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Norwood, MA, United States, 2008/02/01 - Air Safety Experts recently led Boston-area students on a fact-finding trip to Israel to study bird migration and the phenomenon of air-bird collisions. All are invited to a forum on Feb. 7 near Boston.
Two of the world’s leading authorities on the causes and prevention of bird-aircraft collisions will be the featured speakers at a community forum, “Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries,” to be held on Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 pm at the new campus of the South Area Solomon Schechter School, One Commerce Way, Norwood.
Annual worldwide aviation damage due to impact with birds is estimated at $1.2 billion and hundreds of lives have been lost.
The guest speakers, who recently returned from leading a group of Boston-area middle schoolers on a 10-day collaborative educational trip to Israel to research the phenomena of bird migration and aircraft-bird collisions, are MIT Astronautics Professor Laurence Young, a world authority on aerospace human factors and a former NASA Payload Specialist; and Tel Aviv University’s Senior Zoology Researcher and aviation safety expert Yossi Leshem. Dr. Leshem is also former Executive Director of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
The trip was organized by Dr. Nitzan Resnick, director of SASSDS’ New Science & Math Initiative and a former Harvard researcher. She is also the program convener.
During the trip, students and professors visited an air force base to learn about the risks of colliding with birds from pilots who experienced it firsthand, and heard about latest methods to avoid collisions. They toured the Hula Valley and drove among thousands of cranes and pelicans to get a sense of the huge numbers of birds that migrate to Israel. At the International Research Center for Bird Migration in Latrun, the students visited the radar stations that follow the birds, and watched videos on migrating flocks and the outcomes of bird-aircraft collisions.
Bird – plane collisions have occurred almost since man’s first flight. In 1905, Orville Wright reported hitting a bird with an experimental plane. In addition to aircraft damage, in the last 20 years such impacts have taken hundreds of lives.
Dr. Resnick says this isn’t just another science project – and it’s not just about birds: “This topic knows no boundaries, touching on multidisciplinary topics: aviation, the physics of flight, navigation, ornithology, anatomy, world geography, topography, climate and the environment.” In addition to international experts, the students collaborated with their peers from the Ironi Gimmel School in Haifa.
The project culminates in a May science fair at SASSDS where teams of students from SASSDS and Haifa’s Ironi Gimmel will present their research and possible solutions. Dr. Resnick says she wouldn’t be surprised if her students devise unique solutions to the collision problem. The program is a collaborative project of SASSDS and Ironi Gimmel with the academic support of Tel Aviv University’s Dept. of Zoology and MIT’s Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, under the auspices of the Boston-Haifa School-to-School Connection.
The February 7th program is open to all. Admission is free but space is limited. To reserve a seat, call Nancy, or email.