In a letter dated Oct. 13, 2003 from Maj. Ronald L. Merrit USAF (ret.), former USAF Chief of the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard Team, to Secretary of the Navy, Gordon R. England, Mr. Merrit informed the Navy that the Airforce studies conclude the Washington county site "represents a serious threat to aircraft ".
"I know that there are many elements that are considered in site selection and that there will always be impacts that cannot be avoided. However, the potential for a
catastrophic bird at the proposed site near Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has not been fully addressed. The following should be considered:
- The Bird Avoidance Model (BAM), a risk model developed by the US Air Force, forecasts severe bird strike potential for the Washington County site for 50% of the are very few places in the United States where level of threat exists.
- The radar study at the proposed site near Lake was conducted late in the wintering season when bird populations would be declining. Even so, over a 12-day survey period, the vertical scanning radar detected over 450,000 birds moving through the 24-degree beam. Of these targets, over 40,000 were focks of large birds, and over 70,000 were identified as large birds. This represents a serious threat to aircraft safety during a twelve-day period at the end of winter.
- The ROD suggest that bird detection rador would be considered as part of the bird strike mitigation program. This OLF cannot be operated safely without the use of a sophisticated bird detection system - yet nowhere in the United States is such a radar system operational on a daily basis. The US Navy does not have operational procedures to integrate bird detection radar into air traffic control."
Click here to read the letter.