Sea-Tac installing high-tech system to detect runway debris, scare birds away

SEATAC, Wash. — Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is installing a runway debris detection system. Officials at the Port of Seattle say Sea-Tac will be only the second airport in the country to have a foreign object debris detection system.

The system is designed to avoid aircraft damage that is estimated to cost the industry more than $4 billion a year.

The system will detect items as small as a metal bolt and will look for wildlife as well. They system uses both image and radar detection. It will be able to alert airport staff in real time if there are birds in the vicinity so they can turn on a sound system designed to scare birds away.

The detection system is being installed as part of the reconstruction of Sea-Tac's center runway.