While greater safety in flight is always the trump card when it comes to weather radar performance, the core benefits of more modern systems can be measured in dollars and cents. Knowing early and with confidence precisely where heavy weather isn’t can save money by making dispatch and flight planning a lot more efficient and improving en route decision making for crews. That’s where Honeywell’s IntuVue 3-D weather system makes new and important inroads.
Dallas Addison Airport (ADS) recently became part of a five-year, $10 million radar network demonstration project to learn how X-band sensors can improve hazardous weather forecasts, warnings and responses in dense urban environments.
When Gulfstream’s G650 enters service later this year, pilots will find a pleasant surprise, a Honeywell RDR 4000 3-D weather radar that is far easier to operate than earlier systems. The radar has been flying for a few years on airliners, and the G650 is the first business jet application. New features just implemented on the RDR 4000 include turbulence detection, hail and lightning display and a new attenuation display.
Because of the popularity of tablet computers like the Apple iPad, as well as a variety of glass-cockpit displays capable of showing Next Generation Radar (Nexrad), the NTSB has issued a Safety Alert cautioning pilots about the limitations of the mosaic weather radar data displayed in these new delivery devices.
Jeppesen introduced an en route application that features worldwide, real-time weather service as a new component of its FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag solution. Targeted at Part 121 and 135 operators, the new Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro en route service overlays graphical and textual weather display on the route of flight.
Honeywell won a $49 million contract to upgrade the National Weather Service’s ground-radar, wind-profiler network that will predict severe storms earlier and provide more accurate warnings of upcoming storms. Honeywell’s work on the production phase of the next-generation NOAA wind-profiler network includes upgrading the NOAA network of wind profilers that provide upper air wind data for crucial weather forecasting tasks.
While it might be a name unfamiliar to many pilots, Baron Services is well known in meteorology circles. The company was originally formed out of a research project with NASA in the late 1980s that dealt with reporting of highly localized lightning data. Baron later expanded the display technology, incorporating radar data to create its first storm-tracking system.
Bendix/King’s new AV8OR handheld GPS receiver can display XM Weather’s Aviator LT and Aviator products, making it a handy cockpit tool. During a recent trip, I used the Aviator product provided by WxWorx of Huntsville, Ala. Although WxWorx also offers XM Weather’s Aviator Pro, the AV8OR can’t display the additional features available in Pro.
Without the ability to understand and accurately forecast weather, NextGen technology won’t amount to much. For that reason, industry participants including Baron Services, NCAR and the FAA are not only working to integrate weather into the NextGen technology, but they are also working to improve forecasting techniques.
Jeppesen announced it has been selected to provide worldwide weather information and forecasts for use by subscribers of the Merlin airborne weather system in development by Dulles, Va.-based Satellink Technologies. Scheduled for availability this spring, Merlin will provide real-time weather to aircraft in flight, including high-resolution color weather charts and Notams supplied by Jeppesen.
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