The ASOS program is a tri-agency initiative between the NWS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). ASOS field sites had been dealing with issues of erroneous wind data on the Ice Free Wind Sensor for years. After field analysis, it was determined that the issues were caused by birds sitting in between the transducers of the wind sensor. This would cause erroneous data and potentially create a hazard for aviation operations safety. The NWS had worked with outside vendors for years to develop a bird deterrent, a device (sharp metal post) that could be connected to the sensor, not interfere with sensor measurements itself, and keep birds off of the sensors. Dave Eckberg, using his own ingenuity, foresight and determination, developed the bird deterrent, now used by the NWS and FAA.
This deterrent was designed and developed by Eckberg, and subsequently tested at NWS and FAA ASOS sites. The study revealed that the deterrent nearly eliminated erroneous data from the IFWS. During that study, several Weather Forecast Offices offered praise for the new deterrent and were clamoring to get one immediately for each of their ASOS sites.
After the design and testing phase, it was agreed with program management to manufacture the bird deterrent for ASOS systems as a whole. After a bidding process and down select, one manufacturer, using NWS developed drawings, produced several hundred deterrents to put in stock at the National Logistics Support Center, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Since the release of the deterrents to NWS and FAA, Mr. Eckberg has worked with the Technology Partnership Office to release the drawings of the IFWS bird deterrent royalty free to industry. This release includes guidance that companies wishing to employ the device should, where appropriate, indicate that the device was invented and reduced to practice by David Eckberg of NOAA's National Weather Service Sterling Field Support Center.