Bird-scaring missiles back with a bang

AFTER creating a mystery about the origin of explosions around Ipswich, the RAAF's bird-scaring missiles are returning.

The piercing reports will resume at RAAF Amberley as testing continues to find the most effective ways of deterring birds from flying around the airfield.

Last week, a post on The QT Facebook page attracted more than 100 comments, with reports of explosions around Ipswich.

By the end of the week, the RAAF solved the mystery.

Squadron Leader Andy Weekes, executive officer of base operations, said soaring birds were a particular problem at all airfields, with a potential to cause major damage to aircraft either by collision or by ingestion into engines at critical times.

"The large paved areas around airfields, such as runways and aircraft parking areas, create thermals which are very attractive to soaring birds such as the ibis, ducks, pelicans and raptors such as kites and eagles," Squadron Leader Weekes said.

"We are continually looking for effective ways to scare the birds away from airfields at critical times when aircraft land or take off, and recently our contractor has been testing a device which emits a very loud bang when it explodes in the air," he said.

It is a small, cylinder-shaped object fired from a large pistol then propelled by a small rocket motor up to about 230m, where it explodes with a loud bang.

"We regret any concern or inconvenience caused to the public by this ongoing testing," Squadron Leader Weekes said.

He said testing would be done when weather conditions were such that large numbers of soaring birds are attracted to the airfield.