Auckland Airport has chosen an innovative Rayglass ProJet to help protect its flights from the possibility of bird strike. The airport’s Rayglass ProJet, named Kaitiaki Rangi or ‘Guardian of the Skies’, operates around the edges of the airport’s runways, scaring away the birds, especially swans, that sometimes congregate on the nearby banks.
Kaitiaki Rangi, which is operated by the airport’s Wildlife Hazard Management team, is a unique combination of boat and PWC (personal water vehicle).
Created by the Rayglass design team at their Mt Wellington base, the Pro-Jet consists of a powerful Yamaha PWC surrounded by a Rayglass Protector RIB or inflatable boat.
“Because the jet-powered PWC comes complete with seating, steering, instrumentation and a fuel tank, there is no need to build these into the Protector hull,” says Rayglass CEO Dave Larsen. “That means there is plenty of practical, useable cockpit space for a wide range of applications, including wildlife hazard management.”
Capable of speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour, the Pro-Jet can quickly respond to any issues that may arise in the waters around the airport.
“It is important that we take a pro-active approach to protecting the flights in and out of the airport,” says wildlife hazard ranger, Dave Harris. “A few years ago, a triple bird strike on a plane taking off damaged the nose cone, potentially affecting the gyros inside. While there was no danger to the plane or its passengers, the flight had to return for inspection, inconveniencing those on board.”
The Pro-Jet, which was adapted by Rayglass especially for its airport duties, now features a moveable front seat, a large transom-wide aft locker for the bird scaring devices and a special mount in the bow.
“Over the years, we have used a variety of different vessels for wildlife hazard management,” says Harris, “including a hovercraft and a PWC.
“Without a doubt, the Pro-Jet is by far the best. Its speed, comfort, manoeuvrability and ease of use make it absolutely ideal for what we do.”
Since being created for the Louis Vuitton South Pacific Series in Auckland in 2010, the Rayglass Pro-Jet has proved popular with a wide variety of enforcement agencies, recreational boaties and superyacht owners both around New Zealand and in the United States and Europe.