Company Says Technology Helps Pilots Avoid Hail, Lightning, Turbulence
An upgrade to Honeywell's IntuVue 3-D Weather Radar includes new capabilities to detect turbulence, hail and lightning, up to 10 minutes in advance of approaching storm cells in the flight path of the aircraft, the company said in a Thursday news release.
Previously, pilots could not readily anticipate which storms in their flight path had either hail or lightning, or which storms contained turbulence at a long range. With this upgrade, flight crews are now better equipped to avoid hail, lightning, turbulence and other severe weather to keep flights on time, passengers safe and comfortable, and avoid potential aircraft damage.
According to the FAA, inclement weather accounts for almost 70 percent of all aircraft delays and cost the U.S. economy alone more than $18 billion in 2008. Turbulence-related incidents cost airlines, on average, approximately $200,000 per incident according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The latest version of the IntuVue 3-D weather radar builds on a history of providing pilots with accurate weather information. This upgrade helps pilots predict the probability of hail or lightning in storm cells, enabling enough time to make a safe flight path correction if required. In addition, the predictive hail and lightning system uses complex algorithms that analyze data captured from constant scanning by the radar from ground level to 60,000 feet and out to 320 nm. Weather is also shown in a unique color pattern (red for most severe, yellow for moderately severe, green for less severe, magenta for turbulence) on a display screen, allowing a pilot to know more precisely what is around the aircraft.
After running the captured data through the new algorithms, the radar can identify storm cells that have the characteristics of hail and lightning and display a hail or lightning icon on top of the respective storm, giving pilots a clear idea of where the severe weather is in relation to the plane.
Also new is the industry’s longest turbulence detection range at 60 nm, affording pilots more time to reroute or initiate turbulence avoidance procedures. Due to its unique design, the IntuVue lowers cost of operation through increased reliability of aircraft, lower fuel costs by smart flight paths and reduced maintenance cost by avoiding storms that could damage a plane.
Honeywell’s new REACT system gives pilots a visible alert on the radar screen when the radar signal is losing strength. The alert shows pilots how far out from the aircraft the radar is losing strength and at what direction, so pilots have a better understanding of where potential storms could exist beyond radar’s reach.
IntuVue has already received its first FAA Supplemental Type Certification (STC) approval and is the first and only radar certified to the FAA’s new enhanced Minimum Operational Performance Standard (MOPS). The new upgrade will initially be offered to customers as a retrofit option on Boeing 737-NG aircraft. Honeywell is working with OEMs on further international certifications and forward-fit options for all platforms certified to use the IntuVue 3-D radar system, which include the B777, B737, A320, A330, A340, A350, A380 and Gulfstream G650 aircraft.