Eagle catches Drone

A handler demonstrates a trained eagle's ability to capture a drone in midflight.

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A handler displayed a trained eagle's capability to record a drone in midflight.CreditCredit...Andrew Testa because that The new York Times

KATWIJK, the Netherlands — Its wings beating versus a gathering breeze, the eagle move gracefully through a cloudy sky, climate swoops, talons outstretched, ~ above its prey below.

The target, however, is not one more bird however a small drone, and when the eagle connects, over there is a metallic clunk. With the machine in that grasp, the bird of food returns come the ground.

At a disused armed forces airfield in the Netherlands, searching birds favor the eagle room being trained to harness your instincts to aid combat the protection threats stemming from the proliferation of drones.

The birds of prey learn to intercept small, off-the-shelf drones — unmanned aerial vehicles — of the type that have the right to pose dangers to aircraft, autumn contraband into jails, conduct security or fly dangerously over public events.

The thought of terrorists using drones haunts protection officials in Europe and also elsewhere, and amongst those that watched the demonstration at Valkenburg naval Air basic this month was note Wiebes, a detective chief superintendent in the dutch police.

Mr. Wiebes explained the tests as “very promising,” and also said that, subject to a last assessment, birds of prey were likely to it is in deployed quickly in the Netherlands, in addition to other procedures to counter drones. The urban Police organization in London is likewise considering utilizing trained birds to struggle drones.

The Dutch have actually experimented with various other methods, such as jamming drone signals, recording drones in nets fired through defender drones or shooting them the end of the skies with buckshot.

Birds of prey have the benefit of being able to carry drones safely come the ground, fairly than causing them come crash, which have the right to pose threats to those below.

“We have seen a number of incidents about airfields, and, in the end, we desire to be prepared have to anyone desire to usage a drone because that an attack of part sort,” Mr. Wiebes said.


Mr. Hoogendoorn came up with the regimen at home while researching drone threats. With a mutual friend, that contacted Ben de Keijzer, a bird handler with a 4 minutes 1 of a century’s experience.

After early trials, the two men created a company based in The Hague called Guard native Above, and also they approached the dutch police in late 2014. What appealed to the authorities to be the possibility to use “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem,” stated Mr. Hoogendoorn, including that drones “can be supplied for very positive, good things but additionally bad things.”

For his eagles, the reward because that a effective interception is a item of meat, and they were accomplishing your task in spite of the wind — i m sorry handlers say creates a bigger problem for drone operators 보다 for birds.

Worries have been elevated that birds can be struck and also seriously injured by a drone’s blades. Mr. Hoogendoorn stated that the safety and security of the animals was a top priority, and also that return eagles’ talons had scales to safeguard them, work was underway to provide them more covering. Mr. Wiebes said security measures might include some type of glovelike sheath for the talons.

Mr. Hoogendoorn said his attention in security concerns had been deepened by a opportunity visit to brand-new York during the week of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“It do a huge impact on me together a visitor,” the said. “I have actually been wait for my chance. Ns think this is a great way to make the world a tiny bit more safe.”

The initiative is timely, offered the variety of drone events in Europe.

In France, drones were uncovered close to nuclear strength stations in 2014. The exact same year in Britain, a male was fined after losing control of a maker near a nuclear submarine facility.

The next year, another Briton to be prosecuted after paris a drone over football stadiums and tourist attractions.

In the Netherlands, there was a near miss including a drone and also an aircraft at Amsterdam plane Schiphol in April, the type of episode that seems worryingly frequent.

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In January, a drone was spotted in between two low-flying Tornado armed forces aircraft in Scotland. The following month, Heathrow Airport near London reported a drone incident including an Airbus A320 passenger aircraft whose captain assessed the hazard of collision as high.

“The drone flashed in ~ by around 100 to 150 feet and also slightly left that the fuselage,” a report said, describing the object as black, with a red strobe irradiate on top and a diameter of two to 3 feet. “The whole event it is long no much more than 3 or 4 seconds, making any kind of evasive activity virtually impossible.”