Finding The Potholes On That Highway In The Sky | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 09.19.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.19.14 **
** Airborne 09.17.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.17.14 **
** Airborne 09.15.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.15.14 **

Wed, Jun 09, 2004

Finding The Potholes On That Highway In The Sky

NASA Tests Aviation Turbulence Detection System

A NASA developed technology that can automatically alert pilots of potentially dangerous turbulence will make its first evaluation flights on a commercial airliner.

The idea behind NASA's Turbulence Prediction and Warning System (TPAWS) airborne radar is to give flight crews enough advance warning, so they can avoid turbulence or advise flight attendants and passengers to sit down and buckle up to avoid injury.

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton (VA) developed TPAWS to detect turbulence associated with thunderstorms as part of the NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program. NASA teamed with Delta Air Lines, Atlanta; AeroTech Research, Hampton; and Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids (IA) for the in-service evaluation of a production-prototype airborne radar unit with turbulence hazard prediction capabilities.

Delta will install the TPAWS/Rockwell Collins radar unit on a Boeing 737-800 this summer. Delta flight crews will use and evaluate the technology during regularly scheduled flights in the US and South America. The prototype is expected to fly for six to nine months.

Researchers from NASA, the companies involved and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will evaluate interim and final results of the turbulence prediction radar system. If the evaluation is successful, the technology may be adopted for new and existing aircraft.

"The TPAWS technology is an enhanced turbulence detection radar system that detects atmospheric turbulence by measuring the motions of the moisture in the air," said NASA's TPAWS project manager Jim Watson. "It is a software signal processing upgrade to existing predictive Doppler wind shear systems that are already on airplanes," he added.

"Delta Air Lines is always interested in evaluating new technologies that offer the potential for improved ride quality and safety for our customers and flight crews," said Ira Pearl, Delta flight operations technical support director.

Researchers have already tested TPAWS on a NASA Boeing 757 research aircraft. The TPAWS equipped plane searched for turbulence activity around thunderstorms for eight weeks. The aircraft flew within a safe distance of storms, so researchers could experience the turbulence and compare the radar prediction to how the plane responded to the encounters. After one severe patch of turbulence, a NASA research pilot said his confidence in the enhanced radar had "gone up dramatically," since the plane's weather radar did not show anything, while the same time the TPAWS display showed rough skies ahead.

Atmospheric turbulence encounters are the leading cause of injuries to passengers and flight crews in non-fatal airline accidents. FAA statistics show an average of 58 airline passengers are annually injured in US turbulence incidents. Ninety eight percent of those injuries happen, because people don't have their seat belts fastened. Turbulence encounters are hazardous; they cost airlines money and time, in the form of re-routing flights, late arrivals, additional inspections and maintenance for aircraft.

The NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program is a partnership with the FAA, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and the Department of Homeland Security to reduce the fatal aircraft accident rate, protect air travelers and the public from security threats. Researchers at four NASA centers are working to develop advanced, affordable technologies to make flying safer and more secure.

FMI: http://avsp.larc.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 09.19.14: Cool City R44 Cert, Reno Rumblings, Sierra Re-Jets The CJ

Also: Eclipse Improvements, AEA Urges NextGen GA Fund Adoption, FAA OKs External Cams, GA Accident Rate Declines The FAA has granted an STC to Cool City Avionics for the installati>[...]

Best of Show! The Very Best/Worst of Oshkosh '14! (Part 1)

Compiled By The Staff and Readership of the Aero-News Network, Airborne, and Aero-TV (Part 1) For quite a while, we have recognized the highs and lows inherent in the general and s>[...]

2014 Public Benefit Flying Award Recipients Announced

Aviation Volunteers And Organizations Honored For Public Benefit Flying The National Aeronautic Association, in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of human>[...]

Klyde Morris (09.22.14)

Klyde Gets Recurrent... On An Installment Plan FMI: www.klydemorris.com>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (09.22.14)

"Volunteers in aviation and those who support them are the heart and soul of charitable aviation, and the work they perform is invaluable. They fly needy patients for care, inspire>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC