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Pilots Avoid Stormy Weather with Honeywell 3D Radar

Pilots Avoid Stormy Weather with Honeywell 3D Radar

Bad weather used to be bad news for airline pilots and passengers hoping for a smooth and uneventful flight. Honeywell changed all that more than a decade ago when it introduced the groundbreaking RDR-4000 advanced weather radar that lets pilots steer clear of developing storms and passengers sit back and relax.

The RDR-4000 is the first weather radar to use Honeywell’s unique IntuVue 3D volumetric technology. With IntuVue pilots can keep an eye out for hazardous weather by scanning a broader swath of airspace than ever before. The radar can look ahead 320 nautical miles, from side-to-side 80 degrees either side of the center line and from the ground up to 60,000 feet.

With the RDR-4000, flight crews are constantly aware of the presence of storm systems that could produce weather hazards like lightning, hail, windshear or turbulence. That way, they can alter their course in plenty of time to avoid severe weather along, around or above their planned flightpath. The radar even looks beyond the first storm it detects so pilots don’t inadvertently avoid one storm cell, only to fly into another.

The end result: a safer, more efficient and more comfortable flight for everyone onboard.


RDR-4000 Makes Flying Easier for Pilots ...

The RDR-4000 is easy for pilots to operate because it’s fully automatic, which means they can “set and forget” the system. With conventional radars, flight crews have to manually point the radar antenna, which can take time and attention away from piloting the aircraft. The RDR-4000 automatically and continuously scans the selected airspace and operates effectively without pilot intervention. 

Better, more complete weather information and advanced system analytics add up to better situational awareness, reduced pilot workload and improved decision-making. With vertical weather scan and display capabilities, the flight crew can combine weather and terrain data into a single, selected vertical profile. The system uses a terrain database to make sure there’s no mistaking ground clutter for weather returns. 

Honeywell engineers developed a technique called 3D volumetric scanning to analyze any storm clouds the radar detects and search for conditions that might produce lightning, hail, turbulence or wind shear. Then it displays those conditions with easy-to-understand symbology – like small lightning bolts – so pilots can clearly see what kinds of conditions they’re facing.


... Comfortable for Passengers...

Nobody likes a bumpy airplane ride, especially when they’re trying to rest, calm a fussy child or sip a complimentary hot beverage. Turbulence also causes hundreds of passenger and crewmember injuries each year and, according to the FAA, is the leading cause of inflight injuries.

Older-generation radars are pretty ineffective when it comes to predicting bumpy air ahead, but the RDR-4000 incorporates the most up-to-date and sensitive turbulence detection capability available. Using various techniques, the system can look out 40-60 nautical miles for signs of unstable air, giving the pilot plenty of time to change course and avoid rough patches.

Passengers also appreciate on-time performance and bad weather is a major cause of flight delays, especially during thunderstorm season. The IntuVue radar helps airlines stay on schedule.


...And Beneficial for Airlines

Airline fleets equipped with the RDR-4000 radar perform better, reduce operating costs and deliver a better passenger experience. The ultra-reliable system can reduce maintenance costs by more than 30% and improve overall reliability by 35%, airlines report. The system also weighs 30% less than alternative weather radars, which can yield annual fuel savings of $10,000 per aircraft.

For starters, it costs the airline industry millions each year to repair aircraft damaged by thunderstorms, lighting, hail and turbulence. In fact, turbulence-related damage, delays and injuries alone are estimated to cost airlines up to $500 million per year.

Bad weather can also wreak havoc with airline scheduling. Weather accounts for more than half of flight delays, costing the airlines untold millions in operating costs and eroding passenger satisfaction. Avoiding inflight weather problems can help individual flights stay on schedule and avoid system-wide backups caused by weather conditions. 

Visit us online or click below to be contacted by a Honeywell representative for more information. 
Danielle Richeti
Channel Customer Marketing Manager
Viorela Nestor
EMEAI Customer Marketing Manager Honeywell | Aerospace