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...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
scottieprecord
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:03 pm

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]
 
777wt
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:14 pm

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.
 
AviationAddict
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:20 pm

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!
 
simairlinenet
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:21 pm

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.
 
JohnJ
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:02 pm

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 uses one of these things to keep the birds/deer out of his plants. He runs the thing all night long and it drives me bananas. A company by the name of Zon is one of the major manufacturers of such devices - my farmer friend uses a Zon cannon.

http://airshots.homestead.com/files/dca_cannon.jpg

Here's a link to the Zon web site, as if you haven't had enough already:

http://www.suttonag.com/Zon.html
 
PSA727
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:41 pm

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
Potomac River until I later found out the real source. However, it doesn't
appear to be much of a deterrent for the birds; the fact that people are
down there at Gravelly Point feeding them (I've seen it myself) seems to be
their incentive to linger. And changing the topic just a little, what is with all
of those rabbits living next to the runways at CDG? I know they cannot fly
into an airplane engine, but do they pose any danger to flight safety?
fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
 
satx
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:12 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 4):
One would hope at least, otherwise their deafening birds for no reason at all.

LOL! Priceless.

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 5):
It would be cool if they had a laser that kills birds in the path.

It wouldn't be nearly as cool as birds with freakin' lasers on their heads.


Quoting Scottieprecord (Reply 21):
They have cannons like that at Randolph AFB. You can hear them going off from a couple miles away.

Was that the shotgun-like noise during the last air show then?

Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 24):
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.

Evil, pure evil, but I like it nonetheless.
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
D L X
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:42 am

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

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!) is not a good thing. The AA MD-80 I saw had to gun the engines to quickly climb OVER the flock of birds that were being fed, and then 200 yards later (at most), idle the engines, hit the landing strip, then gun the engines in reverse, or passengers swim.

So, because this moron was feeding birds, an airliner came in unusually hot, unusually high, onto an unusually short field. Crashes are the results of strings of unusual activity. Fortunately this time, it was just a hard landing.
 
srbmod
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:06 am

Quoting AviationAddict (Reply 23):

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!

Misquote, as reply 18 is as followed:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 18):
Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 15):
Exhibit "A"....

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

Looks like a fancy 'Tater Gun....

The person you actually quoted was in Reply 19.
 
777DadandJr
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:29 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 7):
I was shocked to see a cab driver throwing bread out of his window at Gravelly Point.

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. Gulls flying around everywhere. Fortunately, a/c were departing on rwy 1 yeaterday, so they were much higher up when passing over the park.
On a side note though, as we were watching the a/c coming in on rwy 1 (about 2 miles away, we did get to witness some seemingly spectacular "crabbed" landings. A strong crosswind was blowing across the river and we could see the planes crabbing on approach. Too bad we weren't down at the other end to see that!
Back on topic,
There was a flock of geese sitting across the inlet, just near the end of rwy 15. They were just quietly flocked there, not causing any trouble. The air cannons were not being used yesterday.
Too bad these morons can't read the big "Do Not Feed ANY animals" signs posted around the park.

Quoting D L X (Reply 28):
DCA's runways are short. That means pilots have to be on their game to land there

Also a challenge to pilots is the "Kai Tak" style approach to rwy15. With DC's restricted airspace, pilots must "follow the river" when coming south, then make a right bank and then get established within about a 1/2 mile before touchdown. With all this, they certainly don't need to deal with birds!

Russ
My glass is neither 1/2 empty nor 1/2 full, rather, the glass itself is twice as big as it should be.
 
Lindy
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:08 am

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 them, but 20 minutes later I saw something new (new for me at least). Because of all those feeders GP had huge amount of birds. White truck drove near the river (on the airport side), and shoot some kind of bang-light flare. All birds from the airport side and GP were gone instantly. They were gone for about 20 minutes when they saw cabbies throwing french fries thru their windows.

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
Type-Rated
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RE: What Are The Loud Explosion-like Sounds Around DCA?

Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:23 am

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 cry and squeal and are general noise makers, I could see setting this gun off a couple times a night.
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