“Not only does it correct the problem without having return trips to the area, maintenance guys appreciate how easy they are to install,” says a customer at a Florida airport. Photo: Todd Richmond
“Not only does it correct the problem without having return trips to the area, maintenance guys appreciate how easy they are to install,” says a customer at a Florida airport. Photo: Todd Richmond

I would’ve remained blissfully unaware if the inventor of the Dig Defence hadn’t introduced me to the concept of “runway intrusions.” Pilots expend more effort than I cared to know evading unauthorized airplanes, vehicles, people, and animals during takeoff and landing.

Birds getting sucked into engines are the biggest problem, but some incidents are related to deer. According to the FAA, wildlife has caused billions of dollars in damage, injuries, and deaths.

Airports in rural and semirural areas are most afflicted, which makes sense when you think about it.

They try to prevent intrusions with electric fences or by topping off chain link fences with barbed wire. But that only keeps animals from coming over the fence. Many love to burrow under fences.

And not just the usual suspects, either, like gophers. Iguanas and tortoises also enjoy the challenge.

So six years ago, Todd Richmond of Fort Smith, Ark., devised a solution that’s being used in New York City parks as well as airports in Florida and New Jersey:

I hope the airports I’ll be flying in and out of know about this product!