Loud booming noise in Freeland explained - WNEM TV 5

Loud booming noise in Freeland explained

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
FREELAND, MI (WNEM) -

Loud booming noises have created commotion and confusion in a number of Mid-Michigan communities over the years.

The noise is from cannon fire, which is typically used by farmers to scare critters out of their crops. It’s also used by airports to keep animals off the runways, like at MBS International Airport.

“There’s a little igniter in it and it just goes off. It’s set on a time and goes off periodically to create a sound,” said Philip Shaver, operations supervisor for MBS.

The device is called an air cannon.

Shaver said the propane-powered cannon has made a difference.

“It keeps everybody on their toes and it keeps the airport safe,” he said.

Shaver said the cannon is what keeps animals off the runway, which keeps travelers on schedule.

“Wildlife management at MBS Airport is a high priority. We’re right in the middle of a migratory bird track. So in the springtime we get a lot of migratory birds,” Shaver said.

In order to get that large booming sound, the propane tank builds up pressure until eventually it releases.

The cannon can’t be left in one spot for too long.

According to Shaver, they have to move it almost every hour just so the animals don’t become used to the noise.

If that doesn’t work, Shaver said they have other harmless hazing techniques to clear the runways.

“We have shotguns that have cracker shells in them that go up in the air and go bang to help keep the birds in the area,” Shaver said.

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