Gatwick Upgrades to Ultima

Ultima is a complete system, including roof-mountable loudspeakers, Tablet mounting brackets, microphone for live announcements, back-up control unit and hot-pluggable USB flash drives to enable data captured to be transferred from the vehicle to the airfield analysis system, for which audit software is provided. (All - Scarecrow)

Tom Allett visited Gatwick to see its new bird dispersal system.

Ultima is a complete system, including roof-mountable loudspeakers, Tablet mounting brackets, microphone for live announcements, back-up control unit and hot-pluggable USB flash drives to enable data captured to be transferred from the vehicle to the airfield analysis system, for which audit software is provided. (All - Scarecrow)

After ten years of using Scarecrow’s Premier bird dispersal programme, Gatwick has upgraded to the same manufacturer’s Ultima system.
Ultima is a vehicle-based Tablet Computer controlled development of the older Scarecrow Premier bird dispersal system.  The new product is a high-tech but simple to use tool that makes a strong addition to the airport’s safety processes.
Located immediately to the left of the driver’s seat in two of the airport’s Land Rover Discovery vehicles, Ultima has an 8.4 inch (24cm) touch screen that displays a database of bird recognition information, including full screen pictures that help the operator to identify the correct species.  He or she can then select the right distress call to be broadcast via the vehicles roof-mounted speaker system.  A recording of that particular species’ distress calls could be the first choice but, there is the option to select a simulated gun shot to encourage our feathered friends to disperse.  Ultima will, if required, self-learn an operator’s routine and can also remember prominent species present airside and the various sound levels previously used at GPS dependant airside locations.  Ultima establishes proof of dispersal procedures completed in real time, logging Operator, species, time and date; its inbuilt GPS function logs the vehicles’ airside position from which dispersal took place.
One obvious advantage over its Premier predecessor is that it produces its own reports, therefore saving the time spent on the required paperwork that would otherwise need to be completed after each patrol.  Hot-pluggable USB flash drives enable data captured to be transferred from the vehicle to the airfield analysis system, for which audit software is provided.
The flash drive can also act as an identity key for each operator, offering proof of their use and an audit trail of all processes to prove due diligence and provide long-term analysis of bird behavioural patterns.
In addition to the features detailed previously, the software-driven basis of Ultima means that subsequent improvements and enhancements to the software can be delivered to existing system users via USB flash drive upgrade.  For example, this could include enhanced bird species recognition pages and developments in functionality.  Ultima has a graphical data interface, so can be understood easily across the world. However, the software is also multilingual, so the required language can be selected.  The Ultima system also features a hard-wired remote control for use in the event of a tablet PC failure.  However, this unit is far more robust that your average computer as it is built to military specifications in order to cope with its ‘outdoor lifestyle’.
Two of Gatwick’s airside vehicles are now equipped with Scarecrow’s Ultima system.

After many years of BAA ownership, Gatwick is now owned and run by Global Infrastructure Partners and as a result, much of the airport’s operating procedures and paperwork are in the process of being re-written.
Andrew Crabb, Gatwick’s Airside Services Delivery Leader, who is involved with the UK’s Bird Strike Committee, told Airports International: “our previous operating guidelines were part of a more generic set-up that covered all the BAA airports, but since the change of ownership we have set out to produce own bespoke guidelines that are specific to Gatwick’s situation.”  Asked why he had decided to change over to using Scarecrow’s Ultima after many years of using the same company’s Premier system, he replied: “we needed a reporting system and you can’t truly manage problems without accurate data.”
As this edition went to press, Gatwick was due to receive a further upgrade to the latest version of Ultima, which was released in July.
Further modules, including one to report runway inspections, are due for release later this year.