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Honeywell Takes Weather Radar Technology by Storm

Honeywell Takes Weather Radar Technology by Storm

Airborne weather radar technology has come a long way since Honeywell engineers developed one of the very first commercial radars, the groundbreaking Bendix RDR-1 Air Weather Radar, 65 years ago. Primitive and bulky by today’s standards, the RDR-1 was a major advancement because it let pilots detect and avoid thunderstorms along their immediate flight path.

Just about everything has changed in the world of airborne weather radar since then. But one thing has remained the same. Honeywell is still on the leading edge with innovative severe weather detection and avoidance solutions that improve on-time performance and make flying easier for pilots, more comfortable for passengers and safer for everyone.

We’re extremely excited about our newest IntuVue 3-D weather radar, which was designed specifically for small and medium-sized business jets, helicopters, regional and defense aircraft.

We think you’ll be impressed because the RDR-7000 is a game-changing breakthrough in weather radar technology. Here are a few of the things that separate the RDR-7000 from the conventional radar you’re probably flying in your aircraft today:

It Uses Proven Technology

The RDR-7000 shares DNA with the RDR-4000 radar, which flies on hundreds of larger aircraft. But it’s also uniquely suited to the specific needs of small and medium business jets, regional airliners and helicopters. It is smaller and lighter than its “big brother,” weighing in at just 16 pounds compared to 45 pounds for the RDR-4000. The RDR-7000 is about the same size as a conventional radar, so it’s easy for operators to move on up to the most advanced radar available.

It Has Unprecedented Capabilities

Unlike conventional weather radars, which scan only a portion of the sky, the RDR-7000 scans the entire volume of air in front of the airplane from the ground to 60,000 feet and up to 320 nautical miles ahead. Then we use 3-D volumetric scanning to analyze any storm clouds the radar detects and look for conditions that might produce lightning, hail, turbulence or wind shear and display them for the flight crew. We also use a terrain data base to make sure there’s no mistaking ground clutter for weather returns, another feature that is unique to IntuVue. RDR-7000 is unique in that it is the first radar that provides a complete vertical view of weather. The bottom line is that that RDR-7000 can reduce the risk of encountering a severe storm by more than 50 percent.

It Helps Flight Crews Do Their Job

A pilot’s primary job is to fly the airplane, not operate the radar. With the RDR-7000 the system automatically scans the entire area of interest and displays all relevant weather information well in advance so the flight crew can change course to avoid severe weather. It even looks beyond the first storm so pilots don’t inadvertently steer clear of one storm, only to encounter another. With conventional radars, pilots have to manually point the radar antenna, which is done automatically and continuously with the RDR-7000. When conditions that might spawn severe weather are detected, the radar uses easy-to-interpret icons to display the situation – small lightning bolts, for example.

It Was Developed with Pilots’ Help

Our development team called on some true experts in the field to ensure the RDR-7000 meets the unique requirements of business jets, helicopters, regional and defense aircraft. Dozens of experienced pilots have seen for themselves that the system is intuitive, automatic and easy to use without extensive training. They’ve been particularly impressed with the system’s capabilities and the intuitive way that severe weather conditions are displayed, providing them with plenty of time to change course in the interests of safety and comfort.

The RDR-7000 will be available to upgrade a wide range of business and regional aircraft starting in April 2020, with plans to roll out other applications, including military and helicopter retrofits, soon after. 

Jake Saylor
Senior Director Customer Marketing

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