As the holiday season quickly approaches, so do two things – unpredictable winter weather and people wanting to get home to loved ones. Airlines for America predicts that this Friday will be the busiest travel day in the US for the holidays, with planes projected to be 80-90 percent full. The Weather Channel is already expecting possible flight delays the week of Christmas at major Northeast hubs, due to rain and snow.
Issues around weather are not limited to the US, as we have already seen heavy rains and gale-force winds in the British Isles, a typhoon in the Philippines and a severe blizzard in Japan this month alone. Around the world, airlines continue to struggle with challenges due to shifting weather conditions. In fact, inclement weather is the single largest contributor to delays and a major risk to passengers and personnel on board, as well as damaging to the aircraft itself.
All of these factors have prompted many airlines to re-evaluate the systems aboard their aircraft and adopt next-generation cockpit technologies that ensure greater reliability and safety. These include systems like advanced, predictive weather radar, which arm pilots with the information necessary to make better weather-related decisions, faster.
Traditionally, radar has presented pilots with a 2-D representation of the weather. This shows them what bad weather may be ahead, but it cannot show them how high storm cells are and where the peaks intersect the flight path.
Honeywell created its IntuVue 3-D weather radar system to tackle this problem, giving pilots access to one of the most advanced weather hazard detection and avoidance systems available. It gives them a full, de-cluttered view of storms above, below and around the aircraft; up to 320 nautical miles away and from ground to 60,000 ft. This allows pilots to see potentially hazardous weather sooner, and make decisions to re-route and avoid possible damage to the aircraft or injury to, and discomfort for, their passengers.
Honeywell’s IntuVue 3-D weather radar system has an extended warning time for turbulence, one of the longest turbulence detection ranges in the industry at up to 60 nautical miles out, giving the crew more time to prepare the cabin and ensure passengers’ safety. The system is also able to predict what storms may have hail and lightning as much as five to ten minutes before the aircraft intersects the storm cell at cruise speed, and with a 93 percent accuracy. This allows pilots to re-route around the storm sooner and provide greater safety to the passengers and crew and ensure less damage to the aircraft.
The impact of weather and turbulence is significant especially during the holidays, costing billions of dollars for passengers and airlines, not to mention the precious time people would rather spend with family and friends. Although the holiday season and winter weather will continue to collide, advanced safety systems including weather radar are central to modernizing fleets and enabling pilots to make informed decisions, which will help to reduce fuel consumption, improve safety and facilitate more on-time arrivals, regardless of the forecast outside.
Click here to view the full "Weathering the Storm" infographic as a PDF.